It is important for every believer to understand the sobering fact that many false prophets and apostles abound in the church today. They masquerade as Christian preachers and ministers. They even have large churches and ministries. And some go as far as to proclaim themselves to be “apostle so-and-so.”
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” – 1 Corinthians 11:13-15
“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” – Jude 1:17-18
Other pastors and ministers are misusing the title of “apostle” in order to exalt themselves above their peers and taking positions of leadership in the church which God has not ordained for them. Like Diotrephes, they have very large egos and are determined to be perceived as “lords” of their denomination or religious sect.
“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” – 3 John 1:9
A true apostle of Christ
Since the title of apostle or prophet carries great authority and responsibility, it should never be used irresponsibly or for the purpose of enhancing or exaggerating one’s own importance, power, or reputation (self-aggrandizement). God’s Word warns us that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled…” – Matthew 23:12.
Although certain aspects of apostolic leadership were intended to continue throughout the history of the Christian church (see Ephesians 4:11-13), the title itself retains the unique connotation of the honor given to those twelve simple men and disciples who Jesus personally called and commissioned to plant His church. In fact, the Book of Revelation says that the fisherman Peter and the other 11 disciples will actually have their names inscribed on the 12 foundation stones of the future New Jerusalem when Christ returns (Revelation 21:14). The original apostles were personally mentored by Jesus, eyewitnesses of His death, burial and resurrection, and even authorized to write the last 27 books of our Bible. Therefore, this high level of apostolic authority must be carefully distinguished from the many Christian pastors and ministers who are using the title of “apostle” today.
The word “apostle” itself comes from the Greek apostello, which simply means “to send.” So in a general sense, anyone who is a traveling missionary or evangelist sent to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ is an apostle who has been “sent” for that purpose. But on a higher level, the apostle is also used to convey spiritual authority within the church. The apostle Peter, the apostle John and other original disciples had this level of apostolic authority. So did the apostle Paul, who wrote many of the New Testament books, as well as Barnabas and James (the half-brother of Jesus) (see Galatians 1:1, 2:7-8; Acts 14:4,14; Galatians 1:19; 2:9).
Jesus himself is also referred to as “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession…” – Hebrews 3:1-4. Jesus was compared to Moses in the Old Testament. Moses was also an apostle of God (i.e. one sent by Yahovah with His authority) and Aaron was the High Priest of God’s people. Under the New Testament, these two offices are now combined in the person of Jesus Christ who is worthy of more glory than even Moses and Aaron.
“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” – Hebrews 3:1-3
Before you accept the teachings or leadership of anyone who calls themselves a “prophet” or “apostle” today, be careful to test his or her ministry. Make sure they have the qualifications of a genuine apostle of Christ, and are truly bearing the fruits of righteousness. Also ask yourself, “Is this professing apostle genuinely walking in humility and teaching the way of Christ? Or, are they prideful and deceptively exalting themselves in order to get people to follow them?”
Remember the warnings of Jesus: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves…” – Matthew 7:15-16, 20.
– Pastor Luis Yosefus
REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Ask Rabbi Jesus – Free Book Offer
The roots of Christianity run deep into Jewish soil. Regrettably, most Christians are uninformed about our rich Hebraic heritage and how the principles of Hebrew thought influenced the teachings of the apostles and the early Church. This book will offer you fresh insights into the teachings of Rabbi Jesus and deepen your own understanding of the Holy Bible.
To order your free copy, click here to make your donation.
Click below to listen
to this audio message: