The Ministry of Jesus vs. the Ministry of Paul

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I find that many church leaders, especially those who were born again during the Pentecostal and Charismatic Revivals of the 60-80’s, emphasize the ministry of Jesus more than the ministry of Paul.  What is the difference between these two apostolic ministries, and what should be the focus of each?

During the earthly ministry of Jesus, He ministered primarily to the “lost sheep of Israel,” with the exception of his teaching ministry to the disciples whom He had chosen to be in the school of ministry.  The mission statement of Jesus, found in Luke 4:18, is directed to the needs of people for repentance, healing and deliverance:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” 

This was not a message of spiritual growth and maturity, but of liberation to those “whom Satan had bound.”  Jesus came to “bind the strongman and spoil his goods” by preaching, healing and casting out devils.  Jesus was not speaking to born-again people who could understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  But so often, church leaders are trying to duplicate the ministry of Jesus to the church every Sunday, as though they were the unsaved crowd Jesus was ministering among.  We often use John 14:12-14 as the basis for this philosophy of ministry:  “The works that I do, shall he do also” (referring to the deliverance ministry of Jesus).  By following this practice each week, we actually are keeping the congregation in need of healing and deliverance, because they are never growing up spiritually and taking their position as sons of God through Christ.  We need the ministry of Jesus to the masses of unsaved people, and we need the availability of that ministry to people in our congregations that need it.

But we need to shift our focus for the church to the ministry of Paul as stated in Colossians 1:25-29:  “…of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.  To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.“  Notice especially verses 28-29, where Paul outlines the functions and purpose of his apostolic ministry to include both “preaching to warn every man” and teaching to “present every man complete in Christ.”  As we read the letters of Paul, we can sense that “power that worked mightily in him” as he taught the church who they are “In Christ.”  The apostolic ministry of Paul weighed heavily on a teaching ministry that would produce Christ-like people who understood the New Creation completely.

Herein lies the difference between the Ministry of Jesus and the Ministry of Paul.  We need both operations in the world, but we should realize that the Ministry of Jesus was more to the unsaved world, while the Ministry of Paul was more toward the church, even though Paul’s apostolic ministry included preaching to people who were hearing the gospel for the first time, and was confirmed by miracles, signs and wonders; yet he spent most of his time teaching the believers New Creation Realities.  When believers have understood completely what God’s work in Christ means to them, they will not need the Ministry of Jesus every Sunday to get them healed and delivered again.  The reason pastors are often trapped into doing the Ministry of Jesus weekly is because the people don’t have a New Testament understanding of redemption.  This may be because the leaders themselves have not yet received the revelation contained in Paul’s writings.  We need to understand more than, Justification, Sanctification and Regeneration – we also need to know what it means to be a son of God with all the privileges and inheritance of the Family of God:  “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)  Much of the church is still living as “servants” and have never moved to “sonship.”  There is a transition from servant to son that must take place where we are not relating to God based on our “performance” but from our “position” in Christ.

The church today desperately needs the Ministry of Paul so that they can come to maturity and “do the greater works” of which Jesus spoke.  The Lord said that believers would do the works that He did listed in Matthew 11:2-5, referring to the deliverance ministry of Jesus:  “And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:  the blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’ ”  But He also said we would do “greater works than these,” referring to getting people born again, spirit-filled and grown up in Christ.

The world is waiting for the mature sons of God to manifest, those who will reveal the nature of the Father, who is Love.  May the Lord help us to see when each of these apostolic ministries is needed, and release them accordingly for His glory.

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Apostolic Shepherding

7189604_sThe Great Shepherd and Apostle of our Confession, Jesus Christ the Lord, has told us what to look for in those who are true shepherds, after the model which He Himself demonstrated while in His life on earth.  In the ninth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, as the Lord looked over the crowd of people, He uttered a cry for assistance in the great work of shepherding the flock of God, which contains three characteristics of what He was looking for in those who would continue His ministry as shepherds of the sheep.

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’ ” (Matthew 9:35-38 NKJV)

THE CONDITION OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds CARE about the CONDITION of the flock.  Jesus was moved with compassion; He genuinely cared about their condition in all aspects.  Most shepherds who are called by God begin with sincere motives that put the needs of the people ahead of personal agendas, empire building, and ladder-climbing in the Kingdom of God.  Some, however, have become more concerned about the “contributions” of the flock, rather than the “condition” of the flock.  As shepherds, we must maintain the heart of God for the people, not using them as means to an end, but placing the value on each individual that God has assigned to humanity, and serving them accordingly.

