The Apostolic Gift
By Dr. Ray Melugin


The Word "apostle" occurs approximately 75 times in the New Testament, and is found in 19 out of the 27 New Testament books.

Question: Was the gift restricted only to New Testament times, or is there a broader application of its usage meant for today?


I. The Office vs. The Gift

A. The restricted, official usage.
In several ways, the apostles were unique.

1. they had been with Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry.

Note: Peter listed qualifications for a replacement for Judas. He had to have been with Jesus from His baptism by John. Acts 1:21-22.

2. They had a personal call from Christ.

Note: "...that they should be with Him..." Mark :14

He commissioned them, "as my Father hath sent me, so send I you." John 20:21

This is also to the Church: Luke 6: 12-13, I Corinthians 12:28

3. They were eye witnesses of the resurrection.

Note: They saw Christ personally and visibly after He had been resurrected. Acts: 1:22

4. They laid the doctrinal foundation of the church.

Note: (John 14:26; 16:13; Ephesians 2:20) They taught what Christ taught as the Holy Spirit brought it to their rememberance in fulfillment of the above verses. Later, only writings which emanated from the apostolic circles were admitted to the New Testament.

5. they laid the structural foundation of the church.

Note: The door of the Gospel was opened to the Jews in Acts 2:38-41 (Peter was speaking to Jewish men) and to half-Jewish Samaritans in Acts 8:14-17 and to Gentiles in Acts 10:44-48, and also in Ephesians 2:20.

6. They had power to work miracles.

Note: Acts 2:43; 5:12; 8:18; 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4. The purpose was to authentic apostolic witness.

7. They will judge Israel's 12 tribes. their names will be inscribed in the New Jerusalem.

Note: Luke 22:29-30; Revelations 21:14. There can be no apostolic successors. Those who made this false claim were called liars. Revelation 2:2.

B. The Broader, Unofficial Sense
Note: Others, not of the Twelve, were called apostles

Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14)

James, the Lords brother (Galations 1:19)

Silas and Timothy (I Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6)

Paul, the supreme example, never claimed to be numbered with the Twelve. (Romans 1:1) He wa an apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13; Acts 19:11-12, II Timothy 4:20) Pauls gift of healing wanned in his later years.


II. The Missionary Gift is the Continuing Aspect of the Apostleship

A. Nature of the Missionary Gift Today.
Note: A missionary is one "sent" to minister "transculturally" with "church-plainting goals."

1. Sent

a. The word "missionary" is rooted in Latin meaning, "to send".

b. The word "apostle" in Greek means "to send." Linquistically, both words are equal.

c. A missionary is sent from, not called to, a particular church. (Acts 13:3; 15:35-36; 26:16.

d. He is commissioned out of his homeland, as opposed to being invited to a certain area. The word "apostle" must refer to the continuing missionary gift. Matthew 28:19-20.

2. Transculturally

a. Paul crossed many cultural borders, and spoke possibly 5 different languages.

Note: People of Lycaonia speaking in their native language. (Acts 14:11) Paul passed through many different regions. (Acts 16:6-13)

b. Ability to serve in another culture is part of the missionary gift. II Timothy 4:10-12, 20.

Note: Some can serve in foreign countries with groups speaking their native language. They don't need the missionary gift. However, the missionary gift is a requisite for those learning new languages and even radically strange cultures.

c. the missionary gift never comes alone.

Note: Other gifts are needed (teaching, evangelism) enabling the person to use the missionary gift transculturally.

d. The Twelve, after some years in Jerusalem, went transcultural.

Note: Foxes book of Martyrs

Asia - Philip

Ethiopia & Parthia - Matthew

Asia, Edessa - Andrew

Rome - Peter

Edessa - thaddeus

India - Bartholomew, Thomas

Africa - Simon the Zealot

Asia Minor - John

3. Church-planting goals
a. Full evangelism includes salvation, baptism, growth, and church organization in the new areas. Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 15:20; I Corinithians 3:10

Note: Travel beyond cultural boundaries doesn't make one a missionary.


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