Under the Apostolic Umbrella: Becoming Apostolic People
© 2022 Philip M Spence
Where the grace of an Apostle is received, people will undergo a metamorphosis to become those who reflect the likeness of our Great Apostle Jesus. This will be outworked through a transition to becoming an apostolic church made up of apostolic people.
If an Apostle is a ‘Sent One’, then apostolic people are those who have a sense of being sent into every part of their lives as representatives of the Great Apostle. Life in the Kingdom is the original purpose-focussed and motivated life. Jesus, the Great Apostle, came to infuse mankind with His eternal purpose for life on this planet.
Apostolic people have a sense of mission about the entirety of their lives. They are acutely aware of being commissioned by the King to fulfil His purposes in every part of every day of their lives. Regardless of gifting and calling, every believer is destined to be apostolic. This is the nature of the Kingdom which came to earth when the Father sent the Son. Kingdom people, therefore, are to become apostolic people.
The original church was called the apostolic church, and in this current period of the restoration of the Kingdom, God is looking for the church to once again function as, and be known as, the apostolic church.
The Apostles’ Teaching
The first ingredient God uses to transform His church to be apostolic is the teaching of the Apostles. To become apostolic people, the members of the Kingdom of God must continue in the things which were and are modelled and taught by their Apostles (Acts 2:42).
The Apostle Paul told Timothy, his son in the faith, to keep a strong grip on the sound teaching he had received from his Apostle. He described his teaching as having been implanted into his life in a strategic way (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
Paul stressed to Timothy that he was to be faithful to the things that he had been taught. He encouraged him to not deviate from the things about which he had a conviction, because of who it was that had taught him those things (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
The teaching alone was not the key. The important thing was who had done the teaching, what credibility the teacher had, and what was imparted by the Holy Spirit through the teacher to the son in the faith.
It is the impact of the apostolic anointing in the context of covenant relationship with an Apostle that produces the metamorphosis which results in an apostolic church. The apostolic grace enables this transformation.
Paul went further and commended Timothy for being diligent and faithful in pursuing and remaining focussed on what had been imparted into his life (2 Timothy 3:10).
Paul identified not only his teaching as a key to shaping Timothy’s life and ministry. He also highlighted his lifestyle example, his all-pervading sense of purpose, his faith, and his patience under pressure.
He added to these things his love for people, even when being maligned, plus his unswerving commitment, as things which had shaped Timothy to become an apostolic person.
The transformation of Timothy from a timid young man to an apostolic person in whom Paul had confidence was also brought about by prophetic ministry (1 Timothy 1:18). The teaching of his Apostle produced part of the shift in his life and ministry, but it was complemented by prophecies which were declared over him.
Here again we see the importance of the synergy of Apostles and Prophets. These weren’t just any Prophets. They were those who were in relationship with the Apostles, were credible, and were recognised by the Apostles as elders in the church.
We also need to see more prophetic ministries submitted to and working in a complementary way with Apostles and synergising their gifts. Not only is apostolic credibility and stature essential, but the same is required of the Prophets who work with them. The reason for this is that apostolic people need to be able to fall back on those prophecies during the tough times and when they are advancing against the enemy (1 Timothy 1:18).
Paul encouraged Timothy to keep the prophecies from the elders in his heart, and pay attention to them, because they were linked with the gift of God upon his life (1 Timothy 4:14).
The Laying On of Hands
Those who prophesied over Timothy also laid hands on him, just as the Apostle Paul had done. By doing so there was an impartation into his life.
The metamorphosis from being a church goer, or a good Christian, to becoming an apostolic person requires more than words. It requires a supernatural impartation (1 Timothy 4:14).
Once again, this transformation depends on impartation from those who are recognised as apostolic elders over us. Through this impartation, gifts from God are deposited into the believer’s life (2 Timothy 1:6).
The Influence of Other Apostles
Timothy’s life and ministry had been impacted and shaped by the Apostles, the Prophets recognised by those Apostles, and those who the Apostles recognised as elders.
Now Paul tells Timothy that all of this was built upon the foundation laid in his life as he grew up in a believing family. His grandmother and his mother imparted their faith into his life from a young age (2 Timothy 1:5).
Not every believer has a generational heritage like this in the things of God. In fact, the more effective we are in bringing people into the Kingdom, the more we will find that there are people without the heritage Timothy had. However, in an apostolic church which is an authentic expression of the Kingdom of God, there will be members of the five-fold, and other spiritual parents, whose influence will shape lives.
I was fortunate to grow up as the son of missionaries to Papua New Guinea. Not only did my parents model a commitment and passion that shaped my life, but many other missionaries they worked with did so too. One of them was Tommy (T.L.) Evans. He was an Apostle to that land even though we didn’t recognise or acknowledge it in those days. He was a man of prayer who carried the presence and power of God wherever he went.
As a boy, my life was shaped by his commitment to the work of the Holy Spirit and his confidence in what the Holy Spirit would do through him. I saw many powerful and unusual manifestations of the Holy Spirit as he ministered, and this gave me great faith that God could use me in a similar way.
One night when I was a young preacher (in my late twenties), I happened to be preaching at a youth rally in a nearby city. I felt that the Lord wanted me to preach about the Holy Spirit. As I preached that night, I realised that there was an old man in the middle of the crowd of young people. Then it dawned on me that it was Tommy Evans. At first, I was surprised, but then I became inspired.
At the end of my message many young people responded for prayer, and I asked the old general if he would pray for them. I stood alongside him like an apprentice, grateful to receive any impartation I could from him as he ministered.
Paul exhorted Timothy to always keep in mind the faith that had been imparted to him by his grandmother and his mother. Paul declared this to be sincere, authentic faith. He told Timothy that he could see the same faith in him (2 Timothy 1:5).
Apostolic people don’t become so in a vacuum. Nor does being apostolic come about through self-help technologies, motivational lectures, or success in the eyes of people. The methodology of the Holy Spirit in making apostolic people includes these five ingredients and depends on the involvement and impartation of credible Kingdom people.
The above is an excerpt from the book Under the Apostolic Umbrella. To download your copy, go to Amazon.com or click the button below: