(Part 2 of 3)
The church at Ephesus has been considered a model or a pattern of what the church should be. However, the model is not the message. We should not be preaching a particular model, structure, or method. These things do not build great churches. The power of the Holy Spirit does. Jesus did not come with methods, models, or structure, but with the message and power of the Holy Spirit. Paul came, not with methods, models, or structure, but with the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Many Christians are looking for new methods, models, and structures to solve problems. It’s not God’s will that they seek these things. The Christian needs to look for renewed power. Today, Ephesians 4:11-13 has been made a “doctrine of restoration” of the five ministries that God has set in the church. Why must Jesus restore what He has already set in the church? From the time the church began, and up to approximately the year 1824, there was no talk about the “restoration of the fivefold ministry.” In the last 180 years or so, fresh moves of the Spirit have come, and each time preachers say that this doctrine must be restored because we are in the last days. With each fresh move, this doctrine is repackaged in different forms to fit the times. When the fresh move fades, so does the doctrine. This doctrine has split fellowships and broken up congregations, putting brother against brother. Perhaps we need to reexamine these wonderful gifts and their place in the body of Christ…
APOSTLES LAY THE FOUNDATION… The apostle Paul was an apostle called of God and sent out by the church with authority to confront the kingdom of darkness, the gates of hell. He was also theologically sound and faithful to the faith that was delivered to the saints (See Ephesians 2:20-22 and 1 Corinthians 3:11). The apostles had a clear understanding of the Gospel message, the cross, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The importance of true apostolic foundations cannot be overstated. Laying good foundations is as vital to the church as to any other structure. Even today, New Testament churches are not built upon concepts or theories, but upon Jesus Christ and true apostolic and prophetic ministries.
APOSTLES WERE MEN WITH EXPERIENCE… Paul entered Ephesus and found certain disciples of John the Baptist. They were schooled in John’s teaching of repentance, and baptized with his baptism. Amazingly, they had not heard of Jesus and the world-changing events of His death, burial, and resurrection, nor had they heard of Pentecost. Paul did not simply “take them in” and build them in as members. He led them into receiving Christ, baptizing them in water and in the Holy Spirit. They also experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in prophecy. They experienced spiritual gifts. Then, and only then, did they become part of the foundation of that great church. Many who claim to be apostles in our day have no experience in leading souls to Christ.
APOSTLES HAD A MESSAGE… What did Paul preach? He preached the kingdom of God. The message of the New Testament is not “get saved and go to heaven.” The message is “Jesus Christ is Lord. Christ died for your sins.” We do not “get saved” and then progress to a deeper life where Jesus then becomes our Lord. He is Lord and your Savior the moment that you are born again. The message is “He is Lord. He is the son of God.” When we receive Him as Lord, we are born of the Spirit and are translated into His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). His reign in our lives begins when we are born again. It matters what we preach. John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul all preached the same message, the kingdom of God. The apostle’s task is not to change the message. Their task is to proclaim it faithfully so that those who believe us will be established in the truth.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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