Apostolic covering on the other hand needs to move beyond the hierarchy concept and mentality and the goal of raising men unto us as sons, rather than unto God. This is where many of the present apostolic covering ministries and ministers are limited. That false chain and circle must be broken least we will continue to see a mix-up and fall-out of leaders and relationships because things are not in the right order.
Beyond the benefits of the father-son relationship, the goal of apostolic covering is to raise men unto God. Apostolic covering forms Christ in us and in the people. The apostolic function is not to develop relationships to us, but to form Christ in the people. The apostolic goal has never been to establish our own authority over the people, but to establish the Lord’s authority.
“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 4:15).
Another translation of the scripture says ten thousand “boy leaders” in Christ. This kind of “boy leader ministry” is present in the churches today, represented by leaders who are immature in character and unskilled in the word of righteousness. These leaders have not yet come into a family and sonship. They need to find a family and leave the orphan gutters where the spirit of rebellion and bastard rules.
Paul the aged (father) said, “I became your father in the Christian life and in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” The Greek word for “begotten” is translated as “gennao” meaning to procreate (give birth, have children or produce offspring); to regenerate, bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make, spring.
Paul the Apostle as a spiritual father procreated spiritual sons (produced offspring) in Christ Jesus through the gospel. What a profound experience in God! By the declaration and affirmation of the gospel and the mysteries of Christ and His Kingdom, there is a begetting of sons unto the glory of God.
A fundamental value guides the ethos of the family in which the father and son play a principle role. A family is not a family without a father and son. Although ministry is possible in the absence of this relationship, but the breakdown in the procreation process affects the next generation.
“Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance”; he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.” (2 Samuel 18:18NRSV).
Much of what is seen today is the “Absalom’s Monuments” that result from a lack of seed to carry on the legacy created. The significance and impact of any minister or ministry is determined by the legacy that remains. We must develop accurate prophetic prospect that perceives beyond time into the realm of perpetuity and infinity. Leaders should cultivate the desire to build something that will outlast their lifetime.
Accurate perspective on the cross-generational building of God’s Kingdom is vital to the present reformation. May the vision be so great as to require many generations for its fulfillment. Pragmatism, clarity, strategies, and most importantly relationship bring about such legacy.
The father and son relationship is one of a divine exchange and release. It is the source and place where purpose and destinies are recognized, defined, and released to other generation. It helps plant something of spiritual significance, which is deposited in us, so we can become a part of what God is doing through the divine act and working of the Holy Spirit. (Without a spiritual father you can become a part of what God is doing through the divine act and working of the Holy Spirit, as we can see from leaders who are not working in this relationship, but it is obvious that the next generation will suffer the effect of such negligence and spiritual laxity).
I have problems with leaders who are always discerning and scheming with their carnal mind what God is doing. They become critical and reproachful towards the present restoration truths, methods and apostolic terminology that are developing. We need to get rid of this unskillful and maladroit mentality and begin to walk in the Spirit, learning to applaud and encourage the good works in what we are seeing. Some leaders and ministries have gone off the edge and have failed in their ways, their methods and principle implementation as a result of one reason or the other; but we should be very careful in the way that we speak publicly and think about them, least we ourselves fall into the same situation.
Kingdom Purpose in the Earth:
South Africa has one of the highest recorded HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. This has resulted from the lack of natural fathers to bring support and direction to their offspring. The present government has not been able to contain or manage the problem. The solution is not just the distribution of condoms and choices to abstain, but the standard and principle of fatherhood to disciple sons in morality, must be raised up. Fatherhood is essential and foundational to nation building and the Church has a responsibility in this season. We must awake to the call.
As we go through a season of paradigm shift in our structures and ways of operation in God, we must recognize that God is connecting us into a family. God establishes family, and governmental order flows as we submit to the family authority. Our part in the family is not a matter of personal choice, but God divinely ordains it. We must find and connect ourselves with a spiritual family as we submit under authority. We cannot for flimsy excuses choose to disassociate ourselves or search for other relationships that we want or feel comfortable in. Proper relationship with the Body of Christ is needed to function generationally.
Jacob’s family is a prototype of God’s family, the Church. 12 sons of Jacob = 12 tribes of Israel. Twelve is the divine number of governmental order.
