Derek Prince - What Does The Bible Say About Apostles?
The next purpose of the laying on of hands is to send out apostles. I don’t know whether some of you think there are only twelve apostles in the New Testament. That is not so. I’ve counted approximately twenty people who were called apostles. There were the twelve foundation apostles. Then there were other apostles who were mentioned by name and we look at some of them. In Acts 13 it speaks about the church at Antioch, which was in many ways a modern church. In fact, in some ways it got ahead of the church in Jerusalem which got a little bit stuck in, what I would call, internal focus. That’s the big problem with our churches today, most churches are so focused on the internal that they have very little time for the real job, which is preaching the gospel to those who have never heard it. But the people at Antioch had a different vision and this is very important.
Acts 13, beginning at verse 1: Now in the church there were certain prophets and teachers, five of them are named Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Saul who later became Paul. Now, if you can believe for prophets and teachers then the way is open for apostles. I’ll show you how. As they ministered to the Lord... The NIV says: As they worshiped the Lord. It’s so important, I’m going to speak about this later. But worship is the key to so much. As they worshiped the Lord the Holy Spirit said, Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Notice, the Holy Spirit was speaking as God. Separate to me these two men. How do you think the Holy Spirit said it? Do you think it was a disembodied voice that came ? Or do you think He spoke through one of the five men? You can make your mind up. I believe personally it was probably a prophetic word.
Then having fasted and prayed... And I am a great believer in fasting and prayer I don’t have time to go into it but a lot of things in the church will never happen until people learn to fast and pray. This was the second time they’d fasted. They were already fasting when they got the message. Having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they send them away. They sent them off. Please note they didn’t choose the junior youth director which is what some churches would do. They chose the two top men. They sent out their best. Promotion to the outreach of the ministry is from the top, not from the bottom. There again the church has a tremendous lesson today to learn. The people who are 'missionaries' or whatever you want to call them are not somebody with a minor ministry somewhere down the line. They should be the top people chosen by God. But we have got an altogether wrong emphasis on our internal structure and we are so absorbed with ourselves that we really don’t have the vision of the Lord.
I don’t know if you’ll forgive me for saying this but I say that many people in the current move of the Holy Spirit, in some countries are like the astronomers in the days of Ptolemy. If you know a little bit about astronomy, and I don’t know much. But Ptolemy was convinced that the earth revolved around the sun. Copernicus came and said, that's not right. It’s the other way around. The earth revolves around the sun. And typically enough, the church wanted to put the man to death for saying that. He just escaped with his life. But why was the church so upset? Because it was contrary to their traditions. I say a lot of Christians are still living in the age of Ptolemy. They still believe that the Son, God, revolves around us. They haven’t yet learned it’s the other way around. We revolve around the Son. Jesus isn’t here for our benefit; we’re here for His glory. You can see some of the songs that are sung that focus entirely on what Jesus will do for me. That’s wonderful, but it’s less important than what we will do for Jesus. That’s where the emphasis is. Anyhow, this church sent out its two best.
Now, when they were sent out they were prophets and teachers but if you read on in the next chapter of Acts, chapter 14, about the same two men, it says at one point: The multitude of the city was divided. Part sided with the Jews and part with the apostles. In verse 14 it says: When the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard this... So they had become apostles. How had they become apostles? By being sent out from a church through the direction of the Holy Spirit. You see, the meaning of the word apostle is ‘one who is sent out.’ If you’ve not been sent out you’re not an apostle. So, here are two men who are not in the original twelve, Paul and Barnabas are now called apostles. How did they become apostles? By the appointment of the Holy Spirit. How did they hear the voice of the Holy Spirit? They were praying, fasting and worshiping God. And when the church leadership does that then we will see apostles emerging.