The Five-Fold Apostle: (Establish, Build & Govern) The Thumb
- Apostles are not just first century leaders who saw Jesus. To clarify the apostles were the first leaders of the Church. First in time (Mt. 10:1-2), first in authority (Mk. 6:7), first in ministry (Acts 6:1-4), and first in the list of giftings (Eph. 4:11). They were commissioned and sent forth by Jesus so initiate and direct the preaching and teaching of the gospel and together with Him, found the church (Eph. 2:20)
- Not a spiritual term in its origination. It’s from the Greek word “apostolos”, Means “sent one”
- The basic idea expressed by the word apostle is that of one sent as a representative of another and who derives his authority from the sender.
- Some of the N.T. apostles were: The 12 disciples (Mt. 10:2), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Silas and Timothy (1 Thes. 2:6), James (1 Cor. 15:7), Paul (Rom 1:1) and Andronucus and Junias (Rom. 16:7). All of these were commissioned by Jesus.
- The title of Apostle seems to belong to the first generation of the church. However, the spiritual endowments needed for apostolic work will continue to be poured out as long as there are unreached people on earth. Jesus is still sending forth with a commission men who are given His authority over powers of darkness, who have authority to bind and loose, and who preach the gospel with the anointing of a prophet. They are at work among us today. (Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, Duffield, Van Cleave, p. 352, 353)
- They are focused on the kingdom. “Apostolic leaders are focused on Heaven, and their vision is to see Heaven’s supernatural reality established on the earth. Having this motivation at the foundation of a church leads to an entirely different emphasis in the church’s governing priorities. The apostle will make the presence of God, the worship of God, and the agenda of Heaven the top priorities in the environment.” (Culture of Honor, Bill J., p61)
- Establishment of the kingdom on earth. It establishes the supernatural culture of the church. Here are some key characteristics of an apostolic environment and culture. (Culture of Honor, Bill J. p62)
- Worship and supernatural activity are priorities in the environment and lifestyle of the saints, because God’s presence is top priority.
- The saints are sent, as Jesus was, to destroy the works of the devil, including disease, sickness, and affliction. The saints live to demonstrate to all the people on earth that God is always the good guy and the devil is always the bad guy.
- The kingdom of God is “joy in the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, church is to be a place opf exceeding abundant joy.
- God desires those who don’t yet know Him to come into a relationship with Him where the primary emphasis is love, not merely service.
- The Body of Christ is being built up and equipped to become a glorious and victorious Bride, no matter how the conditions of the earth may presently appear.
- The church is to create global awakening and impact.
- Successive generations must be equipped to carry and demonstrate Kingdom revelation.
- Misuse of the apostleship is not a reason for no use or abandonment.
- We cannot advance the kingdom of God if we don’t have apostolic leadership in the house of God. Apostolic leadership means that we give place for the apostolic work to flourish. This work focuses on perceiving what is going on in heaven and bringing that to earth. When this happens there is a flow that allows the supernatural to take place.
- It’s an exciting place that allows prayer, worship, miracles, signs, and wonders to become normal in our daily lives.
- An Apostle builds and establishes. They will get on your nerve. They do not accept status quo. When things get established the vocabulary begins to change.
- Apostolic ministry is about more than just the church. It’s about a city.
- The role of an apostle is not directly designed to meet the needs of people. When the apostles were confronted with the needs of people in Acts 6:4 they said “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” They were acting like apostles. The increasing needs of the people were a distraction to their role and anointing. It’s not that they didn’t care about the people. But they did something to make sure that quality men in their community addressed those needs. The apostle has to have the freedom to pursue heaven if he or she is going to effectively fulfill an apostolic call. (Culture of Honor, Bill J., p64)
- This said, the apostle cannot function without the other four ministry gifts. If they do, deep issues will arise that will threaten the success of the apostolic leader.