When order is established in a family, the authority of God flows and it brings us into the fulfillment of our destiny and inheritance in God as sons in His Kingdom.
Division has come as some sons have sold part of the house (the Church). As in the Old Testament, the Spirit of Joseph must rise up within. It will bring the brethren together in unity and cause them to have an inheritance in the land.
True sons bear the father’s reproach and legitimate sons faithfully planted in the house heed correction. However, sons ought not expose the nakedness of the father lest a curse is brought upon their seed (Genesis 9:19-26).
The father imparts vision to the son. The son must understand the heartbeat of God in the father’s vision and seek to advance that vision. To benefit from true apostolic fathers, we must first be true sons loyal to the vision and message of the father.
All ministries benefit from coming under apostolic covering and from becoming exposed to the apostles’ doctrine. Those who faithfully follow their father will have the word of their father abiding in them. We cannot be a son and not carry the word our father carries. As spiritual positions and truths become established, leaders receive a vision of the house. It is important that we raise up those who seek to promote the vision for the establishment of God’s Kingdom and purpose in the earth rather than men who seek to take our position.
Honour and Obedience:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;” (Ephesians 6:1-2).
True sons obey and honour their spiritual father, as both obedience and honour are important. True honour recognizes those responsible for the discovery of our significant purpose and season. A spiritual father continues to redefine the son’s history and to define his future.
Sons know and respond to the voice of their spiritual father. There is clarity in the spirit that speaks in the father-son relationship. The voice of a stranger is not entertained.
Our relationship with a spiritual father reflects our relationship with Father God, and God tests our hearts in covenant father and son relationship on earth. Faithfulness and submission to a spiritual father indicate how one’s relationship with God is guarded and esteemed. Authority and headship in each family and household is established by God’s divine order.
We should not make the Church a spiritual orphanage to keep the saints and restrict them, but we should release the saints to do the work of the ministry. Releasing the saints gives room for development and maturity, but first there must be an adoption into a family that God has ordained for us.
Training and Discipleship:
The time has come for apostolic fathers to disciple and raise up a new generation of apostles. True sons and leaders must go through apostolic discipleship training, as a true disciple is a convinced adherent follower of the grace of an apostle. He accepts and helps spread the apostolic message. We cannot be disciples of the Lord except we have been discipled first by the word through the set order of authority that God has put in place over our life and ministry.
It is important to note that the 12 apostles of the Lamb were first disciples of the Lord, before they were commissioned into apostleship. First disciples, then apostles! The Lord Jesus Christ initially sent out the disciples to preach the good news of the Kingdom (Matthew 10). Prior to this, they were called ‘Disciples’, but they are immediately called ‘Apostles’ in the next verse, where they are appointed and sent out by the Lord. We cannot be called apostles unless there is a clear call and evidence of the Lord sending us out for this purpose.
Though the calling has been ordained before birth, yet it is a process of development where we grow and mature fully into the office to function. We cannot undermine the process of discipleship. One of the leadership problems that is being identified is that we are having untrained and undeveloped leaders running the business. These are boy-leaders that cannot run the business of the father, but the spirit of the present jet age is producing immature ministries and making a wreck of it. We need to be patient and go through the process of training, preparation and development (discipleship). The question is how long are we willing to sit and serve until we are released by our father in a proper manner, so we can raise our own family?
God desires to release leaders who are prepared, equipped and mature to fulfill His purpose. After all, Jesus prepared thirty years for a three and a half year ministry, with eternal impact! This ministry is felt until this day.
We need to understand the process of preparation for Moses at the backside of the desert until there is an encounter to release us. Sometimes we expose ourselves before our time; for this reason God is calling some leaders back into “boot camp” for proper equipping and preparation. God wants to thrust out prepared, equipped and matured ministry and leaders to fulfill His purpose. There is a company of people the Lord has sovereignly kept in the enemy’s camp; He is now bringing them out like Moses was brought out from Egypt.
True sons embrace apostolic discipleship and the time for apostolic fathers to disciple and raise up a new generation of apostles is come. Apostles are fathers in the family of God. Grace is released when we receive an apostolic father as this helps the son locate a place of identity in the family of God. Obedience to God’s voice will result in promotion. The time to tune our ears to hear the voice of spiritual fathers is come.
