The Body of Christ has numerous parts, and although the majority are not apostles, all should be apostolic, it is God's intent. Apostolic qualities should be common to all believers, and working through them, creating apostolic life and character.
In Psalm 32:8-9 it says "Do not be like the horse or mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you." The word of significance here is "understanding" because this is what Scripture says we must have. God is looking for a group of people, it could be 50, or it could be 200 that He can place understanding on, which is an anointing of the Holy Spirit, (Isaiah 11:2) and then they will have one heart and one mind to do the will of God. A group such as this would be an example of an apostolic people.
We have two examples of this type of thing in Scripture. The first is the early church who were "of one heart and mind" (Acts 4:32) and the result of this apostolic nature was staggering. The known world was turned upside down. The second example was in Israel during the days of King David when "the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord." (2 Chron 30:12)
A majority of believers have little understanding of the Lord's ways, and the result of this is there is a lack of unity, love and power. The majority of sermons while they have great educational value, do little to influence actual outcomes in a significant way. But when God gives the spirit of understanding to a group of people, they become one in heart and mind. This is the anointing that was poured out on the day of Pentecost on the early church. This anointing of understanding is supposed to be on all believers and should make us to be an apostolic people.
It is grace which changes an individual person, and in a similar way, the grace or understanding will corporately change a group of people who are willing.
What is an Apostolic People
An apostolic people or group is not just a group that has apostles, rather it is a group that has certain qualities, such as:
- Understanding of God's will and a desire to do it
- Unity between believers - absence of competition and striving
- Community - willingness to work together and honour each other.
- Admiration of each other - believers like each other.
- One heart and mind.
- Clothed with Christ's authority
- Submission to authority
- Faith and the fear of the Lord
- Willingness to accept responsibility
- Prayer and the willingness to pray
And there are also some particular apostolic qualities such as:
- Willingness to go - to be sent at any time.
- God shows them things - the direction to go
- Willingness to suffer, to be patient in hardship
- Undivided loyalty to Christ
- Surrender to Christ
Apostolic Christianity is an experience of walking with Christ, where for each believer these qualities are real, tangible, and personal to their faith. Each believer experiences the dealings of God, as intimately and as personally as Abraham and Paul did. Anything less, or anything else, is not the apostolic faith, but only religion.
Believers who are apostolic in nature will walk in humility, be teachable, and submitted. They will honour leaders and walk in faithfulness in relationships rather than just for convenience or to get ahead. They will be accountable, transparent, open and honest, and will love from the heart. They will lay down their lives for each other. They will operate as a community. They will be a people who although they have rights, will not cling to them.
The Church has not yet become apostolic, but will. As Christ restores apostles, the church will begin to get back its apostolic nature and we will become mature, not lacking anything. The future is going to be different.