This message was preached by Terry Virgo is the founder of Newfrontiers. Newfrontiers has now multiplied into many apostolic spheres across the world that are united on global mission by core values and genuine
relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
Terry Virgo shares with such clarity the role of Ephesian 4 gifts and why they are important to us as a movement and for each local church. This part 2 of a 2 part message. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
All prophesy but not all are prophets. There are 3 categories of prophesying. All may prophesy- that’s the mark of this age in which we live i.e the age f the spirit. Acts 19 – they prophesied. It is the characteristic of the church. Prophesy is characteristic of when the people of God are together. It’s a phenomenal thing that God speaks to us.
In the OT it was only a few like Samuel, Elijah. Now its means to be wide spread. Philip had 4 daughters all who prophesied. What does that mean Some will do it often but not in the category of Eph 4 or Eph 2 eg) Agabus, the prophet and teachers. They are weighty guys.
In the New Testament all may prophesy and the others weigh it and substantiate it. We prophesy in part. We need to see much more prophesying. In our growing churches when you become 200 -300 the percentage of people who will prophesy will get smaller and passivity tends to set in but we should not give up on what is characteristic of the NT Church where the unbelievers recognizes that ”God is among us peaks “
The prophet reminds us of our identity. He is not a Bible teacher. A prophet will tend to live with a burden and carry it in his heart. Its different to the Bible teaching Shepherd and he will see things. We have very few like that viz. Keith Hazel, Julian Adams. They are praying people. We need to encourage but not let anything go.
The value of prophecy has gone down. Also we should not allow flaky stuff. That kills something. This stuff is exciting to anybody. The seeker will not be put off but will say God is among you. What are we trying to get rid of to attract the seeker? Certainly not the Holy Spirit!! We would be lunatics to do so. But we have given prophesy a bad name by letting unhelpful stuff go unchecked.
Just as we have Front Edge we should do something for the prophets. I am sacred of schools of prophets that set themselves up permanently outside of the church eg) America has this and its not helpful. The local church is a safe place.
This is one of the biggies for us. Apostle does not imply that there are only 12. The 12 were unique no doubt. The Bible commends people for testing false apostles. That means that there were other apostles around besides the 12. So apostles were part of the package in the Bible times and there were more than twelve.
So what is an Apostle?
Paul was a special Apostle. He is the clearest on what an apostle does. But we need to give ourselves some slack. There are degrees of this ministry. But what Paul did as an apostle we should expect to do in some degree. So this is fundamental to church life and to us as an ongoing movement.
The apostles were the ones who gave to the church its identity. Three thousand were added. What were they added to ? To the apostolic teaching and – the 12 and the 120 who were taught by Jesus. They then devoted themselves to these apostles teaching. The curtain was torn in two. They are no longer relating to God through priesthood. They are a new community on the earth and the apostle taught them who they were.
Ephesians 3 – they taught them things previously hidden and now revealed through God’s holy prophets. The apostle helped us to understand the OT in relation to the NT. They said you were a people redeemed by the Messiah who came to deliver us from the law and now you are His sons. This is radical – a new people not depended on the temple or sacrifices but a new people in a new relation with God who is their father and you have immediate access to him.
All the NT calls us to Godly living has nothing to do with keeping the law but now that you are in Christ. In view of who you are – seeing that you are now seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, so live this way.That’s apostolic doctrine.
Through the church for the living God and in our ranks sadly there are people who have not grasped this fundamental identify of the Christian. He is a person redeemed, born again and a new creation who does not go back to the law and so many Christians have a mixture.
“Many people are living in dried up stoicism I Packer . It is this stiff British upper lip where you keep on going and not drawing on “Now you are in Christ”
Apostolic is not a nuts and bolts specialists. I don’t believe they are the senior pastor of a church where they are a part of. They essentially bring in the truth about who we are in Christ now and how you should work together as a group. He is constantly getting them clear. That is apostolic passion. Its vital that we build church on gospel truth. Christianity at large is a mixture.
Apostolic ministry percolating down to the church should help people know who they are in Christ.The apostle Paul was able to interpret what God said to Abraham at the beginning. That this nation was the light of the world and now suddenly all the people of God are included. What did God say to Abraham and all the families on earth will be blessed through you. Already that is reflected here in the passion to reach the nations. That is why we have to build on apostolic foundations and not a pastoral one.
Think of Abraham who got saved and got world vision on the same day. He was justified. We want our church to be like that. That is why I am thrilled with New Day where we are impacting the teenagers. We are called to the nations and have World vision and they are captivated by it. As Ray was saying early on – three ingredients came from reading people like Hudson Taylor etc
Paul took hold of OT doctrine and theology and opened it up to this international, one New man in Christ going to the world.
It’s important that we not only teach that but like Paul and here like Steve O catching guys up on journeys. So the local church is caught up with apostolic passion.
So the health of the local church is all relevant to world evangelism. Paul writes to the Philippians you’re in partnership together. This meant financial aid to Paul. This means that the church is on apostolic and prophetic foundation, not a pastoral foundation because pastoral tends to meet people’s needs. In the OT if the priest did not meet the needs of God’s people God took him off. The danger is looking after people become the central thing and then people expect looking after all the time.
In the US and UK its like that with all seeker friendly churches where people tell you how church should be and how the Sunday school should be etc. They build huge churches like this. When you look at success ask yourself what made it successful before you take your old structure apart to adopt this new idea. Sometimes you may land up taking down the very wall that is holding up the structure. You may stop doing something that is integral to the foundations of your church and the whole things collapses. It’s not as obvious as that but 10 years down the track you ask what happened to us? Oh we took that wall off because the others felt that if we do this we will expand etc. Be careful o building churches like that where people want the meeting to last only an hour or so etc etc. God has called us to grow but we are also on a world mission and we make disciples.