THE GATHERING OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds GATHER the flock of God.  Jesus noted that the sheep were “scattered” without a protecting shepherd, making them more vulnerable to the attack of wolves and other predator beasts.  The shepherd is motivated to gather the flock of God, not for numbers’ sake alone and reaching corporate ministry goals, but for their need of protection and direction.  God’s people are to develop the nature of a sheep, which is to “follow the voice of another.”  Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice.” (John 10:27).  Christians must be gathered together for the protection offered by a spiritual covering, but also to learn how to be led by the Spirit of God as a result of learning to walk with the flock under the guidance of the local shepherds.  As new believers, we don’t know His voice clearly yet; we are often confused about direction in our lives and, having the loving counsel of seasoned shepherds, we gain confirmation that we are truly hearing the voice of the Lord.  The goal of true shepherds is to train people to hear His voice and to be led by the Spirit of God.

THE STRENGTHENING OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds STRENGTHEN the flock of God.  Jesus also noted that the sheep were “weary” – they needed rest, but they also needed the strength that comes from proper nourishment.  A true shepherd wants to produce strong Christians who are able to complete the journey through this life in victorious fashion that glorifies God.  This means preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God, including “doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.” (see 2 Timothy 3:16).  Believers need not only milk (not too much candy!), but also meat (and strong meat) of the Word to grow from babyhood to manhood and become reproducing disciples.  True shepherds know that the future of the flock depends on the healthy reproduction of the flock.  As a shepherd, if my sheep are not reproducing more sheep as a result of being properly fed, trained, and equipped, then the future of the flock is jeopardized.  As true shepherds, let us CARE, GATHER and STRENGTHEN the flock of God according to the apostolic model of Christ.

The Kingly Anointing

30085725_sIn 1997 I wrote a book entitled He Cutteth Out Rivers, describing the difference between the Prophetic, Priestly, and Kingly anointings, and how believers can flow at all levels.  Since that time, God has been speaking specifically about the Kingly Anointing that has been released upon the Church and with greater detail regarding characteristics of this particular anointing.

OUR POSITION AS KINGS

First of all, we should understand that all believers already have the status of a “king” according to Revelation 1:5-6, which says, “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us Kings and Priests unto God and His Father…”.  Jesus is called the “King of kings and Lord of lords” in 1 Timothy 6:15.  The “other” kings and lords mentioned in this verse happen to be those who are “in Christ” and already have the positional status mentioned.  We must now learn how to actually live out this positional truth in our everyday lives by renewing our minds to the Word and acting accordingly in thought, word and deed.  Glory to God! We are who He says we are, we have what He says we have, and we can do what He says we can do!

OUR FUNCTION AS KINGS

Current apostolic revelation emphasizes kingdom government concepts, which are the truths that Jesus will run the universe by for eternity.  We are just in the “training for reigning” and “schooling for ruling.”  Part of our training and schooling includes the nature and role of kings in the kingdom of God.  The truths regarding the nature and role of prophets and priests have been restored to us in recent moves of God, and now is the time for kings to understand their function and biblical role in the restoration of the church.

Apostle Paul told us in Romans 5:17 that everyone who receives the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness “shall REIGN IN LIFE by one, Jesus Christ.”  It is kings who reign by exercising dominion in all realms of life and ruling with character, wisdom, power and wealth.  There is a kingly anointing that has been released upon the restoration church, and we are seeing apostolic leaders raised up with a generational blessing upon their lives because they have become sons and daughters of the house, having learned to serve those with an Elijah anointing upon their lives.  It is time for these “sons and daughters” to partake of the next level of anointing that God is pouring out upon us by receiving the revelation being given and following those who are walking in it.

THE KINGLY EXAMPLE

The Gospel of Matthew is written mainly to the Jews to prove that Jesus was indeed the awaited Messiah who fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming King.  This gospel portrays a King teaching others how to be kings.  “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born KING OF THE JEWS? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.’ ” (Matthew 2:1-2).  Jesus shows us in this gospel how to live and reign in this life as a king in the kingdom of God.  He totally ruled over the kingdom of darkness through apostolic power and authority.  He also established rule in the hearts of men by love and servant-leadership that would make any sacrifice for their welfare.  He won the confidence of those he served by his kingly character, wisdom, and power.  He demonstrated the unlimited resources available to a king ruling under the authority of Omnipotence.

