Apostles – Les D. Crause
The Apostolic Calling is the greatest of all the Fivefold Ministry callings.
This is because the Apostle should be able to function in ALL of the other ministries.
Here you will learn everything you need to know about the Apostolic Calling
Signs That You Are Called to be an Apostle
How to Identify an Apostle
2 Corinthians 12:12 says,
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
What does an apostle look like? And are there any female apostles, or is this only for men? Is an apostle someone who has reached a higher level of spiritual maturity? What exactly is an apostle? I hope to help you answer these questions in this section.
I am sure you have also heard stories of so-called apostles who have exalted themselves. Many have fallen into deception and led others astray. Because of this many are afraid of this term apostle. They are nervous when someone says, “God’s called me to be an apostle.”
There is also the opposite extreme these days. People everywhere are claiming to be apostles.
We need to know what is the genuine and what is not genuine. We need to be able to identify what is of God and what is not of God. And we need to be able to test those who claim to be apostles.
God was pleased with one of the churches that John wrote to in Revelation. It was the church at Ephesus. He said, You have tested those who claim to be apostles and found them to be false. Right back there already there were true and false apostles.
We will be looking at all of this in some detail. And you will learn to recognize an apostle when you meet one.
What an Apostle is Not
Not a Super-Spiritual Giant
The ministry of the apostle is a gift and a calling, not a spiritual attainment. There is, of course, a price to pay for an appointment to a ministry office. But God calls and chooses by His grace. He alone is the one who can choose, call and ordain someone to be an apostle.
An apostle does not have to be someone who is far above others in righteousness and holiness. They are not someone who has revelation that does not rely on the Scriptures.
Not a Missionary
The word apostle means sent one. This sounds a lot like being a missionary, and many missionaries are indeed apostolic. But it is not true to say that all missionaries are apostles.
Missionaries are not sent out in the same way as apostles. They are sent by an organization. The apostle is sent out by the Lord directly.
Not the Founder of a Church
Many believe that if someone goes out and starts a new church, they are the apostle of that church and can claim that title.
The Scripture tells us that when Saul persecuted the early believers they scattered everywhere. And everywhere they went they preached the gospel. They reached up as far as Antioch and preached to people there.
People were saved. Christians came together and a church started up. Paul and Barnabus went to teach and get the church in order. But they were not even apostles yet. Apostles are not the only ones who can plant new churches.
What an Apostle is
One Who Is Sent
An apostle is someone who has been sent. That is what the Greek word apostolos means. An apostle should have more than one gift ministry. An ordinary pastor or evangelist cannot do what an apostle is called to do.
The apostle has risen up through the ranks. They have carried out most of the Fivefold Ministries before moving into the Apostolic Office. And the apostle receives their mandate from the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Spiritual Entrepreneur
An apostle is someone who lays new foundations. They are able to start new things and set them in order. I think the best description, and one that the Lord dropped into my spirit, is that an apostle is a spiritual entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur is a person who is bubbling with new ideas and plans. They are someone who desires to go out where no man has gone before; a person who wants to go in and start things that nobody did before.
They are people who have a cause burning in them. They have a goal, a vision and a clear mandate from the Lord. That mandate is to go out and do what perhaps nobody else is doing.
What are the signs of somebody who is called to be an apostle? I want to look first at some general signs. After that, we will look at some specific signs.
Firstly, apostles are called directly by Jesus Christ. In Luke 6:13 we read concerning the early apostles, And when it was day, he called [to him] his disciples: and from them he chose twelve, whom also he called apostles; Jesus did not give an appeal and say,
“I’m recruiting for apostles. Would all applicants please queue up at my house at 6:30 tomorrow morning and I’ll interview you.” No, thousands of people wanted that job. He was not planning to interview them all. He spent the whole night in prayer instead.
He called out 12 specific people. He chose them, appointed them and called them apostles. So an apostle is not called by an organization or by popular vote. An apostle is divinely called by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Separated for the Work
Apostles are separated for the work and specifically set apart for their calling. Paul speaks about it in Romans 1:1. When he introduces his letter he says, Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
If God has called you to be an apostle, you too have been set apart for a very specific job. You have been brought in for a special and unique purpose that God will fulfill in your life.
An apostle is called to be a servant. Did you think that being called to be an apostle meant you were going to be a great name? Did you expect to be splashed on the billboards, and known all over the world?
Paul first says he is a servant of Jesus Christ, then an apostle. That is how he announced himself.
A servant is from the Greek work doulos. This is not just a servant but a slave; one who belongs to his master. He is a love slave; one who has willingly devoted himself for life to his master, to do whatever his master pleases.
Do you want to be an apostle? You had better learn to serve. You had better learn to be a slave and to do things you don’t feel like doing.
In 1 Corinthians 4:9 Paul makes it even worse. He says, For I think that God has displayed us the apostles last, like we were sentenced to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. In another place he said, “We are made as the scum of the earth.”
