Disciples to Apostles
September 29, 2020
These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6).
In a weekly staff meeting, the senior pastor of a large church customarily outlined the format for Sunday’s worship service. Because the service was always televised, precise times were set for each segment in the service. Everyone agreed to the format. During the Sunday’s service, one segment ran 5 minutes longer than allotted. At the following staff meeting, the senior pastor asked the minister responsible for that segment, “Do you like your job here at the church?” “Yes!” he responded enthusiastically. The senior pastor said, “Because your part of the service ran beyond the allotted time, other segments had to be curtailed. That will not happen again or you will be looking for a staff position in another church.” Was the pastor too severe?
A disciple is ‘a student, a learner’. Jesus understood the need for spiritual disciplines to be intentionally taught to those serious about growing in faith. Basics had to be outlined and established. At the same time, fundamentals had to be refined through practice. This is called internship: “an official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession; a period of time during which a beginner acquires experience in an occupation, profession, or pursuit.”
The writer of Hebrews said (6:1-3), Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.
Disciples must become apostles. Students must be allowed to practice what they’ve learned. In Matthew 10:5-33 Jesus set the parameters for the Apostles’ ministry. His instructions were to be followed precisely in order to insure success. His disciples were sent under His authority, making them accountable to Him for their ministry. They were not sent out to be rogue ministers; they weren’t to be ‘Lone Rangers’. Their ministry was to be an extension of His ministry.
Every church, and every minister in and through the church is an extension of the ministry of Jesus Christ. We are under His authority, called, equipped, trained, and sent by the Lord to extend His kingdom throughout the world. We are not given the liberty to ‘do as we see fit’, or to ‘go it alone’. Everything we do, we do as He instructs under the leadership of His Holy Spirit and for His glory.
“Father, continue to discipline my life so that Your work may be accomplished in and through me, Your kingdom will be enlarged in this community, the name of Jesus Christ will be high and lifted up, and You will receive the glory for it all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”