How will his calling be known? Who will recognize and approve of his ministry? An apostle should be known and recognized in at least four ways:
- He should know, and be certain of, his own calling.
- The leaders of his local church should know that he is an apostle by what they see in his life and work for God.
- The people in his home church will also recognize the apostolic quality of his ministry.
- The people in the churches he has founded will speak of God’s special favor on the fruit of his labors.
In short, his work as an apostle will speak for itself.
This does not mean he will be known or received as an apostle by the Church worldwide. Paul was not (l Cor 9:1-3). However, Paul did know where he was accepted as an apostle. And the people knew it too. The fruit of Paul’s ministry was proof of his apostolic calling.
There is more apostolic ministry in the Body of Christ than many may realize. Truly, it is a vital, needed ministry in the Church today.
THE MINISTRY GIFT OF PROPHET
The second of the five-fold ministries is that of the prophet. It too is one of the ministries that are necessary to bring a church to maturity.
Sadly, the ministry of prophecy is not well understood in our day. Some believe it is nothing more than powerful preaching. It is clear from Scriptures, however, that prophets are more than good preachers. They have a very special place and purpose in the Body of Christ.
A. The Definition Of Terms The Old Testament
The ministry of the prophet has its roots in the Old Testament. There are two main Hebrew words for “prophet”:
- Nabi: This is the basic word for “prophet” in the Old Testament. It means “spokesman” or “speaker.”
Basically, it means that a prophet is a person who is authorized to speak for another. In the case of the Old Testament prophets, they were to speak for God.
- Hozeh (sometimes roeh): These words mean “seer,” which is derived from the words “to see.” Prophets were also called “messengers”, “servants of God” and “men of God”. The message of the prophet is usually called a “prophecy.” But it has also been called a vision, burden, oracle, or “the word of the Lord“.
The New Testament
The Greek word prophetes is the only word for “prophet” in the New Testament. This word comes from two Greek words: pro, meaning “before” or “in front of”; and phemi, meaning “to show or make known one’s thoughts.” When these two words are brought together, they tell us of the two-fold operation of the ministry gift of prophet:
- Forth telling: speaking forth a message from God (Heb 1:1).
- Foretelling: a predictive revealing of God’s thoughts. Foretelling can come in two ways:
- a) Prediction of future events that usually only God is aware of (Acts 21:10-14).
- b) A revealing of the thoughts, motives and intents of the human heart (Acts 5:3).
Both forth telling and foretelling must be Holy Spirit-led to be biblical prophecy.