Do not get me wrong, the Apostle is the highest ministry office. Paul says, God has set some in the church: First apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers..
The apostle is the highest and most revered ministry office of all. But there is a price to pay. As high as God is going to exalt you, so low you will have to be prepared to be and to go, in your heart and in your attitude, before God can use you.
An Early Call
An apostle is called from the womb; someone that God has set His hand on from the beginning. In Galatians 1:15 and 16 Paul says, But when it pleased God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called [me] by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles..
Because you have been called from the womb as an apostle, your whole life has been a preparation. Your preparation began when the sperm met the egg to create you.
The calling was already there when you were conceived in your mother’s womb. It wasn’t only something that came upon you in later life. Perhaps you only became aware of your calling later in life. But I want to tell you something – God knew you.
When Jesus hung on the cross He looked down. He saw you and He knew you. He ordained you, and you were set apart for the gospel of God and the call of God.
You were chosen, you were called, and you were given a mandate.
Apostles are trained in secret. Paul says in Galatians 1:15 to 17,
When it pleased God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the gentiles; I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood: Neither did I go up to Jerusalem to the apostles [that were] above me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Paul had been called to be an apostle. Jesus had spoken to him. But when the Lord spoke to Ananias he was scared.
The Lord told him to go down to the street called Straight to go and minister to this man, who had persecuted and killed Christians; who had been blinded and was sitting praying.
He said, “Lord, I’ve heard about this man. He’s a killer. Are you sure? Am I hearing you right? Is this my imagination? Please tell me I’m wrong.”
Poor Ananias was just an ordinary little believer, and the Lord told him to go and confront a man who had a huge reputation. The Lord said to Ananias,
“Don’t worry about it. I’ve chosen him, and I’ve told him how much he’s going to suffer for me.”
What a wonderful call. Is this what you would like to have?
“Well Saul, I’ve called you to be an apostle, and this is what I’m calling you to do – suffer.”
Saul, you’re going to appear before kings and governors. You’re going to appear before people in the highest places. But Saul you’re going to suffer for my name’s sake, so don’t mix these two up.
You’re going to be big Saul. Your name is going to be known and you are going to be famous. People are going to be preaching about you way down into the 2 Century.
They are going to be using the stuff you wrote. But Saul it’s going to cost you. Before you start this thing I’m warning you how much you will have to suffer for my name’s sake.”
Do you still want to be an apostle? I have bad news for you if you are called to be one. It is not your choice. God separated you from your mother’s womb. He prepared you and brought you to such a time as this.
If as you have read this chapter, the Spirit of God has begun to move on you, then you know that I am talking about you. You know that God has placed that call on you so get ready for it.
God has something unique and special for you. He is going to lift you up in the sight of the world. But you have already paid a lot of the price, and you will continue to pay the price.
For each amount of blessing you receive, you will receive an equal amount of opposition. Get ready for it, apostle of God.
The enemy hates the apostles and he will try to destroy them. He will do his best to destroy you. In Acts 14:19 we read concerning how Paul and Barnabus went to Iconium to preach the gospel. It says,
And there came there [certain] Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people …
Just a few days before, these people were impressed with Paul and Barnabus when signs and wonders took place at their hands. They were so impressed that they were convinced that they were gods that had come down from heaven.
The Greeks were always worshipping their gods. They figured Barnabus must be the main god, because he was the tall, good-looking one. They thought Barnabus and Paul were two of their Greek gods.
If you look at the gods that they chose, the one they chose for Barnabus was the main god. And the one that they chose for Paul was the little guy who did all the talking. He was the big god’s spokesman.
That gives you an idea of what Paul looked like. He was a funny little bald-headed guy with a hook nose, so tradition says, and obviously, he talked a lot.
A few days before these same people had wanted to come and worship and offer sacrifices to these men as gods. Now they became stirred up and turned against them. It says in verse 19:
.. and, having stoned Paul, drew [him] out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
First, they wanted to worship him. Now they wanted to kill him.
Do you want to be an apostle? You are going to be worshipped, and you are going to be crucified. You are going to be lifted up, and you are going to get kicked in the teeth.
You will get them both. It is the normal experience for apostles.
Satan hates you. Every time you begin to rise up, God starts to use you and people begin to know about you, Satan is going to stir up people against you.
He will try to destroy you, and he will try to kill you if he can.
As we go on I will show you that Satan will try to kill someone from the womb already if he can. He will try if he gets to find out and suspects that the person may be called to be an apostle of God.
You see, he reads the signs even better than we do. He knows.
Why do you think Herod tried to kill Jesus, the great Apostle and High Priest of our confession?
Why do you suppose Pharaoh tried to kill Moses, who was an Old Testament type of the Apostolic Office and Ministry?
In the previous chapter, we looked at some of the general signs of the apostolic calling.
Well, there are some specific signs as well. I am going to mention them briefly, then we are going to end with a very detailed breakdown from the lives of three Bible types or pictures of an apostle.
