By Patrick Holloran
God is realistically going to pour out the greatest move of the Spirit of all time. It will be a revival reformation, and in getting the Church ready for this, God desires us to go back to the original plan that made the Church of Acts so dynamic and culture changing. The Creator of the universe is making His Son’s Bride a new wineskin!
However, we as a Church today must come out of our lethargy and admit that for the last few hundred years, the church has not been fully operational. We have leaders, elders, and pastors who work long, hard hours in the ministry of “doing church”. We have saints that love the Lord and are willing to share their testimonies of what Christ is doing with them, but we do not see the kind of results they saw in the New Testament Church of Acts.
To be honest, we have yet to change our nations, and we have yet to have the gospel of the Kingdom
preached throughout the whole earth.
We should take time with our leaders, our spiritual parents, and our pastors to ask the question, “Why is the church not as successful as it was in the first century?” If we were to examine this question according to God’s Word, I believe we would find out we have not been following God’s instructions.
The church has become a sub-culture. That means that we are a culture within a culture. This sub-culture is wrong, because God called us to be the counter culture that makes a new culture (ecclesia). It is about becoming disciples, not converts, who can change the culture of what we are living in today.
Ephesians 4:11 tells us that;
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping (katartismos) of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
This word “equipping” in the Greek is “Katartismos”. This means to bring into proper or true alignment. As we look at verse 12 of Ephesians 4, it should say, “For the putting into proper (true) alignment the saints for the work of the ministry.”
Please take a look at Matthew 16:18;
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”(ESV)
We must really start to examine the word much deeper than ever before. If you think about this action and statement from Jesus Christ, it is rather astonishing. You see, Jesus is saying to them something that is brand new. Remember, there was no church previously. This is the initiation of a new kind of thinking. I mean, what was the reaction on the faces of the apostles after our Lord said that they would be a church? In my humor, I can imagine them saying, “Wow Jesus! That’s so great! One question, Lord; What is a church?”
In verse 19, Jesus Christ said;
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
With these two verses, let’s now look at this starting of a church with an emphasizing of the Greek word “Ecclesia” being used here for the word church.
The word “Ecclesia” comes from the Greeks and it means “an assembly of people who governed the affairs of a state; a parliament.” It means that in the time of the Greek empire, their society was to be the pre-eminent one. Their thinking, politics, and religion became the rules of society for the people of the Greek lands.
The Romans actually took this one step further in dealing with the Barbarians. When a general was sent out to war, he had with him a person who was given direct orders from the Senate of Rome to become an ambassador. This ambassador would join with the generals of the army and by direct authority of the state, (using the ecclesia thinking) start to teach the conquered barbarians the language, ways, and culture of Rome until everyone talked and walked like a Roman. It was believed that with this process, the barbarians would no longer hold on to the heritage of their forefathers, but adopt a different culture that would continue to preserve Roman ideology.
What this eventually did was bring everyone in the lands into a mentality that was about not creating a person’s kingdom, but the Roman Kingdom. The Ecclesia was the steward of this movement.
The challenge we have today is to look back into the original language of the Word of God and its commands, without adding our own interpretation or traditions that have been developed over time. If we look today at the instruction of the Lord from the book of Acts, we would start to discover that we first need to have the stewards of the Kingdom of God, the bearers of the Ecclesia, in full operation for success to come to the church. Remember, Ecclesia is about developing the culture of heaven on earth. So who should lead this first part of heavenizing earth? It is the apostle.
When we look with the correct understanding of who an apostle really is, we discover that they are like the pioneers of the 1800’s in America. A pioneer had a mentality of going forth and doing something that no one else had ever done. They were willing to take the necessary risks in order to hold on to their land, vision, and hope for a great future. They would go to a land that others had not yet lived on and make a society. Today, we need our pioneer apostles to come forth again and find the new things of God that are in heaven and bring this culture upon the earth.
The early church leaders had a similar thinking, as we have read about in the book of Acts. They were willing to endure hardships, harsh words, and some conflict in order to bring about the news of Jesus Christ as the King of all kings and the Son of God. It tells us that they were so successful in their endeavors, that the church was added to daily. So much so, that people were willing to sell all that they had in order to have the culture reflect the works and teachings of Christ.
Today, we need to have this apostolic mentality. Currently, we have come into a failure in this assignment because the pioneer thinking has moved from equipper and maker of disciples into a pastoral mentality of maintenance. Because of this wrong thinking in the church, we are bringing together a people who are not coming in for being equipped for ministry, but who are saying to the leaders, “What’s in this place for me?” So in truth, we have lost the command of the Lord to develop community and give God a bigger family.
