Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Last week we discussed our first spiritual gift, administration focusing on 1 Corinthians 12:28, and this week we will explore apostleship. Of note, the Greek Word apostolos - 'apo'=from 'stello'=send; one sent forth — is the literal definition of apostle. This is noteworthy because sometimes people use the word apostle and disciple interchangeably but by definition there are different. Apostle is a messenger and champions a belief or a cause, and in Christianity apostles spread the Christian message to the world or a person. Whereas, a disciple is a follower and student who assists in spreading the teachings the more they learn.
Consider the following:
Today’s scripture reminds us that Christ gave us apostles as one of the leaders in Christianity to equip Christians for works of service. Our scripture last week indicates that God has placed in the Church first of all apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28, NIV). Apostles are to be sent forth to new frontiers with the gospel, providing leadership over church bodies and maintaining authority over spiritual matters pertaining to the church. When a person has the gift of apostleship, that person uses the gift to compel people to reach out to new and unfamiliar groups and individuals, and to invite them into relationship with God and community. Apostles share the story of faith in other lands, cultures, and traditions, as well as are welcoming the stranger in their own land. Apostles extend the hand of friendship to those of other generations, nations, and languages. Many apostles desire to be missionaries.