When we are done you will understand all the signs of the apostolic calling.
One of the first specific signs of the call to apostleship is an early call. If God has separated you from your mother’s womb, the chances are that He will begin that preparation in your life at a very young age.
Jesus knew it at the age of 12 when He sat in the temple and debated with all the wise men there. He knew already what He had been called to do. When His parents came and asked Him what was going on He said,
“Didn’t you know, I should be in my Father’s house and I should be about my Father’s business?”
You will become aware of your call very early. Perhaps you will not be fully aware yet what it is that God has called you to do. But God will begin to move in your life from an early age to prepare you for the apostolic calling.
If you were saved early in life, you will see that preparation starting in your life right from your early childhood already.
As I look back on my own life, I know that at the time I was conceived my parents were serving the Lord. They were running a church and doing the ministry. When I was born they told me that they dedicated me to the Lord and said,
“Father, we give this child to you. We ask you to take him and do with him as you please, and use him in the extension of your Kingdom.”
I was chosen from the womb, and as a child, I knew the Lord. I do not remember when I came to know Him. I cannot tell you when I made a decision to accept Jesus in my heart. But as a child I was already witnessing to people and telling them about the Lord.
I was an insecure, frightened little child who had no friends. But I still told people about the Lord. In all my fear and trepidation it was burning in me. I knew I had to do it.
Only years later the fullness of that call came and the anointing of the Spirit came. But there already, very early in life, were the stirrings that made me different to everybody else.
Being different to everybody else also led to being pushed away and rejected, because people do not like you when you are different. People do not want you to be different. They want you to be like them. When you are different you are rejected and pushed aside.
Many of those who are going through Prophetic Training are aware of all that already. And I want to tell you, many of those that are going through that training are also called to be apostles.
That is why you will identify with what I am talking about here too.
Rejection and Opposition
The apostle has a lot of opposition in life – a lot of things going wrong, a lot of rejection, and a lot of not fitting in.
I will not go into detail here. I do think though that those who are called to the Apostolic Office are going to find this to be far more than just a preparation that began late in life, which is usually the experience of the prophets.
The chances are the apostle has been through a preparation from the womb already and has had problems being accepted throughout their life. They have the most intensive preparation of all of the ministry offices.
There are symbols that the Lord has shown us for the Apostolic Ministry and the Apostolic Office. There are some differences compared with the Prophetic Office which I would just like to add in here quickly.
In the prophetic there is a calling to the Prophetic Ministry to function as a prophet. There is also the Prophetic Office, which is a unique setting apart of somebody into the Fivefold Ministry Office of the prophet.
The same applies to the apostle. There are those who will carry out, fulfill, and function in an Apostolic Ministry. But they may not have fully qualified to move into the full office of the apostle.
Some of the symbols in the prophetic relate to the Prophetic Ministry, but the prophetic key uniquely relates to the Prophetic Office. The apostle also has some of these symbols.
The first symbol of the Apostolic Ministry is the golden scepter. The golden scepter is an implement that was used by kings. It was a symbol of the king’s authority, and he would use that golden scepter to make decrees.
The scepter and the sword are the same thing and could be used to bestow authority – where someone would bend down and the king would knight them.
He would put the sword on your shoulder and say something like,
“Rise, Sir Leslie Crause.”
Well the Lord Jesus has a scepter, and He is going to put it on you and say,
“Rise, Apostle (whatever your name is).”
He will give you the scepter to take with you. It is a symbol of authority and a symbol to make decrees.
In the book of Esther, we read how Esther came into the presence of the king. According to the law of the land, she could have died for that, unless the king held out his golden scepter to her.
When she came to touch the scepter she would be accepted. There was power in the scepter.
The Bible speaks a lot about the scepter. It talks about the scepter of righteousness. The scepter is always a symbol of reigning and authority. The Apostolic Office is one of authority.
Royal Crown and Robe
There is also a royal robe and crown because the apostle is to be a king or queen in God’s Kingdom. So when God places somebody in Apostolic Office, very often you will see that person being given the royal garments.
The Apostolic Key
Then there is a key. The apostle also has a key. It is a much fancier key than that of the prophet. The prophet just gets an ordinary golden key. The apostle, however, gets a jewel-encrusted key. But the apostolic key is not given to all apostles. The scepter, robe and crown are.
Maybe right now you are asking yourself this question.
“How do I know this?”
I have seen it, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I have imparted it to others. So what I am giving you I have learned from experience and from revelation in the Spirit.
I have not yet dug into the Scriptures to give you full Scriptural precedence for this. Right now I simply want you to trust me that God has confirmed this.
He has shown it to me in the Spirit, and these are symbols that are used in spiritual revelation for the Apostolic Ministry and the Apostolic Office.
I have found that usually when God shows me the golden scepter, the robe, and the crown, that it is means a call to the Apostolic Ministry or a call to training for the Apostolic Office.
The final impartation of the scepter, robe, and crown, however, are when the person is actually placed into the office of the apostle.