It is my strong conviction, that for the church to make a difference today, we must first remove this false priority of taking care of people’s needs above making disciples. We must not give maintenance to a person’s life as much as guidelines that involve the teaching of the Word of God. If we can once again come into an apostolic mentality, we will bring the destinies for people into fulfillment, according to the will of the Father in heaven.
When we are in the thinking of maintaining, we run the great risk of failing to create God’s Kingdom on earth and instead we invoke man’s kingdom. We build a selfish kingdom that is about numbers, working hard to keep things peaceable, and in truth, the church stays in its four walls. We do not become community minded, but instead concentrate on how to appear proper in the eyes the culture around us.
In Isaiah 22:20-26, we read the story of Eliakim.
“In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. ? And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the LORD has spoken.”
The priests of the Lord in the time of Hezekiah that were functioning in authority had lost the mentality of building the Lord’s kingdom. They were not making any difference, and some were involved in secret sin of idolatry. The Lord looks at the heart of one who is not in line to be the main priest (Eliakim), and tells the people through the prophet Isaiah that he has the mentality of wanting to build God’s kingdom, and will become the inheritor of the priestly authority.
Notice that the Lord is telling this future leader that he will open doors that no one can close and close doors no one can open. When we are willing to build the kingdom of heaven on this earth, God will literally cause nothing to stop you from succeeding. When you are a builder of the Kingdom of God, our Lord addresses you as a father of your city.
So let’s look at the instructions of the Lord from His word that will show us how to make the church a success today and the dominate culture. 1 Cor. 12:28 establishes an order for the church.
“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”
Is it possible that we have let the traditions of man cause us to not truly observe this very important scripture (Mark 7:13)? Clearly it tells us here that God’s plan involves starting with the apostle. It is not by accident that this is mentioned first. Most people will agree that the Bible is never coincidental, not even in the order of what is presented.
The Lord has chosen the apostle to make the church work. It was the same in the book of Acts and it should apply today. I am in wonder about this scripture. We are crying for our Lord to give us the nations, the lands, the people, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to make a difference. This is His promise, but our God has given us an order that clearly shows there is a protocol of heaven involved here.
Many churches are wondering why they are not succeeding in making a difference. Is it because those leading these churches are perhaps not an apostle? God is saying in His word, that for the church to work as He has desired, we must start with the apostle.
That means the apostle has the gifts, the anointing, to make things work properly, and supernaturally.
In light of this discovery, we now need to understand our part in the working of this adventure called church. I would like to encourage everyone to contemplate this discovery and accept that our part of making a successful church today is to come into relationship with these apostles or in a better language – align ourselves with them.
The reason is that when we align with an apostle, their apostolic anointing flows into our lives and is shown in everything we do. No matter how hard we may try to do things in our best or unique thinking, if it does not involve the apostle, it will not work.
An apostle is like a water spigot. Turn the handle of a faucet, and water flows forth. When you align yourself in relationship with the apostles, their flowing comes into your life. So I would like to emphasize that the key for a church to function as the Church of Acts did, we must have apostolic alignment today.
So what does it mean to be apostolic aligned? It means that you get into a committed relationship with a person who meets the requirements of an apostle (This will be discussed in another newsletter). In alignment does not mean that you become someone’s slave. It does not mean that you are ordered around to get coffee for someone. It is not where you are commanded, but where you are counseled, taught, and loved. In truth, a committed relationship with an apostle is about being in covenant. Covenant is like a marriage. In fact, the word of God tells us in Malachi that marriage is a covenant.
Covenant is a place where trust is developed. A place where even in correction, there is genuine care and fruit of love. The Hebrew people so cared about covenant that when two men made covenant with each other, it actually would be passed on to the next generations. When two men made a covenant with each other, it was where they both learned so much about each others family, that they were considered to be trusted to offer solutions for raising children, or making a marriage stronger. Today, it should be the same in a covenant relationship with apostles.
The apostle should be the one that you go to for counsel, for direction, and training. When you are in covenant with an apostle, you are aligning yourself to their vision(s), their integrity, and their discernment by Holy Ghost.
Consider Joshua aligning himself with Moses, or Elisha aligning himself with Elijah! These are excellent examples of alignment because the leaders trained the spiritual sons to do much greater than they did. That acceleration is the intent of God for our lives. He never wants us to go to less, but to greater. In alignment, we have the ability to do much greater than those who have trained us in building the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. Remember the illustration of the apostle being the spigot? When we are in alignment with them, their anointing flows into us by Holy Ghost. It is important to acknowledge this point.
