ACCEPTING THE CALL
While ministering at a recent conference, I was asked the age old question: “How do you respond to the statement that you cannot be an apostle unless you have been with the original apostles and have witnessed Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:21)?” This is the scripture that is used by those who believe that there were only twelve apostles, so there cannot be any apostles today. I am afraid that I may not have passed that test because I had never really studied it, so my answer was not very comprehensive. I have known deep in my spirit that the experience I had with Jesus when He called me to this ministry was genuine and always thought that was enough.
For the past two months, I have been meditating on this and speaking with the Lord about it. And then the Lord spoke to me about this all through the night and I now believe I have the answer from the throne of God.
First of all, when reading through the New Testament, I can count at least twenty-seven apostles, so there had to be more than twelve. Secondly, I have no doubt that Paul was an apostle and he was not even a believer when Jesus was crucified. I don’t know if anyone else has written on this because I don’t read many books (Ecclesiastes 12:12). There must be a clear and simple answer that would clear up this constant argument about apostles today.
Here is what the Lord showed me: If you study the first chapter of Acts, you will see an example of the world’s first unsuccessful business meeting. A replacement for Judas was selected (Matthias) and you never hear of this man again.
The original apostles had been rebuked many times by Jesus because they did not understand much of His teaching. Jesus taught them spiritual things and they kept trying to understand by using their carnal minds. Jesus had to keep explaining the meaning of His teaching. Here, in the first chapter of Acts, we see them using their former way of religious thinking when choosing a replacement for Judas. They assumed that there would always be only twelve and used the traditional Jewish method of finding the mind and will of God...by the drawing of lots. They still didn’t get it!
Their entire way of choosing another apostle was not according to the will of God! Jesus intended the apostolic ministry to continue forever and this is why we find so many apostles in the bible. In fact, Jesus intended Judas’ replacement to be Paul!
Jesus chose Paul and it was not by the casting of lots, but by the power of Holy Spirit. We see in the 9th chapter of Acts, that Paul was very powerfully called by Jesus Himself.
All we have to do now is look at scripture to see that they finally got it right. Acts 13:1-3 says, “Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” This is the method by which apostles were chosen and this is the way that continues today. Holy Spirit speaks first to the individual (Acts 9), then it is confirmed by the prophets (Acts 13).
After discovering this simple truth, I asked the Lord, “Why was I not knocked down and blinded as was Paul?” His answer was, “Paul was persecuting christians, and you were already saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I know that Jesus called me to be an apostle, and I know it deep in my spirit and no man can take that from me. My apostolic ministry began in the wilderness, as should every ministry (this is where Jesus’ ministry began). My calling has been tested many times by the Lord Himself. It has also been tried by Satan and the religious community.
Am I perfect? NO. Do I ever make mistakes? YES. Am I an apostle? YES, because I know that I know that I know the voice of the Lord. The Lord has not only tested me but He has confirmed my calling many times. Many may question and doubt the fact that there can be apostles today, but I don’t. Again, I know this in my spirit and I know this is truth.
Were there false apostles in Paul’s day? YES, as there are today, and even those who do not believe there are apostles today believe there are false apostles!
The bottom line of belief is this: You must be born again and filled with the Spirit of God (all seven of them) or you will question and even argue about not only apostles, but prophets as well (even the unbelievers believe there are pastors).
I realize that by writing this letter that some may think that I am just trying to justify my calling as an apostle. In reality, I am justifying the call of all apostles.
DENYING THE CALL
By Apostle Richard Wright
“For many are called, but few are chosen...” (Matthew 22:14)
Those who are chosen are those who will boldly accept the call. There is a renewed trend in the Church today to drop all titles. There are various reasons for this and among them are: 1.) A false humility, 2.) a fear of not being received by man, 3.) an unscriptural belief system, and/or an old religious belief about ministries.
The really strange thing about this is that those who are dropping their scriptural titles are still using titles, but they are unscriptural: Titles like “senior leader”, or “doctor”, or “brother”. The list goes on and just seems like a huge attempt to avoid calling ourselves what Jesus calls us.
If titles are used, in many cases they are not those that describe our calling. Many apostles today are calling themselves “senior pastor” and when asked why, the response is usually “apostle is not accepted”. Not accepted by who? Certainly not by the Lord, so now we have a clear indication of ministries walking in the fear of man.
