The Signs of Apostolic Ministry
Paul the Apostle has been called the greatest man next to Christ to ever walk the earth. The impact of his ministry is still being felt, tasted and taught today. He is the writer of most of the New Testament. He met the Risen Christ personally and received a call to ministry directly from heaven. He planted churches, performed miracles, gathered huge crowds and endured some of the most horrific circumstances and situations a man could ever imagine. And he viewed these as a sign of his Apostolic ministry.
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands.When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted,we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. 1 Corinthians 4:8 - 13
Yes, hardship, persecution and trouble according to Paul (Spirit of God who inspired the infallible, without error Word of God - the Holy Scripture), are a sign and evidence of the nature of his apostolic call and ministry.
A bit different than we here in the West ascribe to such an important ministry office.
Apostle or not, let me tell you now, if you serve Christ, not everyone is going to like you. You're not going to be popular with everyone if your uncompromising in your walk with God. Jesus promised you blessing, yes. And with the blessing, persecution.
"Truly I tell you," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--along with persecutions-and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:29 - 30
When God moves in your life, some will rejoice with you. Others will take out their swords and clubs verbally and maybe physically and seek to destroy you.
I know from experience - attacked by and from other misguided believers, who as Christ taught us knew not what they were doing. Father, forgive them.
But, no weapon formed against you will prosper. You will refute every tongue that condemns you. You will be led in triumph.
We think of mailing lists, multi-million dollar budgets and meetings with dignitaries as a sign of the Apostolic ministry today and that we must be moving in the will of God. And hey - there is nothing wrong with these things, but the truth is if we are living and preaching the truth of the Gospel there is going to be backlash and persecution along with it, and that's OK.
You'll be rewarded for it and you will overcome it. It's still good news. But let's not be ignorant either.
When light invades darkness it's going to make an impact and create a stir.
Oh that was a different time, you might say. I couldn't disagree more. People are people and the truth of God's word doesn't change based on your experience. It speaks for itself. Are you listening?