- Unusual manifestations not found in the bible
- Unprecedented scenarios and styles
- An uncomfortable focus on the supernatural
- And a noticeable inattention to the needs of people begin to create friction
- As the peoples needs go unmet they begin to resent the way the apostle is choosing to spend their time. Travel, meetings, connection with other apostolic leaders and prayer seem like luxurious expenditures of time when the people needs are screaming in their own ears.
- If the apostle acts alone we can develop a problem where people will say “Signs and wonders are great. Miracles are amazing. I am happy for all those blind people who can see now. But we are going to another church where they care about peple, where they teach the Bible, and where they are less emotional. This church doesn’t even have a way for new people to get plugged in. Open heavens and open back doors are the sweet and sour of the apostolic leader. This is why they need the rest of the team.
- They were not meant to be given to one because God has called us to work together.
- They are not titles, they are functions. Let the function speak for themselves. They cannot be demanded, but honored by the fruit of their ministry.
- The number five is symbolic of God’s grace, goodness and favor towards humanity. We have been given five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot. We have five senses.
- The Fivefold is the five senses of the church Body. They are all designed to sense heaven within these five ministry gifts because they are essential for the growth of the Body.
Significance of the Order
- It is an order based on anointing not on position.
- It is more a matter of function than a matter of title.
- The order establishes the priority of seeking the kingdom before seeking the people. Mat. 6:33 tells us to But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
- We can function in these five because Jesus was all of them. Because it’s all about Jesus, it’s all about the fivefold because He was all of them.
- Jesus as the Great Apostle: Heb. 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
- Jesus as the Great Prophet: Acts 3:22
For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.
- Jesus as the Great Evangelist: Lk. 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
- Jesus as the Great Shepherd: Jn. 10:11
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
- Jesus as the Great Teacher: Acts 1:1
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
Why has God given them to the church? Why we need it?
One of the biggest misconceptions we have in churches today is to believe that the pastor can do everything. There are some churches that perhaps are blessed to have one person who carries each of the fivefold ministry offices, but they are far and few in between, and as a matter of fact it’s rare. It is impossible for one person to establish government. There was only one person on this earth who was able to execute each of them with perfection. Only one person who was given the authority, ability, and gifting to establish a government, and His name is Jesus! I would dare say that while He did it alone, He wasn’t alone because the Holy Spirit and the Father were also present with Jesus as He established this government of Heaven on earth.
“Churches in America are out of order. The foundations and leadership of most churches today consist of pastors, teachers and administrators. We’ve empowered the wrong portion of the list in 1 Corinthians 12 to be the primary leaders of the church…” (Culture of Honor, Bill J., p60)
What kind of church it produces?
- A balanced church.
- An equipped church. “Equip” Greek word means to be fully furnished.
- Every ministry done in excellence.
- Every person operating in excellence and in ministry in their particular anointing.
- The Fivefold is what establishes operation in the church.
- The body is edified. Strong. Built up. What do people see when people come in this church?
- A church that works together each member doing their part.
What Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Unlike the Ministry gifts of the Fivefold given to the church, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for all believers and begin when we receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit and is a sign that follows those who believe. They are founded from the Scriptures in 1 Cor. 12:8-10.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are grouped into three categories. The first category are The Vocal Gifts. These gifts are manifestations of the Holy Spirit speaking supernaturally to or through us. When this happens the believers are strengthened, encouraged and comforted but never put under condemnation. They are:
- Tongues: A supernatural vocal expression of an inspiration given by the Holy Spirit, using our natural voice. (1 Cor 13:1, Acts 2:4)
- Interpretation of Tongues: The supernatural showing forth, by the Spirit, of the explanation or meaning, in the hearer’s own language, of the vocal expression of a message given in another tongue. (1 Cor. 14:13)
- Prophecy: A spontaneous supernatural vocal expression of inspiration in a known language which strengthens, encourages, and comforts the Body of Christ. (Joel, 2:28, 1 Cor. 14:1,5,39)
The second grouping are The Revelation Gifts and are manifested through Hearing. They manifest as God supernaturally reveals the identity, nature or activity of spirits, or when He supernaturally reveals knowledge or wisdom to His people. They come into our minds through our spirit in the form of a thought, impression, felling, dream or vision. They Include:
- Discerning of Spirits: This is a distinguishing of spirits with supernatural insight into the realm of the spirit world. It reveals the type of spirit(s) behind a person, situation, or a message. (Rom. 12:2, Heb. 4:12)
- Word of Knowledge: A supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit of certain facts, present or past, about a person or situation, which are not learned through the natural mind. (Acts 1:8, 14:9)
- Word of Wisdom: A supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit, giving the believer God’s wisdom to proceed on a course of action based on natural or supernatural knowledge. It works with a Word of Knowledge. (John 4:19-29, 11:4)
The third and last grouping of gifts are The Power Gifts and are manifested in Doing. These are manifested by God releasing His supernatural faith or power to work or flow through us.
