The Spirit of God is brooding over the Church in this hour, desiring to impregnate us with a fresh revelation of the fullness of God and His purposes. This indeed is a defining moment in the Kingdom of God. It is a strategic time, a kairos moment. God wants to declare His decree and release understanding of the government of His Kingdom. This understanding will bring a leader-shift – a transition that will shake the foundations and prepare us for the Glory to be revealed. Everything built apart from God’s proper foundation must be rebuilt or it will crumble. Things must be built according to God’s pattern as revealed.
“This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;” (Hebrews 12:27-28 – NAS 1995 Edition).
John the Baptist preached the Kingdom of God and he was indeed the bearer of this news. Yet he could not make the transition from the old order into the new, because he did not accurately understand the fullness of the Kingdom, neither did he receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He saw and declared it, but he did not enter or experience it. Moses saw the Promised Land, but could not enter it. Except we guide ourselves carefully to receive all that the Lord has purposed for us, we can fall short also.
“And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:33-37).
“Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:25-30).
Careful study of the scriptures makes us to understand that the primary mission of John the Baptist was to reveal the Messiah to the people. John fulfilled this mission when he declared, ‘Behold the Lamb of God’. Nevertheless he continued with his ministry, preaching, baptizing and making disciples when he and his disciples ought to have become followers of Jesus. As a result of this we continually hear of John’s Disciples.
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15).
According to the scripture verses above, Jesus did not begin public ministry while John was preaching and baptizing. Jesus began ministering after He heard John was put into prison. Could it be that in order to make way for Jesus’ ministry, John was imprisoned? Just something to think about!
“I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.” (Jeremiah 8:6-8).
Times of transition are seasons of maturity that we proceed through when God begins to prepare us for His purpose. Transition requires adjustment. To be progressive in life and in the things of God, we must transition into the things the Lord is saying and doing. The primary focus of God’s move is to shift us from worldly and traditional church practices to His Kingdom purpose.
Paradigm shifts in general are fraught with acute conflicts between the old and the new, the emerging model, strategy or reformation. True transition succeeds when a voluntary shift takes place, rather than a forced or reactive shift from a crisis point. Let us not be driven by external force that challenges our patterns and structures. Instead, let the stirring of God’s Spirit within be the internal logics of its development mechanisms and the catalyst. Whether we are prepared or we realize it or not, reformation is taking place in the house of God and we must all press into God to receive for this hour.
In both our relationship with God and our involvement in Kingdom activities, we should not be guided by our emotions or experiences, but by the illuminations of our spiritual intellect through the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Intellect is the power of knowing “to understand”, the capacity for thought. Transition involves an intellectual process. Our intellect must be engaged and given to learning, thinking, study and research.
Leaders who claim to know the season they are living in because of their Pentecostal experience and the measure of word they have, are likened to the people of God who claimed to be wise because the law of the LORD was with them. Jeremiah the prophet lamented, ‘Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain’ Because of this, he began to compare the people of God with the dove, the swift, the thrush and the stork who knows their appointed seasons and times of their migration, yet God’s people could not discern the appointed season and time of transition.
“Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.” ‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?” (Jeremiah 8:7-8 NIV).
The present apostolic ministry and reformation requires change in the Body of Christ to align to the true and authentic purposes of God. The required change is a migration from a “pastoral mentality” to an “apostolic dimension, teachings and doctrines”. It is important to recognize that the Church is not about us but is about God and His purpose, and on that basis, we can allow God to work in and through us as He begins to perfect things in us.
Authentic apostolic ministry brings reconfiguration of mindsets to receive that which God is declaring now concerning His Kingdom purpose. It is the duty of every leader to find and walk in their true calling. This requires that leaders must migrate towards an apostolic paradigm of ministry in order to bring blessing and establishment to the Church.
Congregations have been taught and foundations have been built upon certain eschatological theories, theories proven wrong when authentic apostolic and prophetic theology and declarations are brought forth. What can be said to the congregation? Flexibility and humility are required to approach the matter and wisely present it to the Church. It is right to stand before the people to declare that we were wrong, although at the time we thought it to be the truth.
The goal and purpose of transition into an apostolic culture must be shared with the people, so that the core ideology, values, principles and plan of God for the Church will be clearly articulated and they can understand the new season and revelation of God they are coming into. From these ideals will come the philosophy that will accurately epitomize and characterize the values, goals and attitudes of the Kingdom in that local assembly. The result will be a successful transition and a complete change into the new season of God.
