Major Kingdom/Apostolic Articles
Apostolic Networks And The God-Family
God is connecting His scattered people through the Holy Spirit into close spiritual families and extended families. All are to be part of heaveníís God-family of Father, Son and Holy Spirit preparing a Bride/Wife/Mother raising up children to become mature sons of the Father.
The current worldwide shift among Godíís people toward the original plan and model of Christ Jesus and the first century disciples has two primary characteristics.
(1) The leadership of man-made religious church systems and organizations are giving way to Holy Spirit led relationally based family style groups under the direct headship of Christ Jesus by the Spirit. The ekklesia was birthed on the day of Pentecost when about 120 men and women disciples received the initial return of the life-giving Spirit of Christ Jesus. The life of Christ began to flow in and through them empowering them to do the works of Christ drawing thousand to Christ as they preached and demonstrated the kingdom of God in the Holy Spirit.
(2) The worldwide shift of today is characterized by the return to the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of God instead of the man-focused gospel of only being saved to go to heaven when we die and all the man-focused church that developed around it. The reign of Christ Jesus as King on earth by His Spirit living in His Body is the focus of the gospel of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. It is a spiritual Kingdom ruled by God, Who is Spirit, living in redeemed mankind who is spiritual and natural (heavenly and earthly).
Our natural minds can limit our ability to discern and participate in the realities of the Spirit and the spiritual realm. Godís design for mankind includes manís mind serving under the Spirit of God as a tool for functioning in the physical world to bring forth the plans and purposes of Spirit God on earth from heaven. From the time of Adamíís partaking of the tree of knowledge maníís fallen mind has attempted to overrule Godíís will and desires.
1 Cor 2:14: But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The tension between living in the ways of the natural as opposed to the spiritual continues to be a factor for all seeking to function as sons of God in the natural world. The religious church system with its many denominations and hierarchical ruling structures is the product of natural thinking overtaking and replacing life in the Spirit. The ekklesia of God began in the Spirit and eventually it will finish in the Spirit even though many centuries of walking in the natural have brought devastation to the real kingdom of God from heaven on earth. Life in the Spirit has been eroded by the continued practice of walking in the natural mind or the flesh portion of the natural/spiritual makeup of man.
Gal 3:3: Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Godís people are the interface between the Spirit realm of God from heaven and the natural or physical world. The design of creation is to reflect the glory of God revealing His glorious character and nature of unchanging love, righteousness, wisdom and power far beyond human understanding. Only as mankind walks in the Spirit can he fulfill his place of bringing forth the will and plans of God from the spiritual into the natural.
Walking in the Spirit means our minds, will and emotions are saturated by the Spirit of God and functioning by the empowerment of the Spirit of Christ.
The great overall God-family consists of Heavenly Father, Son Christ Jesus and Bride/Wife/Mother on earth. Spiritual babies are born that must be nourished and trained to grow into mature sons of God. In the spiritual Body of Christ on earth, there are spiritually mature (elder), younger or less mature, small children and babies. It is the design of God that the Spirit of Christ impart tools to the mature (elder) to bring the whole family to spiritual maturity. The mature ones are known as elders and serve like fathers or more accurately as elder brothers to lead the families into spiritual maturity. The spiritually mature are those who have been seasoned through the experiences of walking in the Spirit. Their spiritual discernment has grown keen by way of exercise.
Heb 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It is by the Spirit of Christ that the people of God are being built up into mature sons unified in love to fulfill Godís purpose of returning the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of our Father. The Spirit of Christ imparts special servant gifts of Himself to some for the job of building up the saints into mature sons. These gifts cause certain elder sons to function in specific areas to equip others to build up the Body of Christ - the whole connected organism of sons under the one Head of His Body, Christ Jesus.
Eph 4:11-12: "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,"
Elder (mature) sons of God function in the Spirit of Christ to provide the specific functions needed to equip the Body to buildup itself in the love and oneness of God. The functional service gifts to the Body are apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. Not all elders function in these service gifts. But all who function in them are elders - mature sons who lead the families toward their heavenly Father through Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
1 Pet 5:1-3: The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
This is truly organic spiritual reality that develops as love relationships and does not require the confines of organizational structure devised by natural man. It is spiritual networking and flows from the spiritual realm of heaven which is beginning to imprint its patterns for life on earth as it is in heaven. It is the New Jerusalem living patterns coming down from heaven, the beginnings of the manifesting of the purified holy Bride city - the New Jerusalem / Bride of Christ lifestyle.
Rev 21:2-3: Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Evidence of the spiritual family of God is seen in the reality of the spiritual networking of close spiritual families with connections to extended families. The servant gifts of shepherd, teacher and evangelist are functioning within the families. The special gifts of apostle and prophet are especially emphasized and needed in the season of major shift from the religious past to the family of God relational reality of the future. True apostolic and prophetic works are being expressed to make the deep and sometimes difficult changes required to move from religion to relationship.
The demise of the family of God reality in the ekklesia came about as men established a human structural framework to govern the spiritual reality of the God-family on earth.
The original God-family ekklesia was birthed at Pentecost as Christ Jesus returned in the Spirit to abide in His people and express the special gifts and power to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. There was only Christ Jesus as head directing the birthing of the kingdom within the ekklesia through the Holy Spirit.