- The gift of Faith: A supernatural faith for a specific time and purpose to accomplish a certain task. (1 John 5:4, 1 Sam. 17:32)
- The Gifts of Healing: A supernatural impartation of God’s healing power into people who need healing. Many of the other gifts are actively involved as we minster healing to the sick. (Mk. 16:17-18, Lk. 13:11-16)
- The Working of Miracles: A supernatural intervention in the ordinary course of nature. A demonstration of the power of God by which the laws of nature are altered, suspended, or controlled. (John 14:12, Mk. 16:17-18)
What is the Fivefold?
- The term “Five-fold” is not found in the bible. Its scriptural basis is found in Eph. 4:11-13, 1 Cor. 12:28
- However, it is referred to as the five ministry gifts that God gave to the church which include: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, & Teachers.
- They are not gifts to men but Gifts to the church. They are endowed (a quality or ability possessed or inherited by someone), to us only by Jesus Christ.
- They are church ministries that establish a spiritual kingdom government by which churches should function/operate on the earth for the purpose of sustaining a supernatural environment and prioritizing the kingdom agenda.
- They are different from the “Nine-fold” gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has given to each of us mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 12: 7-11. However, they work together. Everyone can have one or more of the “Nine-fold” gifts but not everyone will have a ministry of the “Five-fold” gifts given for the church/ Body.
- The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Ministry Gifts given to the church must work together. The Ministry Gifts cannot operate/function without the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. And while the Gifts of the Holy Spirit can operate without the Ministry Gifts, they operate without a holistic foundation and anointing that comes with the unity and authority of the fivefold ministry.
What Would Happen if the Fivefold arrived at the Scene of a Car Accident?
Ephesians 4:11 tells us that God has anointed some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. Danny Silk (Culture of Honor) describes these fivefold anointing in terms of what each might do at the scene of a car accident (pp.53-55):
The Pastor applies first aid, dispenses blankets and water. He gathers vital sign information, talks to everyone about their emergency contact details and brings a sense of calm to the situation.
The Teacher studies the scene to see what caused the accident and what might be done to ensure accidents like this don’t happen again. The teacher concludes that drivers would benefit from more training and continuing education requirements.
The Evangelist asks everyone “If you were to die as a result of your injuries, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” He speaks to the crowd of onlookers: “There are no guarantees that you will make it home safely. Do you know where you would go?” He then leads people to Christ and trains them to lead others.
The Prophet knew there was going to be an accident because he had a dream about it the previous night. He walks around the crash scene rebuking the spirit of death and calling out the destiny in various people. He discovers who’s in charge of the crash scene and discerns whether this is God’s chosen leader or not. If he finds no one in charge he will appoint a leader.
The Apostle releases the healing touch of God into the scene. He tells testimonies of how he has witnessed the power of God at other accident sites. The faith of the listeners rises and they too begin to pray for healing. The apostle starts a school for those who arrive at car accident scenes and sends them all over the world to do signs and wonders.