This passage plainly states that these five ministry gifts are to remain in function until (“till”, v.13) we all come to 1) the unity of the faith, 2) the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God, and 3) the measure and the stature (maturity) of the fullness of Christ.
A simple and non-judgmental examination of today’s Church will quickly reveal that we have not “attained” yet – far from it! So there is still a need for the gif t of apostle. But are there apostles today?
First of all, it is important to understand that the Church is, and should be, a living, growing “organism” -not a lifeless organization. It continues to grow.
New frontiers for the Church are being pushed to the ends of the earth. There are still unreached peoples “sitting in darkness” who are still waiting to “see a great light”.
Jesus is still sending out those who are called and commissioned by Him in the power of His Holy Spirit and authority. They are to bind and loose, preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and raise the dead – all through the power of the Risen Christ.
The answer to the question from Scripture, Church history, and modern example is: YES – there is, and should be, apostolic ministry today!
The title “apostle” is not necessary. That is because the proof of apostolic ministry is seen in the fruit produced by an apostle’s labor -in other words, the work he leaves behind. Paul understood this when he wrote to the Corinthians “You are the seal [certification, undeniable proof] of my apostleship in the Lord ” (l Cor 9:1,2).
C. Preparation Of Apostles
The work of building His Church is very important to God. He desires that His workers be fully equipped and prepared.
Sometimes believers are so eager to minister to others, they set out before they are ready. This can bring much harm to everyone concerned.
God is not in a hurry when it comes to making His ministers. It takes time to build character. It takes time to be trained in the school of God’s Spirit for our calling.
The preparation for apostolic ministry takes much time, training and testing. The making of an apostle requires maturity and experience. It will involve both success and failure.
Our failures can become blessings if we learn how to face and accept our weaknesses. From our failures we find how little we can do apart from God’s wisdom, grace and power. Our failures are the ground from which the fragrant flower of humility can sweetly bloom. Humility produces compassion and understanding. And both are needed to wisely lead in love.
Moses had been highly trained in the wisdom of this world. However, it took forty years to get Moses out of Egypt -and another forty years to get Egypt out of Moses! Only then was he ready for the great responsibility of leading God’s people to the Promised Land.
The same was true for the Apostle Paul. By nature and training he was a proud and zealous Pharisee. He was eager to do God’s will – as he saw it, and as he thought it should be done.