New Wine for New Wineskins November 2007

By , November 1, 2007 3:15 pm

 It Is Time To Build  (Part Two)

Haggai 1: 12 – 14

12 Then … all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of … all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God.

Ephesians 2: 19 – 22

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


A study of the New Testament scriptures brings a shocking discovery!  The Greek word poimen that we translate as pastor only occurs one time in the whole of the New Testament.  And yet, for generations we have had churches that have been traditionally built on a pastoral model whereas the word of God clearly states that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.  The New Testament church was always supposed to be built apostolically and not pastorally.  The apostolic-prophetic must come first as a foundation, and then apostolically trained pastors can fulfil their function and calling.

Jesus said that the word of God can be rendered ineffective by the power of tradition.  When the word is not working in and through the church the same way that it did in the life and ministry of Jesus then it is obvious that tradition has entered into the equation somewhere.  Today if you are open and receptive you will see one of the major areas where tradition has blocked the flow of God’s power and anointing. 

Remember – tradition is very strong because it has usually been built up over many generations and has built layers of protection around itself through the personal experience of those who have been raised in the tradition. 

Let me say right now that if you were raised in a pastorally built church that had no apostolic-prophetic foundation then you will either run the risk of being offended or enlightened if you continue reading.  If you have a pastoral gift that was trained under another pastoral gift with no apostolic-prophetic foundation then you may discover why you struggle when you encounter an apostolic-prophetic gift or come into an apostolically built church.

In the New Testament, churches were never built by pastors – they were built by apostles according to the model that Jesus himself demonstrated.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with being a pastor – it is one of the ascension ministry gifts.  But the pastoral ministry is generally marked more by the desire to comfort, nurture, and protect the people who attend the church, and so the churches that are built according to the pastoral model tend to become insular and need-centred rather than being equipped to be radical instruments of transformation in the outside world!

The pastoral gift often has a “there, there, there” effect instead of dealing with the root causes and pulling down the strongholds in a person’s life.  If the apostolic work is not done first then the pastoral ministry will propagate a weak and ineffective church that never moves into a place of supernaturally affecting the community in which it is placed.

Listen to this for a perfect description of apostolic ministry.

Jeremiah 1: 9 – 10

9 Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me:
“ Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.”

The apostolic ministry roots out, pulls down, destroys and throws down before it builds and  plants.  Only then does the pastoral gift have something worthy of comfort, nurture, and protection.  Paul put it this way:

1 Corinthians 10: 3 – 6

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

A church that is built apostolically tends not to be top-heavy with sinners and so the light is stronger and the testimony is clearer.  It reaches out to sinners with unconditional love but there is a standard that is raised by the Holy Spirit that declares that you can come as you are but you can’t stay as you are if you are going to be added to the church!

The apostolic ministry restores order.  John the Baptist prophesying concerning Jesus’ (the Apostle’s) ministry – quoting from Isaiah 40 – said,

Luke 3: 4 – 6

“ Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

A church that is being built apostolically is sold out to the four basic components of successful life in the Spirit as a continuation of Jesus’ life, an amplification of Jesus’ message, and an extension of Jesus’ works!

Acts 2: 42

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

A church that is being built apostolically is committed to the supernatural ministries of healing and deliverance.  Listen!

Acts 2: 43

43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

Acts 5: 12

12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

Acts 14: 3

3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Acts 19: 11 – 12

11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

The LORD spoke to me very clearly recently and he said, “Don’t dare stop teaching on healing right now!”  Why? Because IT’S TIME!  It’s time for the LORD’s house to be built!  It’s time for the church that  Jesus is building against which the gates of hell cannot prevail or hold out against, to arise!  The gospel cannot be preached without healing and deliverance – they are an integral part of the apostolic message that Jesus commissioned us to preach!

The apostolically built church ministers to the whole person – spirit, soul, and body!  The apostolic message engages with the spirit and establishes truth that is foundational for the healing and deliverance of soul and body.

1 Thessalonians 5: 23

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastorally built churches that have no apostolic foundation tend more to ministry that hooks the soul.  This leads to the ‘seeker-friendly’ approach that tries to make the church palatable to the world by becoming a church that is acceptable to them.  But this methodology originates in the soul.  The church is supposed to be different!  Jesus went down to where the sinners were and reached out to them, but it was the fact that he was different that made him attractive to them.

Matthew 7: 28 – 29

28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Luke 4: 36

36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

Luke 5: 26

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

In the same way the church should reach out to the world with a message of hope that is confirmed in the fact that the church is different!

Acts 2: 12 – 13

12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

Acts 3: 11

11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed.

Acts 8: 13

13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The pastorally built church will sometimes attempt to engage with the culture and will seek to adapt itself accordingly in order to hook the soul.  This can lead to the church dabbling in relativism – which according to the dictionary is defined as: the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute. Different cultural expressions are not necessarily bad but we need to engage people’s spirit if we are going to bring them into kingdom culture.  This deals with all of the ‘us and them’s – whether they be generational, racial, cultural or whatever.  There is nothing wrong with employing new technology as tools to assist in our ministry but we should never yield to the temptation to compromise the apostolic nature of our message or our method!  The word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit are always relevant!

