The Apostolic Heart

Apostolic ministry involves more than the functions of the “grace gift”, it also includes the inner motivations of the heart of an apostle. Paul often mentions what motivates him from within, such as his outline in Romans 1:14-16 where he mentions three attitudes of the heart that will be the driving forces of ministry. First he says, “I am a DEBTOR”, meaning that he was a person with a sense of obligation, akin to the attitude a conscientious person takes toward a bill that is due. A sense of obligation will move a person to take care of business with haste, and not procrastinate until the last moment. I once read a book by Jack Sparks on Modern Day Cults which had a quote that summed up this idea of obligation in regards to the unsaved. He said the cults were the “unpaid bills of the Church”, a statement that has stuck with me since the late Seventies when I first read it. This sense that Paul had of obligation to share the truth he had received, led to the next attitude he revealed about his own heart, “I am READY to preach the gospel”. This simply means that because of the debt he owed, he prepared himself in every way possible to pay that debt, he said, “So as much as is within me I am ready to preach”. This is not a half-hearted effort at the task, but a true apostolic attitude toward responsibility to do as much studying, praying, fasting and listening to mentors as necessary to be “approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed”. Any person, who has been touched by apostolic anointing to the degree that a change of heart has occurred, will share in this sense of obligation and will be preparing themselves to preach the gospel as well. Every believer is called to apostolic ministry in the sense that we are all called, anointed, and appointed by God to a place of influence in our world where we can establish the Kingdom of God. Finally, Paul said, “I am not ASHAMED of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation”. I believe that Paul was thinking of all the times he had preached Christ and watched as the word was confirmed with signs following, like the lame man at Lystra in Acts 14:7-11, “the same heard Paul preach and had faith to be healed”. When Paul “perceived that the man had faith to be healed, he said, “Stand upright on thy feet” and the man got up and walked home carrying his bed. Paul saw the power of God released as he preached the word in different venues, always resulting in miracles, deliverance and new birth; he knew it could happen even in a King’s Court. So he affirms that he wasn’t ashamed of the manifestation of God’s power, not matter how or when it was displayed. These are the attitudes of an apostolic heart, “I am a debtor, I am ready, and I am not ashamed”. (Romans 1:14-16…”I am a debtor both to the Greeks and the barbarians; both to the wise, and the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek”. )

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