An apostolic leader once said, “To penetrate the existing “church-based operating system” requires grace, divine strategy, and pragmatic means and ways to convert those who are bound in the darkness of the Christian religion and to rebuild local churches that accurately represent New Testament community”.
Accurate Kingdom culture and the way of life and perspective are not operational within the old existing religious church patterns and systems. The process of transition will bring a structural adjustment in the mindsets of the people and this will need an impartation from authentic apostolic and prophetic leaders to assist the Church make a successful transition, lest we fail and bring a total destruction of this process.
To receive the authentic and refuse the false, each local assembly must be taught about apostolic and prophetic ministries, as well as the other five-fold ministry gifts, because many are out there parading and claiming apostleship.
Leaders can delay and hinder the transition of the people for a season, but they will eventually come to the knowledge of truth and the confrontation may be greater as a result. As we make the transition from pastoral priorities to apostolic reformation, the local Church must realign to walk in an apostolic mentality and measurement capable of advancing the sovereignty of God in the earth. The entire framework and perspective of the apostolic transition and reformation is based upon the principle of alignment.
Note well, apostolic and prophetic grace can be accessed through visitation of a true apostle or prophet to the local church to impart the anointing and present truth. The leadership of the local church can also receive this impartation through attendance at an apostolic and prophetic gathering. It is imperative that we continually fellowship with those of like vision so we can upgrade.
Graham Cook states in his book, “A Divine Confrontation”:
“In transition we will need friends from outside who can provide objective support and care. We also need access to people who understand transition and process. In transition, we are re-digging the foundation of the Church so that the Lord can erect a bigger building and release a greater dynamic of corporate power and identity. The only people who can really help us now are apostles and prophets. They are foundational ministers.
It is inevitable in transition that our structures are going to change. New paradigms need to form as God delivers us from being stereotype to a prototype Church. Changes must come. We need prophetic insight and apostolic strategy combining together to redevelop the foundation and structure of the work.…by teaching, advice, prophecy and impartation they can furnish the building blocks to enable us to bridge the gap between where we are now and where we aspire to be.
The combined resources of apostles and prophets will bring us to the place in God where there is a release in the Spirit realm”
The transition of those with Pentecostal heritage, rooted in orthodox theological background and training can be difficult. Years of labour, studies, acquired knowledge and understanding are rendered inaccurate by the apostolic reformation that is unveiling present truths.
Attempts can be made to ensure the status quo by resistance to the apostolic reformation and faulting it with theological and eschatological revelations and understandings. Yet the demand for a fresh beginning with God through the process of reformation is evident.
Indeed, successful transition is by submission to one who has been well discipled in the Kingdom and in the apostolic and prophetic ministry. Our relationship with an apostolic leader and ministry will bring an impartation of the dimension of apostolic grace into our lives and ministry.
Access to the apostolic and prophetic anointing is granted by relationship. There must be a covenant connection to receive the apostolic grace and the prophetic dimension. A constant liaison with apostolic and prophetic ministries is needed to ensure a continual flow of the apostolic and the prophetic anointing. Grace is locked within the gifts of the apostles and prophets. To effectively mine and draw from the apostolic and prophetic grace requires that we receive and give into the apostolic and prophetic ministry.
Like “Saul” who later became “Paul”, we need to be knocked off our donkey and sent to the house of Ananias, so we can be told all things which are appointed unto us for the Kingdom. Sometimes we pursue the wrong things. We need an encounter with God that will knock us off our religious donkey of false doctrines, popular mindsets and beliefs. There must be the application of the Kingdom principle of falling upon the rock or the rock falling upon us.
“Jesus saith unto them, …. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:42-44).
It is very important that we do not position and lock ourselves outside the purpose of God because of what we think we know, but position ourselves into the truth that can be biblically proven as an authentic word. What we think we know can be a hindrance to the truth.
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Hebrews 6:1-3).
The Greek word “perfection” comes from the word “teleiotes”, which means a completer, consummater or finisher. Leaving the realm of elementary principles and moving higher into the “perfect realm”.
The Greek word “leave” comes from the word “aphiemi” which is translated to mean lay aside, yield up or to let go. Let us go onto a place of completion. To advance to a higher level of understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, we must lay aside every elementary Christian doctrines and move on to a higher dimension in the mysteries of God in order to come to a place of maturity and completeness in finishing the purposes of God.