Apostles are fathers in the family of God. Grace is released when we receive an apostolic father because this helps us to come to a place of identity to prove that we belong to a family of God. The approval and acceptance of an Apostolic Father results in a closer relationship with God, as they are key leaders who have a unique grace from God, and when we receive them, we are receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father.
“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)
The eternal zoe of God flows from our relationship with our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are going to see a progression and continuity of our ministry, we must walk in sonship and prepare ourselves to be fathers who are matured enough to pass on the heritage that will bring maturity and perfection to the Church. We must walk in sonship and come up to a place of fatherhood in bringing forth matured sons to carry on the legacy. We are not to remain sons who are immature, but we are to develop and grow into fatherhood so we can reproduce sons as well, and raise up our own family. This is one of the goals.
God prepares both father and son to function in their call. Those who walk in sonship prepare also to be a father and pass on the heritage. This attitude will bring maturity and perfection to the Church.
We do not enter and walk in sonship merely by anyone laying hands upon our head. It is not an initiation that is done by any man. Sonship is a unique relationship that we step into with our spiritual father, but more importantly with God. It is a progression from being a servant to becoming a son. Sons receive their inheritance! It is a place of maturity as we walk towards perfection. There is indeed an impartation through the laying on of hands and receiving prayers, but the spirit of illegitimacy and a bastard is only removed when we come into relationship with one who is walking in the Spirit and grace of sonship, who can then release us into that experience and walk with God.
“And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Mark 9:7)
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
There is a divine acceptance when we walk in sonship. The purpose of apostolic fathering and walking in sonship is not to raise up a kingdom cult of sons unto a man as we see today in many apostolic networks and denominations, but it is unto God. It is a wrong apostolic concept to raise others unto ourselves, without releasing them unto God. There is falsity in drawing others to ourselves. Apostles are not called to advance and promote self-kingdom, but to advance the government of God’s Kingdom. Apostles are called to advance God’s Kingdom in the earth. Released sons are able to raise seeds (sons) in the earth.
The whole goal and model for the family of God is to give identity and an inheritance to sons in the ministry through a relationship with a spiritual apostolic father, and the father (apostle) does not simply raise sons unto himself, but he releases the matured sons who comes into fatherhood themselves, and they are able to raise seeds (sons) themselves as a family. It is a circle of the reproduction of the sons of God in the earth.
“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory ….” (Hebrews 2:10)
Not all spiritual fathers are apostles, but all “mature apostles” are fathers. Sons grow into fatherhood and every father is first a son. This is a cycle of responsibility, submission to authority and divine order. If our view of fatherhood is perverted, our purpose will be ruined. No wonder this relationship is so important: undermined fatherhood undermines Kingdom purpose. May each son faithfully serve until released by his spiritual father. May each father develop and release his spiritual son into the call.
The work of the Kingdom will involve activation and release of each member of the body to fulfill God’s call. Grace is upon the five-fold ministry and a releasing spirit is characteristic of apostolic grace in the house.
The fact is that people must be released into the ministry, and there must be a proper order of release. The proper order of release ensures that the blessing of the father goes with the son. Apostolic releasing produces growth and the continuation of godly heritage, but very few local pastors want to hear of someone leaving the ministry for other assignments, even though there is a clear word for this direction. Sons are mandated to receive their inheritance! Those who walk in this restored truth receive an impartation of grace, which strengthens and stabilize the system of family in the earth.
In this new season, those who desire and choose to hear God’s voice and be obedient to walk in present truth will move to the next level.
These are spiritual times to change and to tune our ears to hear the voice of true fathers and not listen to the voice of strangers, because there are many successful leaders who are parading themselves in the institution of the Church as fathers, yet they lack the true grace and presence of God as spiritual fathers. It is important to therefore note the admonition of Paul the apostle, that there are few fathers (1 Corinthians 4:14-15).
