APOSTOLIC FUNCTION, PURPOSE, AND POWER
BY Dr. Lindy S Diffenbaugh, DD
Twelve Apostles Chosen By Christ
The “Short Definition” of An Apostle
Merriam Webster defines the term Apostle as, “the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations.” Webster further defines the Apostle as, “one who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system.”
As long as I have been in church, I have had the understanding that an apostle builds a new work somewhere in the world. Beyond that I had no understanding of his further involvement in the work.
After going studying the function of the Apostle, I have found that Apostles are infinitely more than Webster’s definition gave them credit for! That definition and my understanding of the Office of the Apostle, give a short, succinct definition of the office and function of the Apostle!
The problem with such definitions, is that you can’t cram an Apostle into a succinct little box. He (or she) was designed to fill a much larger span of life and glory.
In fact, expansive realms of time and eternity can barely contain the fullness of what the Apostle truly is and the capacity contained within him/her to impact time and eternity on earth and in heaven.
The Textbook Definition of Apostle
In his book, Apostle, Dr. Don Lynch, DD, adds depth and meaning to the definition of the office of the Apostle. He relates that it is important to know that, in the Divine process of sending Apostles, the they have to be spiritually empowered to finish the “building” and align the Body of Christ with Kingdom Culture.
The scope of the assignment that originates Kingdom Culture, calls for fathering leaders that will work to make clear the desire and design communicated by Holy Spirit.
That desire was to bring Kingdom order to the Earth. All of this was accomplished through releasing Kingdom principles and protocols through personal and corporate relationships.
Dr. Lynch further states that in this definition, we find meanings, methods, means, management, manifestation, ministry and mission for the establishment of Apostolic order.
Accordingly, when this definition is walked out and applied in an Apostolic assignment, it releases Kingdom leadership and influence, that ultimately establishes Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Have There Always Been Apostles on the Earth?
Since the beginning of human life on this Earth, there has never been a time when the Earth was without an Apostle. The first man Adam was positioned on the earth to represent God, to work the land, and to keep it.
His mission was, in a way, to populate, build, and establish a new work. A culture of Heaven on earth. There were no “training venues” at that time, and there were no fathering leaders to guide Adam through that task.
Neither had, “Building a Kingdom Culture for Dummies” been written. Thus, Adam and Eve, i.e., “that woman” that God gave him, were guilty of a huge error in judgment.
In fact, they threw God’s plan into a tailspin for which there was no immediate “auto correct” switch to be employed. Despite the initial fumble of the mission, Adam did his part in initiating the work of building a home for mankind on the earth.
In Fact, Abraham, Noah, and Moses, all carried out apostolic missions on Earth. Each of these men were very successful in their mission. Jesus became God’s “ultimate reset Apostle.” He too was sent to earth to represent God, to restore mankind to God, and to establish an Ecclesiastical Culture on Earth as it was already defined in Heaven.
The works of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, et.al., further paved the road to the establishment of an Apostolic order that the culture of the Ecclesial was built upon. Since then there have been many men and women of God who have gone before and forged the way for true Kingdom Culture to prevail on the earth, throughout the ages.
The Apostolic Mission
Apostles are those who are sent with a definite blueprint, mission, and purpose in hand. Jesus, the Apostle, was sent to restore mankind back to the Heavenly Father. He was a hundred percent obedient to the mission.
What He established was a direct reflection of the original blueprint. Just as God sent Jesus, Jesus sent us to advance and further His Kingdom on Earth, generation, after generation.
To this day our mission is clearly defined in the Bible. The ultimate goal is to bring forth a Bride for Christ (Ecclesial) without spot or wrinkle. Thanks to the diligent work of those who have been true to the Apostolic Mission throughout the ages, the image of the Bride is beginning come forth, but she is not without spot or wrinkle.
In the Apostolic sense, Jesus represents the Father perfectly. His representation of the Father was so perfect and so powerful that without Jesus, the Kingdom would crumble and fall.
Jesus’s establishment of the Kingdom on earth was comprehensive and complete. On His own, He orchestrated every aspect of the Father’s design of the Kingdom.
Today, however, every Apostolic assignment represents only one aspect of what Jesus accomplished on earth. There is not one human who can accomplish what Jesus accomplished on his own. While Apostles, great and small have represented Him partially, they cannot represent Him fully.
Apostolic Order Establishes Kingdom Culture
When Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and share the Gospel to every creature, he was, in a sense, laying the groundwork for the establishment of a Kingdom culture.
While His work was comprehensive and He carried it out perfectly, it was merely the Cornerstone for the culture of the Kingdom. The work of the New Testament Apostles, laid the foundation for the Kingdom to be built upon.
Beyond the foundation laid in the New Testament, generations of Apostles have been identified and called to advance the construction of the Kingdom. These Spiritual Assignments to advance and increase the influence of the culture of the Kingdom were first defined by the Life of Christ.
While Apostles have been greatly respected on the Earth, if they do their jobs well, their ultimate goal should never be to be “kings” themselves; they must release the glory that results from their obedience to the call, to the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
Apostles are not just a messenger or an emissary. They are representative of Heaven. They are sent to establish principles and protocols, which were originally taught by Jesus, that will more clearly define and identify the culture of the Kingdom.
I believe that if and when the Ecclesial embraces and walks out the principles and protocols that Jesus defined in the Sermon on the Mount, that the Church would begin to reflect a people that carry the height, depth, of the Authority of Kingdom Culture.
Discipleship Advances Kingdom Culture
An Apostle on assignment is one man/woman. He spearheads the mission, but he cannot accomplish the mission on his own. As a Father to spiritual sons and daughters, it is critical that the Apostle disciples his “children.
Just as someone taught them to follow Biblical patterns, principles, and protocols, to work out their own salvation, they too must work these patterns, principles, and protocols into their spiritual children.
Without a solid strategy for discipleship and the persistent implementation of the same, Kingdom culture would self-destruct in the following generation.
Jesus laid the foundation for each and every Kingdom citizen. It was laid in one simple principle. He said, “I do what I see the Father do.” This implied a very close relationship with the Father.
In fact, He could not be preoccupied with His own opinion and desires. His focus had to be the Father’s purpose and actions. In this Jesus became a servant to His followers and the Kingdom culture, as He represented His Father on the Earth.
While discipleship is an Apostolic function, it is important to understand that apostle and disciple are different entities. In fact, discipleship is the responsibility of every Kingdom leader. The goal of discipleship is to move the disciple into his or her divine call.
Why is that so important? It is vital because, when they grow into the office where they are called to function in the Body, they must be prepared to walk it out and do their part to advance the culture of the Kingdom.
This is our foundation and pattern for discipleship. We must know the Father and make Him and His ways known to our disciples. Self has no place in the passing down of the patterns of Kingdom culture.
As the Apostle John stated, “He must increase and I must decrease.” When we remove ourselves from the equation, we give the disciple an unobstructed view of what the Father is doing. In this way, they are not distracted by the imperfect as they move towards growth and maturity of their heavenly call.
It is clear that an Apostle is much more than a definition found in a dictionary. The position carries great breadth, width, and depth. It is also clear that, while the scope of the Apostle’s job description is great, that the Apostle is still only one aspect of the mission.
In summary, Apostles are responsible for ensuring that every person knows their role in the execution of Kingdom Blueprints.
They must disciple and train those who “labor” to ensure proper execution of the original intent of the blueprint.
In order to carry out the perfect design, every part of the whole must work together, but all must always look unto Jesus the original designer of Kingdom Culture!