If you are not calling yourself what Jesus calls you, then you are denying the call of God on your life. You are also robbing the Body of that gift. “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.” (Matthew 10:41)
All through the bible we see that names are very important to the Lord, even to the point that He often changes names to describe the function and calling of individuals.
Matthew 16:15-17, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’”
Notice that Peter (who had the correct answer) did not answer and say, “Yes, I know who you are; You are Jesus.” In fact, His disciples never called Him Jesus, but by titles only. (Remember that titles show function and authority as well as respect.) The title used most by His disciples was that of “teacher”. They also called Him “Lord”, “Master”, etc.
Matthew 26:18, “And He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man, and SAY to him, THE TEACHER SAYS, My time is at hand; I am to keep the passover at your house with My disciples.’” Here we see Jesus instructing His disciples to use a title when speaking of Him to others.
And, speaking of teachers, this seems to be a title rarely used even by those who are using scriptural titles. Titles do not a ministry make, but they are a way to show respect and authority. The use of a title is the only way to receive the full anointing of the ministry you are addressing.
Paul began all of his letters to the churches by calling himself an apostle. He was not ashamed of his calling, nor afraid that he would not be received by anyone.
Why are so many bothered and even upset when biblical titles are used? Christianity will never accept biblical titles until the Church uses them consistently.
Let’s show respect and honor where it is due. Most christians don’t have a problem using titles in the world such as Dr., Congressman, Mr. President, Senator, Mom, Dad, and many others, so what is the problem?
Do not deny your calling by influence from adult peer pressure!
P.S. Reverend, Holy Father and the like are not biblical titles.
AND THE CORRECT ANSWER IS...
By Apostle Richard Wright
There are a great number of messages coming to us today that are warning us of coming tragedy and dark times. There are countless teachings that contradict each other coming from well-known bible teachers. There are common questions about whether five-fold ministries are for today and whether women can speak in church along with questions about eternal salvation and at what point the “rapture” will take place. Then there are the age-old questions like, “Where did Cain’s wife come from?” And, “Why does God let babies die?”; “Why does the bad man get rich and the good man die of cancer?”
We are constantly attempting to understand so many things without a basic comprehension of God Himself. We, many times, attempt to interpret God and His Word without truly knowing Him because we have our priorities backwards. Knowledge of God comes before knowledge of how things work, or even of knowledge of truth.
Moses had questions and wanted to see God’s glory as most christians do today. See what God said about that: “Then Moses said, I pray You, show me Your glory! And He said, I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” (Exodus 33:18-19)
“Then Moses said to God, Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you. Now they may say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM; and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:13-14)
Could the answer be as simple as God’s answer when He was asked who He is? God simply replied, “I AM”. God told Moses, as He would tell any of us today, “I will let you see My goodness.” The word goodness comes from the word “god”, and means Godlikeness.
Knowing God is the answer to all our questions. When we question Him, He will often answer us by stating “I AM”. There are many ministries today who are going back to the old covenant sabbath and worshipping on Saturday. The argument persists, is the sabbath recognized on Saturday or on Sunday? The truthful answer to this is “I AM”. Jesus said, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”. The fourth chapter of Hebrews tells us that under the new covenant, Jesus is our Sabbath seven days a week.
We could almost sum up all that we need to know by stating Psalm 103:1-19: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.”
We must stop questioning God. We must stop arguing over things that only God has the answers to. We must stop praying against things that are happening in our day that have been foretold by the Old Testament prophets that they WILL happen.
HIS SOVEREIGNTY RULES OVER ALL!
HE WILL BE GRACIOUS TO WHOM HE WILL BE GRACIOUS!
HE WILL SHOW COMPASSION ON WHOM HE WILL SHOW COMPASSION!
OUR QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE SHOULD BE FOR MORE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!
It is impossible to know what God is talking about in scripture if you do not first have an intimate relationship with Him. Scripture is spiritually discerned and only spiritually understood!
It is my prayer that this be the year that the Church has a divine revelation of The Father. Knowing Him is all that matters and is our answer for all of our unanswered questions. God, and only God, is the great “I AM”.