Though there are many “senior leaders” in the vineyard of the Lord who have laboured and there is a great measure of success (harvest) in their work, yet many are not walking in sonship; and this is where many are failing, because they are not able to pass on the legacy to the next generation. These leaders must be adopted (embraced, accepted and approved) as sons by matured and spiritual apostolic fathers for a season in order to break-off the limitations and impart the Spirit of adoption into sonship, and then they can be released to raise up a family and reproduce after their kind in the true Spirit of sonship. When we do this, we will then begin to discover that there is a spiritual depth and measure of grace that is unlocked when we walk in true sonship. Sons are mandated to receive their inheritance!
The success of our ministry is measured by the impact we have made in reproducing others who are true sons who can carry on the heritage of the family to the next generation. The yardstick for measuring our success has nothing to do with the structures and the monuments that we have raised up or the numbers and miracles that we have recorded. These are good reports, but the best part and ultimate goal is to raise up seeds (spiritual sons) that will carry on the heritage.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6).
“I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” (Song of Solomon 1:5-6).
It is so disappointing to hear and see how many leaders neglect their call and responsibility at home and over their natural family, but seek to lead. This has resulted in broken homes, and so many families facing strong opposition from the enemy. Ministry should not substitute the place of family. Our first priority and ministry should be to God and our family, before any other responsibility.
Let it not be that we have been made keepers of the vineyard while our own vineyard have we not kept and it stands in disarray. The house must be put in order. Leadership is a call that begins at home. Our ability to bear and minister the able word of God will be tested by our ability to order our house after God’s will and purpose.
“(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:5).
I’m sorry to say, the Church today is having a substitute gospel and message to condone divorce and remarriage in the Kingdom. It is sad to know that there is more divorce and remarriage taking place in the Church and among ministers than the world. We need to put the house of God in order and remove every filthiness from His alter.
God’s perfect plan gives priority to Him, to family and then to ministry. God designed the family system. He designed marriage and the intimacy of that relationship. He designed the father-son relationship. Wisdom for all of these relationships is available (James 1:5).
Restoring the Wounded & Falling:
“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27).
There are many wounded and falling leaders in the house of God and in the ministry, but our attitude towards these leaders has always been that of laughter, mockery and condemnation. The reason is that there have not been true fathers to bring covering and support to these leaders, and most of them have no place of refuge, renewal and reinstatement.
In the midst of this, there are many wounded and fallen ministries and ministers that God is restoring and placing a new mandate upon them – charging them with a new commission. God loves to take these rejects and make them trophies of His grace. We must understand that only by His grace we stand.
The Church is the only institution and militant army that kills its wounded. We shoot them dead. Die We Say! We find pleasure in scorning and being amused by wounded and fallen leaders in the Kingdom. The restoration of true fathers in the Kingdom will bring a righteous, sympathetic and supportive heart to bind the wounded and take them through the process of healing and restoration, and then reinstate them back into the forefront of ministry as able ministers of the Kingdom. “Live and Not Die” will become our emblem.
Neither sinful actions nor attitudes of judgement, mockery and condemnation are condoned. God alone knows each person’s vulnerabilities and limitations. Our self-indulgent and immoral characters have brought about much falling and wounding in the field, but I believe these wounded ones can be restored, and the best way is not to speak publicly of their weakness, thus exposing their infidelity or weak spot as this does not in anyway build the Kingdom of God; it only gives room for discouragement, and it brings a great hindrance to the Body of Christ.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12).
God is the one who heals and restores. A new mandate and commission upon these leaders brings forth trophies of His grace. It is by His grace that we all stand.
We all have our own personal weak spots and limitations, and we are all vulnerable. However, we need to possess a quality Kingdom lifestyle that will impart, influence and build others positively and not obliterate them. This requires maturity in apostolic leadership. Maturity in apostolic leadership will positively influence and build the church.
One of the responsibilities for apostolic fathers is to provide a place of safety for the sons. Restoration of true fathers in the Kingdom will birth the heart that binds the wounded. True fathers cover and support these wounded and fallen leaders and provide a place of refuge, renewal and appropriate reinstatement.
Biblical order in God’s word acknowledges the shepherd and oversight of a local church as the spiritual father in that house. He is the set-man who serves as the overseer. Believers established in the Church look to him as their primary source of spiritual impartation and support. Other apostles and ministry gifts should help affirm this and promote the support and honoring of the set-man in his house and among his family. The end result is the cooperate development of the saints to all rise to their full potential and purpose in Christ to fulfill His purpose for us.
Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe
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