“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
In light of these very sobering words of Jesus, it’s clear that not all people who profess to be His followers will get into Heaven. Therefore, it’s incumbent upon every serious seeker to determine now if they are true followers of Christ. In order to do this, one must get his or her facts from the correct source.
This brings us to the subject of apostolic teaching. What exactly is an apostle? Who were the Apostles? Are there apostles among us today? The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word, “apostolos” and means “sent one”. As used in the Bible, the word refers specifically to the twelve men chosen by Christ (Matthew 10:2) to accompany Him during His earthly ministry. Scripture teaches that He chose these twelve from among His disciples. While all the apostles were His disciples, not all disciples were His apostles.
In a broader sense, the word also applied to eminent Christian teachers of the first century, such as Timothy, Barnabas and a few others. The term apostle, however, as it refers to an individual, is never written in Scripture with the letter “a” capitalized. In other words it is not a title such as the Apostle Paul or the Apostle James.
Some believe that there are apostles appointed today or that the office has been handed down to people. Catholics proclaim there have been several Apostles of Rome, one of which was born in the early 1600s. One of the Biblical requirements for being an apostle was to have been a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:22).
In the specific use of the word, it’s clear that there were only twelve chosen and named as such by Jesus (Luke 6:13). In Revelation 21:14, we have this interesting revelation: “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” This is referring to the New Jerusalem, which will be created after the end of the world.
In Ephesians 2:20, we read, “…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” Here, the foundation is of the household of God. With regard to apostles being designated after the original twelve, it would mean that the household of God must have more than one foundation. We all know that a house only has one foundation, on which the rest of the house is built.
As early as the 1st century, there were other people claiming to be apostles. In reference to the church at Ephesus, the Lord recognized that they put those to the test that claimed to be apostles and were found to be false (Revelation 2:2).
The most significant role of the Apostles was to learn directly from Jesus and then teach others: “…that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.”
In Acts 2:42, we read, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Most of the New Testament was written within 30-40 years of Jesus’ ministry. The most recent books were penned by the apostle John, but all of the work was completed before the end of the first century. All information was written by eyewitnesses to the events or by others, who had access to these eyewitnesses.
The church has become what it is today because the early church soon departed from the teaching of the apostles, which is the same as departing from the teachings of Christ. Jesus made this sad commentary to the religious people of His day, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9)
The churches of today have done the same thing. Religious leaders have invented doctrines down through the centuries that not only contradict the Word of God, but many are even blasphemous. Some so-called Christian denominations and religions have invented the most erroneous teachings, ignoring reams of Scripture that say otherwise.
The apostles were vigilant in warning the early believers that such false teachings would be spread. In fact, many of the Epistles were written in refutation to these false teachings. This is why all true believers in Christ go back to apostolic teaching when doctrinal disputes arise. The Bible is the only complete and trustworthy resource for truth. Why? Because the Bible is God’s word and therefore, free from untruths and errors. Man’s word is subject to all kinds of errors and lies.
A true Christian is someone that reveres the Word of God to the exclusion of any man-made doctrine. No man can adopt the role of God. Unfortunately, many have done so and knowingly or unknowingly have become Satan’s instruments in creating the abomination referred to as “Christendom”. Christendom is Satan’s counterfeit to the true Church of Christ.
This counterfeit is so real that it blinds the spiritual eyes of many otherwise sincere and loving people into believing they are in the true church.
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