Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts – the apostles, part 2.

Class Outline:

Tuesday October 26,2021


The gift of apostle.


Apostolos - literally “one sent forth” (apo = from; stello = to send).


1CO 3:10-11

According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.


God gave mankind a new thing, the beginning of the New Covenant being fulfilled and the church that would receive it. Nothing will thwart the good purpose of God, and God gave apostles who had tremendous power and gifts to ensure a solid foundation, which was Jesus Christ indwelling believers and those believers united in Christ’s love.


The fact that God would establish the greatest manifestation of Himself in the world, which was the church, and that He would do it using men and women who were powerless unless they depended upon Him, gives us another revelation that God has all control and that His plans cannot be overruled.


ISA 46:9-10

I am God, and there is no one like Me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning

And from ancient times things which have not been done,

Saying, 'My purpose will be established,

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';


Apostle was a unique gift, because it seems that in order to receive this gift, one had to meet certain qualifications beyond that of being a believer. This is unique because any other gift was sovereignly bestowed upon the believer.


An apostle had to see Jesus after His resurrection (ACT 1:22), and they had the power to perform miracles (2CO 12:12; HEB 2:3-4).


ACT 1:21-26

"It is therefore necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us —  22 beginning with the baptism of John, until the day that He was taken up from us —  one of these should become a witness with us of His resurrection." 23 And they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.


We do not hear of Matthias again, but that doesn’t prove that he didn’t become an apostle. No one knows.


Regardless, if we read Peter’s words carefully, he actually adds another qualification. We can’t say for certain that Peter’s words mean that this is a true qualification. It would be different if it was God who was speaking. But Peter states that it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that they were with Jesus, even from the time of John the Baptist. Some very good expositors believe that following Jesus from the beginning of His ministry was a second qualification to being an apostle along with witnessing the resurrected Christ.


The obvious problem with that is that Paul would be excluded. Paul did witness the resurrected Christ, but he certainly was not a follower of Jesus until after the resurrection.


Some believe Matthias to be one of the twelve (first/inner group of apostles) and Paul and the rest to be of the second group.


People admired Jesus’ way of speaking with authority, and I know that teaching with authority is more attractive, but when there is a possibility that what you speak is incorrect because the biblical text isn’t clear, it doesn’t call for authority, but caution. It is of my tradition that Matthias was a mistake and Paul was #12. And perhaps that is true, but we cannot know for sure.


But like I said, these “some expositors” are good expositors, and so their solution is that there is a first group of apostles (the twelve that would include Matthias) and a second group which was composed of Paul, Barnabas, James (the Lord’s half-brother), Timothy, Silas, and perhaps some others.


ACT 14:14

But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it


ROM 16:7

Greet Andrónicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.


GAL 1:19

But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.


2CO 8:23

As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers (apostoloi) of the churches, a glory to Christ.


PHI 2:25

But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger [apostolos] and minister to my need;


1TH 2:6

nor did we [Paul, Silas, and Timothy] seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.


The use of the noun or the verb would not necessarily imply possession of the office, and that is why there are varying opinions on these so-called extra apostles.


The reason for apostles: to be the first and foremost leaders and builders of the church.


Israel needed Moses; she needed a leader. But the leader was not alone, for when Moses was unsure, God gave him his brother Aaron. And when Moses was overburdened with being the sole judge of the people, he assigned other God-fearing men to assist him. In Acts we find the apostles working side-by-side with elders. Paul almost always travelled with companions. It upset Paul when the young John-Mark abandoned the group on the first missionary journey. People need authority for order to be kept and to protect the flock from the dangers that would hurt it and divide it.


Apostles were known to be pillars of the church.


EPH 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.


GAL 2:6-9

But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) —  well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.


“reputed” is a Greek word (dokeo) that means to be of a reputation. In English it might seem to cast doubt that they were actual pillars of the church, but this sentence doesn’t. It means that the church in Jerusalem saw these men as pillars, using the metaphor for the church as a building, which is found several other passages.


The apostles built the church by spreading the gospel and teaching the truth. Saved, maturing people make solid churches.