Those established in the foundational doctrine and have become acquainted with the past moves should not linger there, but go on to higher levels of attainment in the mysteries and revelations of Christ. Those who refuse to make the transition will recede into apostasy because we become so resistant in the process of advancing.
The process of transition into a kingdom culture and the migration into an apostolic dimension can be hindered by past experiences. We must ensure that we go through the developmental process until we come to the fulfillment of God’s purpose. This is not a micro-wave system. Apostolic transitioning into the Kingdom age is not automatic. It is a process where the character, ethics, principles and mentalities of the Kingdom of God are formed within us. This is not an instant transformation. Though we are born again in one moment into the Kingdom, it takes time to develop Godly character and purpose.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Philippians 3:7-10).
The essence of our Christianity and walk with God is to know Him. The goal and purpose of God through the process of transition is to bring us to a foundational covenant relationship with Him. Through relationship, we become instruments of provision and access through which others might experience God. Our relationship with God is not centered on an event. A life of false expectations is created when we look to an event for that which can only come by a process.
Keys to Making Transition:
A transition ought not to be made without first understanding the values of that transition we are coming into. When these values are understood, “fear of the unknown” is conquered by a step of faith. Fear keeps us out of our ministry and destiny in God. There must be a company of those that must respond to the message of the Kingdom and walk in it.
Key #1: Develop Relationship By Yoking Into The Family God Has Placed Us.
The Body, the family the Lord has placed us in is the primary source of our spiritual impartation. For believers, it is the local assembly, the local church. For leaders, it can be the network of spiritual family that provides oversight or a spiritual father in the ministry.
It is not only the name we bear that makes us a part of a family. There are other qualities and characteristics that qualify one as a true member of that household:
A. Receipt and understanding of the vision of the house.
B. Commitment to the ministry and teachings of the house.
C. Recognition and submission to the father/leadership of the house.
Impartation comes by our act of submission to receive from those whom God has placed over us. The Church cannot go beyond where the leaders take them. As leaders, we cannot give that which we do not possess. We cannot take the people of God beyond our own present level. This places a demand upon each leader to continually progress and upgrade in technology, so we can lead the people of God into new and higher levels. This also requires transparency and freedom from greed and spiritual abuse of God’s gifts and people as they submit to leadership authority.
Much of the impartation of the grace and revelation of God upon my life and ministry has been by the result of my submission to learn, receive and be discipled by apostolic leaders. As I minister in different places, many acknowledge the grace of God upon my life. I am asked about the bible school I attended and how I received the revelation from which I minister. It is not about the bible school I attended, because I have never attended one, it is evidence of the impartation of grace to me through years of submission and relationship as God was dealing with me.
The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher, but there are certain truths that remain hidden until we submit ourselves to be discipled by the Spirit through the means of a human vessel. It is neither the title we hold nor the years of faith or our leadership role, but God has sovereignly planned access to the next level by our act of humility and submission to receive from others. There is a need for spiritual fathers who are apostolic in nature, who have a revelation of the mysteries of Christ and His Kingdom to disciple others so they can impart to them spiritual depths.
God works through processes and principles as we recognize His purposes. The process of our transition and progression in the restoration of God will largely be determined by the measure of our relationship with an apostolic family. The apostolic family is not the source of revelation. The Holy Spirit is the source. The family becomes the primary channel and creates stability and systematic growth in the present truths of God.
Key #2: Be Focused.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;” (Matthew 6:33a).
Men of focus see beyond the limitations and press on for the fullness of God’s purpose. Our focus will affect our desire. Where there is a total focus, there is a total desire. It is very important to be focused and committed to the direction and leading of the Lord.
“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:1-3).
“And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:” (Numbers 11:4-5).
There is no stability in the process of transition when the focus is to look back to where God has brought us. The result of this instability is unfruitfulness because we will not be able to enter into our eternal inheritance in God or accomplish the purposes of God for our lives and ministry. Rest assured, where we have been cannot be compared to where God is taking us.
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17-18).
The way of the wilderness was the choice of God. Let us explore the purpose of God for this. God led the people through the way of the wilderness, “harnessed” out of the land of Egypt. To harness is to yoke together to create focus in order to achieve a task. An example is to yoke two oxen together to create focus in plowing a field. This was how God brought His people out of Egypt, harnessed and focused on the Promised Land.
However, the children of Israel perished in the wilderness because they lost focus and desired Egypt more than the land to which God was taking them. Only Joshua, Caleb, and the sons and daughters born in the wilderness saw and entered the Promised Land. Those born in the wilderness had not experienced Egypt, hence their whole focus and desire was a better land promised by God unto His people.
