The Body of Christ is undergoing structural adjustment in order to fulfill her prophetic destiny. God is anointing a new order of ministry and leadership to accurately complete His mandate. God has begun to restore the five-fold ministry gifts. Confirmation of the call, character development and maturity accompany this restoration. The pursuit of titles, however, reflects a carnal nature and the manifestation of the spirit of pride. A title alone is of no benefit to any in the service of the Kingdom. The reality of the matter is that the present existing structure may not receive the approval of God’s choice due to changes and adjustment, and this should not deter us from reaching the ‘yet-to-manifest’.
Over the past years there has been a wave of titles that have flooded the Body of Christ as God begins to bring restoration of ministry gifts. When there was no clear revelation of the apostolic and prophetic ministry, everyone settled for being a “Pastor” as that seems to be the highest form of ministry title; but as years went by with the invasion of the institutional bishopric titles and the restoration of the prophetic ministry, many began to change their titles from being Pastors to Prophets and then to Bishops. With the present restoration of the apostolic ministry, there are those who are running after the “Apostle” as a new title of authority. It speaks of our lack of maturity and ignorance to our true calling and identity of who we really are. We need to discover our true ministry gift and calling and remain settled in there. We should beware of the “title waves” and focus more on building our character.
According to Ephesians 4:7-11, apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers are not titles, but describe the function of God’s grace upon a man. It is an order of ministry and job description.
Most of our titles are a reflection of our carnal nature and the manifestation of the spirit of pride and arrogance within us that has not yet been harnessed. If we seek and pursue the grace of God with the same tenacity with which we pursue and seek our titles, think how greatly the Kingdom would benefit! Sorry to say, I hope I am not too arrogant to declare that our ecclesiastical order and pattern of Bishopric we carry means nothing to God when we are not functioning accurately with His will. We need to reconsider who bishops are; how they are elected and their functions.
Let us consider the office and function of a bishop. Bishop comes from the Greek word “episkopos”, which is translated to mean an overseer, a superintendent or officer in general charge of a church. Scripture refers to a bishop as an elder that oversees a local church. The office of a bishop is based on his leadership character and he is identified and set in place by an apostle. He might be chosen and appointed for leadership in the local church by an apostle. This means that if he breaks the rules, the apostolic oversight of the local church can bring discipline and correction. A leader that oversees a local church is a bishop by biblical function. The concept of a bishop as head of the Church does not align with biblical understanding. A bishop is not necessarily one who has many churches under him or who has planted churches, as taught by the institutional church. A bishop is anyone who has an oversight over a local assembly. However, some bishops are called to be apostles and transition from a bishop by title and position to an apostle by function is necessary.
Those who have self-proclaimed titles and ministry do not have the grace of God’s call upon their lives.
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
“To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:4-9).
Leadership structure must change in the present reformation. Beyond the “position of titles” is a “place of function” and manifest grace. To function without titles is better than title without function. It is not about earning a place among the big names or cliques, but to manifest the grace. Gifts rather than positions are needed in the Church. These gifts are in the saints and must be released.
We must be knowledgeable of the fact that not all who claim apostleship are true apostles. God is not calling His Church to become apostles, but to become apostolic in nature and to recognize true apostles and give them the privilege of taking their rightful place to function. We must give them our support and resources to fulfill the Kingdom mandate.
The apostolic reformation does not on the other hand advocate that ‘Pastors’ should step aside from their pastoral function and precedence, but they need to retool for an apostolic pattern in order to receive an assimilation and incorporation of the present apostolic and prophetic grace to the Church.
Every call and gift has limitations, and we should not step beyond our sphere and calling. As leaders, we should not go beyond our anointing and grace in doing things we are not called to do. We need to identify our gift and remain in it. Let’s not violate the spiritual principle like Saul who was a king, but took upon himself the priestly office to offer the sacrifice because of fear and impatience (1 Samuel 13:8-14).
There must be militant assertiveness regarding the advancement of the Kingdom of God. There must be a reformation, the birthing of a revolution that will change the present order. This is not a “Jihad” of handling the natural sword to eliminate lives, but the handling of a spiritual sword (the word of God).
A Revolution Must Begin Now! Let the Church be persistent in fulfilling her commission to build a place of rest and dwelling for our God. Despite the difficulties and chaotic state of the Church with false religion and the slide into apostasy, let’s determine that we go on resolutely with the reformation of Kingdom establishment in the earth.