A POOR KING?

According to tradition, “poor Jesus” was born in a stable to “poor parents” who were turned into the night when they showed up at the door at the inn “begging for lodging.”  According to the truth or the Gospel, Joseph went to the hotel to “rent lodging” because he could afford it, but the hotel was fully booked for the night, so they went to the stable because Mary was about to deliver the Christ.  Shortly after the birth of Jesus, wise men arrived and “opening their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11).  There is a principle demonstrated here whereby one always entered the presence of a King bearing gifts in honor and respect.  This not only occurred at Jesus’ birth, but also during His life and ministry (see Luke 8:1-3).  Jesus walked in the wealth of a king while on the earth and never had shortage.  Have you ever seen a poor king?

It is the kingly anointing that is attracting wealth these days.  We should not be after the “loot” but after the “root.”  We must develop the character and wisdom of kings, and then the power and wealth will follow.  The message of the Kingly anointing is for those who are ready for maturity as saints.  We can see from the Old Testament that the kings who ruled without character and wisdom failed and led people to destruction, but those who ruled with Christ-like qualities had long and successful reigns that glorified God and blessed people.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS KINGS

I believe the kingly anointing is for the apostolic church which has embraced responsibility for the advance of the Kingdom in this present age.  It is obvious from the past behavior of many Christians that a person can experience prophetic anointing and minister to God as priests at the altar while still living fleshly, self-centered lives.  However, the kingly anointing will flow through character and wisdom produced in the lives of those who have decided to “wholly follow the Lord” in all the restoration truths given to us up until now in the Church.  The kingly anointing was given to His disciples (those who “left all to follow Him”).  We are the people who live in this tremendous time of restoration of all things, so let’s determine to “be all” and have all” that God provided and desires for our lives, so that we can demonstrate the authority and power of the Kingdom of God in this present age.

Apostolic Activation

14216924_sThe recent move of God has brought the restoration of the five leadership gifts of Eph.4:11, but what is next on God’s agenda for the Church? According to Eph.4:12 it would be the activation of the saints into ministry doing the works of Jesus out in the “highways and byways” of the land. It seems that the Church can be attracted to meetings and outpourings as they occur in various locations on earth, which all revolve primarily around the anointed vessel being used at the time, and where believers enjoy a measure of blessing on their lives. But getting the Church to take that blessing out of the meeting and into ministry is another story. There has been abundant prophetic word about the saints’ movement and the activation of believers into ministry, however, we still all seem to be going to church and not being the church. Is there a key that can give us a breakthrough into what God wants for us at this time? I believe there is, and I would like to suggest what I consider to be a vital key to activating the saints into “teaching, preaching and healing” (Matt.9:35).

Could it be that we need a new wineskin for the new wine we are enjoying at this time that would move us away from going back to the same old model of ministry. Where can the saints really be active in doing ministry better than in their own homes? We are presently involved in training and activating believers to begin house church ministry, what could be more apostolic than to plant new churches. The House Church Movement, in my opinion, is the answer for activating the saints into ministry that will reach new believers and make new disciples, rather than just recycling believers from one congregation to another. We must teach people that ministry is more than what we do at church in the Ministry of Helps department. For years we have taught people to take a job in the church so that the public gatherings would run smoothly, enabling us to advertise our program and attract church shoppers. The goal in all this was church growth and bigger budgets, all justified by our need to fund the many programs we developed to meet the felt needs of people. I am a product of the church growth movement and it’s teaching, which has helped us to understand breaking barriers and better management principles. We have learned how to incorporate people into our vision, but we have yet to pass the ministry from the hand of professionals to the non professional believers. When I speak of ministry I refer to the work of “evangelism, discipleship and deliverance” (Matt.9:35). Most believers still depend on the professional leaders to do this type of work, bringing people to church for someone else to get them saved, healed, delivered and discipled. The next step in activation following the restoration of apostles is to see the apostolic people taking responsibility for the real ministry of winning the lost and making disciples. Jesus told his disciples to “let down the nets for a catch”, “go fishing” and “fill up your boat”. Praise the Lord, let’s release the saints to do the same by training them to actually win their friends and neighbors to Jesus and bring them home for church. This may mean that they will not come to service each Sunday at the building, but will meet in homes on Sunday morning like the New Testament believers continued to do for years after Pentecost, and then meet corporately less frequently for a big celebration and impartation from the professional leadership.