When things are set up by Holy Ghost in His protocol, the apostles will lay hands on you and cause an impartation. That means that all that the apostle has battled, all that they have encountered in resistance, as well as what have been successes over the years, will become your starting point for destiny. That should be motivation enough for us! To realize that the years of experience that a leader has endured in a lifetime is your initiation or starting point should exhort us into being not only thankful, but full of expectancy to give even more glory to God.
With impartation from the apostle, comes a deposit into the soil of your life. A seed is planted that you must cultivate and steward into becoming an inheritance will last a lifetime. It all comes at the expense of proper alignment. When you have this, you have right authority and a commissioning happens that is the start of apostolic living in your life. This will lead to new life and new power. This is what the impartation of an apostle activates.
Paul wrote in Romans 1:11
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you.”
To impart is to recognize or ordain. But I think the better description here would be to commission. When I ordain or commission someone, I am saying to them and to those who are witnesses, that what has already been done in my life is just the beginning of the person who I am laying hands on. I am declaring in commissioning that they must do greater. That means that the people involved must go to a whole new level, not just in their personal lives, but to God!
Remember the apostles in the time of Jesus Christ? These twelve (the original eleven plus Matthias) established churches, changed the culture, and their testimonies, along with signs and wonders reached the known world in their day! (Look sometime at what the church of Antioch did to the city.) What I am trying to bring into your awareness is that without apostolic alignment, you really do not get anywhere. There are huge benefits and power in alignment.
When you align with someone, it means that you have committed yourself to them; in showing honor, in learning from them and making yourself accountable to them.
There was a person who emailed me that they were really confused about all that they had been hearing from different leaders. They had been hopping from church to church and not really making a decision to stay in only one. In the email, they asked me to help them to know which of the speakers was correct and which of them they should listen to. I had to advise them that to stop the confusion, to find one who was closest to their desire for being a spiritual parent, to meet with them, and then make a commitment to that church and the vision of the leaders. In this way, they would have the voices that were not of the Lord become silent. You see, when you do not align yourself with someone, you are not going to have clarity and the result is that you will get no where when it comes to fulfilling your destiny.
Today in the body of Christ, we must be aligned with someone! That should be easy to do as there are truly many streams that make up the river of God that we are to jump into. Each of these ministries may have a different look and different gifts from God. One thing that the ministries should have in common is a propensity for putting our eyes on what our King of Kings is doing in heaven, and making it so on the earth. What we need to know is that for us to do what we have been born to do in promoting the Ekklesia on the earth today, we have to come into alignment with the apostles of these ministries and know who it is that we consider to be the one that is best for us. And then, when the vision is imparted into us, we do greater!
As the church aligns apostolically, the five-fold ministry will begin to operate in strength and in power. The saints will then be equipped to minister, and God’s Church will have its new look which is really from the book of Acts!
The church as we know it will change for the better. We will see a change in the mentality of leaders and people for sure. Let’s use the example of a revival, reformation, or an outpouring. Let’s say that it starts today. First of all, the outpouring must be governed by the apostles who are thinkers of ecclesia, the culture of heaven on earth. It is to be done with those of the town, city, or the region. It is not for one local congregation. I say this because most fellowships today have pastors, not apostles as leaders. To be honest, (even speaking from my own personal experience in the past as a pastor), pastors keep things local and people focused.
It is my conclusion that the stewarding of the movements of God that are about to come into reality, will be governed by people who have the DNA of Jesus Christ in them that makes them apostles.
There was a mighty birthing and moving of God in the time of Peter. It all started in Acts 2. In Acts 2:40-43, it states –
“And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.”
Peter stewarded this outpouring through his apostolic mantle. Today, realize that with apostles, and the alignment that the Body of Christ is to do with these leaders, we will all discover that apostles will take the outpouring into becoming regional, national, and global.
Please realize that I am not saying we do not need pastors. Look at the study that I have presented and take into consideration that we need to come into alignment today in order to get the promises of what God has given to us for the full effect of making heaven’s culture live on the earth.
And just a quick side note; if the local churches are led in your city by apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, or evangelists – give attention to their vision that the Lord has given to them. If we can align ourselves with the vision of the leaders – POW! We will have a effective outreach to the lands! God Bless You in Jesus Christ’s Name!
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