As the book of Genesis reveal, man lived and experienced the Kingdom of God before there was ever a devil in the garden. There was absolute peace, beauty and righteousness in the earth. The present reformation is to bring the earth back to that original order and form of Kingdom rule and dominion; and for this to happen, every enemy and adversaries must be ousted or put under subjection. This is part of the assignment of the Church, bringing a restitution (reformation) of all things in the earth. The present apostolic reformation will have the ability to affect the world socially and economically.
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, a s pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” (Hebrews 9:8-10).
The first tabernacle served the purpose of the time. It did not achieve the ultimate purpose of God because it was only a shadow of that which is to come. The present apostolic reformation will bring about the establishment of the purpose of God.
The Greek word for “reformation” is “diorthosis” which means to raise or to restore what was fallen down, or to put a thing back to a right condition. Reformation is a process of restoration to an original form. Certain things are temporal, made to function until the entrance of another order. Reformation is a system to help establish what ought to be.
God designed previous moves (Pentecostal and Charismatic) for a season, until now (the time of reformation). The Pentecostal and Charismatic moves introduced the present reformation, now the cloud has moved beyond these seasons to a new place in God where the Church needs revelation to recognize the season of His Kingdom which is upon it. And so God is bringing reformation to reveal His Kingdom purpose not only to the Church but also to the nations of the earth.
The apostolic reformation is a product of the gospel of the Kingdom. Although multitudes have received salvation, yet nations have not been changed by the gospel of going to heaven and the rapture mentality. Thousands of churches are planted each year and there are gatherings of millions in Africa and other continents; plus breakthroughs of revival across nations. Yet there has been no lasting influence of change. The same old gospel is unprofitable, because it produces the same old results. There must be a fresh revelation and understanding of the gospel of the Kingdom in order to see a lasting change. If the ministry and the message do not change the earth then it is not Kingdom.
When we bear this gospel of the Kingdom, we become reformers of the Kingdom and we are able to advocate a radical change in all affairs and spheres of life. Radical change and revolution must break forth across the earth! Authentic reformation produces the purpose of God. It will build God’s Kingdom. It will bring transformation, transition and a birthing from the womb of God. It will bring us back to the original discourse. It will bring us to the place where we receive our promise of eternal inheritance in God.
Apostolic Proclamation & Demonstration:
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8).
The present apostolic reformation appears to emphasize more on revelations rather than manifesting and demonstrating of God’s power. The unveiling of the revelation of God must be confirmed by the demonstration of God’s power. The present move of God will be characterized by the power of God, signs, wonders and miracles confirming the word. The pattern of true apostolic ministry is the proclamation of the Word and the demonstration of the Spirit and Power of God.
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
We should not be a big mouth minister with much information that lacks the demonstration of the power and Spirit of God. This type of information is just mere information. The present apostolic reformation must produce the power of God in the earth, so that the faith of the people rests in Him. It is essential in this time of global harvest that the power of God manifests through miracles, signs and wonders. In his book “Join This Chariot”, T. L. Osborn noted that, “Christianity without miracles cannot prove that Jesus Christ is alive. Take miracles out of Christianity and all you have left is another lifeless religion”.
“….many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43b).
Apostolic ministries are called to demonstrate the Kingdom of God with power and signs. This important part of ministry models the Kingdom of God in the earth as proof of the authority of the gospel.
“I will not talk about anything except what Christ has done through me in leading those who are not Jews to obey God. They have obeyed God because of what I have said and done, because of the power of miracles and the great things they saw, and because of the power of the Holy Spirit. I preached the Good News from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, and so I have finished that part of my work.” (Romans 15:18-19 New Century Version).
“The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles”. (2 Corinthians 12:12).
One of the reasons there is lack of faith and acceptance in some of the apostolic ministries is because of the lack of power and demonstration of the Spirit and word. This has resulted in others going to seek for mediums and witchdoctors. Believers and the heathen have looked to Egypt to meet their needs as a result.
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”. (1 Corinthians 4:20).
The apostolic mandate is to communicate revelation and bring demonstration of the power of the Kingdom of God in the earth. The Church must function in power. As the apostolic order is restored, the activation of creative and life-giving apostolic power will release God’s will on earth.
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” (Acts 5:12-16).
One of the traits of the apostolic ministry needed in the Body of Christ is the power of God for great signs and wonders. We, the church, need this!
Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe
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