Ephesians 5: 25 – 27

25 …Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

The church that is being built apostolically attacks the strongholds of sin and and all of its negative effects and roots out, pulls down, throws down and destroys the hiding places of the enemy – the systems of religion and tradition that have created a refuge of lies for the thief who comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy!

Colossians 2: 4 – 10

4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

If you have a church that is built pastorally without apostolic foundations you will often find people that are being comforted under the circumstances rather than experiencing victory over their circumstances!  You will find people who are being comforted after a battle that has ended in defeat instead of a people who are being comforted after a battle that has ended in victory!  You will have fine funeral services but not many triumphant testimonies!

The church that is being built apostolically cannot co-exist with the strongholds of darkness – it attacks them!  In fact the very presence of an apostolic church stirs and shakes the kingdoms of darkness and attracts persecution.

In what we refer to as the pastoral epistles Paul very clearly admonishes Timothy:

2 Timothy 2: 1 – 4

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare (remember 2 Corinthians 10 regarding the nature of the warfare) entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

Paul was saying to Timothy that the pastoral gift had to function in line with the foundation that had been laid apostolically.  It wasn’t to be a case of “Oh well, thank the LORD that the apostolic bit is over and now we can get on with just being a cosy little fellowship of half-hearted believers”.  No!  The warfare continues with a steadfast commitment to the integrity of the message that is JESUS!  Timothy was to pastor according to the apostolic pattern – he was to feed the sheep an apostolic diet!  We all need pastored – but we need to be pastored on a solid foundation that has been laid apostolically!   We need pastors that are apostolically trained!

1 Corinthians 4: 16 – 17

16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.

1 Corinthians 16: 10

10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do.

Philippians 2: 9 – 10

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.

Remember what Paul said to the elders in Ephesus when he was leaving them for the last time.

Acts 20: 26 – 32

26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

What do wolves feed on? Flesh!  There were those waiting in the wings who as soon as the apostle was gone were ready to dilute the message in order to draw people to themselves.  There would have been those who said, “Paul was too hard – we don’t need to build apostolically and we won’t pastor you apostolically – we are going to start again and build pastorally!”

The pastoral model of ministry that is not built upon an apostolic foundation creates seeker-friendly, consumer-based programs that are designed to connect with people where they are at and draw them into a church that is customised to fit their lifestyle.  A church that packs everything into an “hour of power” that is all about them and their needs, their success, and their happiness – and if it’s charismatic it will probably culminate in an altar-call that is all about their breakthrough.  None of that is bad in itself but if it is built on an apostolic foundation it will have an extra dimension and all ministry they receive will not just be about them but will also be a means to an end!  It will be about equipping people
via their breakthroughs to go into the world and make a radical and supernatural difference! 

Ministry that is all about ‘pastoring’ the same people and meeting their every need will eventually become boring to these people!  They will be ‘spoiled’ and slide off into spiritual apathy!  The church must be challenged and changed if it is going to be effective and fulfil its calling and purpose! The apostolic church is always pressing onwards and upwards!

Pastorally built churches are often more intent on becoming a mile wide even if they are only an inch high!  They will abandon the one found sheep – that could be effectively trained and discipled – in their hurry to usher in the ninety-nine with an offer of free grazing (gracing).   That will inevitably end in a church top-heavy with sinners or unsanctified saints who demand so much attention that the apostolic nature of the church is never realised.

Pastorally built churches tend to be more man-centred than Christ-centred and so they are more governed by the needs and demands of the people than the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As a result of this faulty foundation they are easily washed away by the floods and blown apart by the storms.  Sadly, this simply lends itself to the need for more non-apostolic pastoral ministry.  It is as negative and non-productive a cycle as Israel’s forty year circuit of the wilderness which was the fruit of the rejection of apostolic leadership and the apostolic model of ministry.

What do you say ?  Is your spirit stirred? Are you saying “IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE TO BE BUILT”?

Remember – the most important part of any building is it’s foundation!  The LORD says that the foundation for his house must be laid apostolically!  There must be a rooting out, a pulling down, a destroying and a throwing down before the building and planting begins – before the “there, there, there…”  We cannot comfort people in their sin or encourage them in their foolishness.  We cannot create an environment where everyone comes and anything goes!

Remember – we love God first – with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, and all of our strength!  Our love for others is the love that God has for them – it is unconditional in its expression but it demands a response of repentance and faith in order for them to find a place of security, acceptance and purpose!

The apostolically built church is a church that is built from those who have forsaken everything to follow Jesus!

Can you say it today?  "IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE TO BE BUILT" – according to his pattern and his plan so that it can fulfil his purpose and manifest his glory!

Is your spirit stirred?  Are you ready to work on the house of the LORD – to have him build his church according to his design – knowing and believing that I AM is with you?

We are going to go on and look at this in more detail!  Why?  Because IT IS TIME!  IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE TO BE BUILT! 

Continued next month… 

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