Key #3: Adapt To Changes (Be Flexible).
The process of transition can affect our assignment, which may change as a result. Our assignment is the instruction of God concerning the direction to take to accomplish His purpose for our lives and ministry.
Demands are placed upon us by the Spirit of God that requires shifting. We need to make adjustments to align ourselves with God’s purpose. God brings us to the place where He requires “more” from us. It is not just the sacrifice of our time, gifts and resources, but also the sacrifice of our very life, just as Isaac was offered to God.
“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31).
“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” (Acts 20:22-25).
Dying to self is the key to making the transition and moving from one level to another in order to accomplish God’s purposes in our lives and ministry. Change can be difficult and transition always comes with a price. Many in the Body of Christ are arriving at this place of transition, but are having difficulty going through it.
Key # 4: Walking In Covenant.
Covenant relationship with God is a precursor to the process of transition and is conditional in possessing the Promised Land. We must embrace the covenant (Joshua 24:14-28).
For a long period, the children of Israel dwelt in the wilderness as nomads, until God’s divine intervention accomplished a transition from wilderness nomads to landed citizens. Likewise many dwelt in the past seasons of God for a long time and became spiritual nomads, but our act of covenant and obedience to God’s present truth and revelation will cause a transition into the fullness of the Kingdom of God where we will inherit what God has purposed for us.
Let us consider the purpose of God for the wilderness experience.
“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” (Deuteronomy 8:1-4).
Deuteronomy 8 outlines the purpose of God for the wilderness. It was a spiritual testing ground that stands as an example to us today.
For the children of Israel, God taught them humility, obedience, self-assessment and appetite restriction. His aim was to produce a people with a dependency on God and His word. This resulted in dietary adjustments and God humbled them as He tested their hearts.
The wilderness is a place of testing to prove the heart. It is important that we do not resist our present walk through the wilderness experience as God uses this to teach us His ways and principles.
“On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp” – (Numbers 9:15-18 ESV).
It is a wonderful experience when the cloud abides because then we can camp, but when it lifts, we must journey on, because God is on the move and He begins to progressively reveal His ways to us as we journey on with Him. It is obvious that the cloud is moving now.
In this present season of restoration, the cloud is moving and the purposes of God are being unveiled to us like never before, but many are failing to see the ways of God, and to walk therein, as the purposes of God are in restoration.
God is giving us more insight into the restoration of His family on earth, as we are plagued with a generation full of spiritual orphans – a fatherless generation.
We have what many may consider powerful and eloquent leaders and speakers, who captivate crowds of people by their charisma, but the fathering heart of God is missing. A father’s heart is needed to establish a spiritual family and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. There is a pressing need for true fathers.
Accuracy and revelation are not one and the same. We can eloquently minister accurately, yet without the revelation of what God is doing presently.
Apollos is a clear scriptural example of this process of transition as the cloud moved on in his time, though he was accurate, yet he lacked the revelation of sonship, which became a pathway for his transition to an apostolic ministry.
“At that time a Jew named Apollos, who had been born in Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker and had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he proclaimed and taught correctly the facts about Jesus. However, he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home with them and explained to him more correctly the Way of God. Apollos then decided to go to Achaia, so the believers in Ephesus helped him by writing to the believers in Achaia, urging them to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who through God’s grace had become believers. For with his strong arguments he defeated the Jews in public debates by proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah” – (Acts 18:24-28 GNB).
The background and accolades of Apollos reveals he had some level of understanding of the way of God, and that he was accurately teaching about Jesus, but he was beset by his lack of revelation of the current season he was in, even though he was the disciple of John the Baptiser. It took Priscilla and Aquila by the apostolic grace of God upon their lives to further expound to him the way of God more accurately, in order to update him and bring him into the present revelation that he could not receive by himself.
Priscilla and Aquila by this position functioned as his spiritual parents to mentor him into the fullness of the purposes of God for His life and assignment. The end result was the emergence of a powerful apostle commissioned from the church in Ephesus to the greater Body of Christ. So great was his ministry that even the church in Corinth debated and compared him to the likes of Paul and Cephas (Peter) – 1 Corinthians 1:11-12.
The pedigree of Apollos could have filled him with pride and limited his submission to the fathering grace of Priscilla and Aquila, but he was humble and teachable, not missing his season of transition in understanding the pathway of God.
Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe
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