For the Saints Movement to really be activated and released, it will require a change of structure for meetings and public gatherings. This will bring about multiplication instead of addition, and there will be real church growth as souls are added to the Lord daily.

Apostolic Demolition

The restoration of apostolic ministry to the church should touch on three areas that we clearly see affected by the apostolic anointing in the early church. The three areas we will discuss in this article are central to the revival that was taking place, and were satan’s tools to stop or hinder the move of God to evangelize the world in short order.
Honesty. The story in Acts 5:1-5 where Ananias and Sapphira were judged for dishonesty under the apostolic anointing of Peter, should serve as a warning to us in this “second apostolic reformation”. As I interact with many leaders across the land, I find many that still are struggling with this issue of honesty in relation to finances. It is obvious that God judges our real affections by how we view and handle our finances. In fact, God has no greater competition for our affection than money, “how can we love God and money at the same time”. If there is dishonesty in the pulpit, there will dishonesty in the pew. It is amazing that God “nipped it in the bud” early on in the revival so that “others would fear” and the example of these two prominent leaders would not be copied. With something as basic as the tithe being mishandled by so many, we have a serious problem in the church. I spoke with one pastor I was attempting to mentor into apostolic truth, and when I asked him about his tithing practices, his answer was, “I tithe to my wife and she tithes to me”. Their concept was that they were each other’s pastor so they would tithe to each other. This is a nifty way to keep the money in the house and still convince ourselves that we are “tithing”. I could understand people doing something like this in ignorance when they are without relational covering, but after the truth has been revealed we must become “doers”. I could tell many stories depicting the many practices of people in regard to finances that all amount to the same thing, dishonesty. How long will God permit people in leadership to preach one thing to the saints and practice something entirely different.

It was the apostolic anointing on Peter that brought swift judgment to this grievous sin in the hearts of people. I anticipate the same results when the apostolic anointing is in full bloom in today’s church. I believe that apostles should be examples of honesty, preach honesty, and demolish dishonesty with the Word and Spirit of God.

Morality. This is a second tool satan will use to stop the move of God, and that true apostolic anointing will demolish in the church. The level of immorality in the Corinthian church was so high that incest was even overlooked. The prophets and teachers in Corinth didn’t seem to have the grace to deal with it, they were very busy “flowing in the Spirit” and enjoying the “move of God”. It should be noticed that today’s church is much the same in that as long as the “spirit is moving” and miracles are still happening we just figure God accepts everything that is going on in our midst. The level of immorality in today’s church is getting frightfully close to that of the Corinthians, even including incest among leaders. We understand that prophets are more inclined to activate and identify spiritual gifts, while apostle are more inclined to look at the lives of the people being activated and used in the gifts. This is why we need the team ministry of apostle and prophet working together, so there will be a balance of gifts and character in the church. Apostle Paul, founder of the church finally stepped in and administered the apostolic grace to correct the situation and bring holiness back into the movement. I firmly believe that a mature apostolic gift will not tolerate a low standard of morality among local church or network leaders, but will require the same level of holiness the early apostles wrote to us about. This is restoration also. We must get back to “ordaining a life” and “not a gift”. The New Testament church ordained “elders”, not “preachers”.

Sorcery. A third area that apostles will demolish is in the area of spiritual witchcraft as we find under the ministry of Paul who “smote sorcerers blind” in the Name of Jesus. Apostles have the grace to overcome the Leviathan, Jezebel and Absalom spirits that attack ministries today. That is why it is so important for independent local church leaders who are not operating in an apostolic gifting, to find and connect with an apostolic parenting ministry for a relational covering. I have watched two things happen as churches connect with a mature apostolic gifting, warfare breaks out and all the demons that were hiding and operating in secret now are screaming because they know they have been detected. Ministries that have been “up and down” due to period undermining of these spirits, begin to move forward in peace and productivity. These “ruling spirits” are powerful and won’t yield until they are made to, or as Jesus said “unless as stronger than he comes and spoils his goods”. I believe the apostolic restoration will result in these three areas of Honesty, Morality and Witchcraft being brought into subjection to the King of Kings.