In a similar way the rebirth of Pentecostal reality poured out in the 20th century began to bring forth the God-family on a broad scale again for the first time since the takeover by manís ways around the 3rd century. This is the great shift and transition of this time in history.
The same natural fallen-world concepts that brought the demise of the ekklesia of the early centuries is hard at work seeking to again replace the headship of Christ Jesus with man-made structural framework.
Multitudes are seeking a greater reality of spiritual relationship with God outside the man-made structural frameworks of religion. Often a season of isolation which is sometimes referred to as a wilderness experience is used of God as part of the process of removing ingrained patterns of the past religious framework prior to being reconnected in close spiritual family groups as the ekklesia of God.
I believe Father wants to enlighten us regarding two major snares the enemy is attempting to use to entrap fledgling family style groups. They both stem from the same error of substituting man-made structural frameworks for the real headship of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
The first snare is allowing the focus of the family group to become purely human fellowship. There is a vast difference in Christians fellowshipping in the natural and real spiritual fellowship with Christ Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit.
There can be a good and refreshing time in a group that is only bringing forth their natural human personalities and natural gifts without any real spiritual fellowship with God taking place. A group like this is easily led into deception and can fall into fallen-world practices.
Spiritual fellowship takes place as each person brings forth the Spirit of Christ from within to the group. Christ Jesus truly becomes evident among the group as real spiritual fellowship brings adoration, worship and thanksgiving to the glory of God in the Holy Spirit. Love and powerful spiritual ministry may flow life from Christ by the Holy Spirit. As each joint flows to the group, the Holy Spirit brings forth the ministry of Jesus to cleanse, heal, strengthen, empower and spiritually refresh the group.
The second snare is to reestablish man-made structure as a framework to order the release of the Spirit among the group. This can happen entirely within the family group or by connecting the group to a leadership organization that is not free of man-made structure. The group could be a traditional church that is not yet changed or it could be an apostolic or prophetic network that is emerging but is also not yet fully free of man-made structure that impedes the headship of Christ flowing through the Spirit.
Christ Jesus is today flowing His life as apostle through prepared and selected elders who are apostles sent to oversee the ekklesia. The supernatural wisdom of God flows from them to the groups to help with foundational understanding and direction. The discernment of the prophet is needed as well to clearly see and confirm specific situations and encouragement. All of the gifts of the Spirit of Christ are needed. Some will be resident within the group but others will be transient. Several apostles or prophets may be sent from time to time to impart to a family group or gathering of groups and will relate as part of the God-family. All of this is to be ordered by the head of the ekklesia, Christ Jesus. The kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit.
God is Spirit.
The apostolic headquarters is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. The leadership of Christ flows by the Spirit through the sons of God on earth who walk in the Spirit. We need to remember that God is Spirit. Jesus was Spirit in heaven with Father who is Spirit. The Spirit Christ Jesus became a man on earth and eventually returned again to earth as Sprit to abide in a many-membered Body. Yet, He remains at the throne in heaven. There is no problem for Sprit God to be in all places at any time.
From Pentecost onward it is possible for Godís people to walk in the Spirit. The first century apostles were examples of walking in the Spirit. The power, wisdom, and sacrificial love of Christ Jesus lived within their beings and did the works of Christ Jesus according to the will and way of the Father. They are recorded examples of apostolic elders. Apostles today will move by the same power, in the same love and wisdom by the same Spirit.
Elders with the gifts of prophets, evangelist, shepherds and teachers will operate from the same Spirit as those gifted as apostle. Only their functions are different. All of these are simply the work of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit leading, equipping and edifying the body into love and oneness with God. They are NOT a separate class of believer. Without the work of the Spirit of Christ we all can do nothing.
1 Cor 12:12-13: For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Rom 12:4: For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
From the youngest to the oldest, all in the Body of Christ are brethren one with another and with Christ Jesus in the God-Family. All who have been added to the family are connected by the spiritual bloodline of our Father through Christ Jesus. In the God-family there is no longer male or female, bond or free, Jew or Gentile nor any other division that would cause one member to have dominion over another. Yes, in the natural human existence there are all these things and there are offices and men ruling over men. But in the spiritual reality in which we live and move, as we walk in the Spirit, these things do not exist. The only vertical distinction is maturity and it is temporary. The heir of all is like a servant only until he matures.
Mat 23:8-10: "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ."
Heb 2:11: "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,"
God gave dominion on earth to mankind but God did not give man dominion over other men.
In the first century, there were those who called themselves apostles and were not. There are those today who do the same. Beware of so called apostolic networks that set up a hierarchy of rule and revert to the same errors of man-made systems of government that brought the demise of the spiritual ekklesia of the past. Walking in the Spirit and God-family life was replaced with religious systems of men over men that was called spiritual authority. The false two-class system of clergy and laity is attempting to be implemented again in some man-made apostolic networks. Even networks that begin functioning by the Sprit can easily slip into human organization, rule and leadership while claiming to be Spirit-led.
Rev 2:2 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars"
Apostolic connections are vital. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to connect us into close family style groups and also with extended family. We must receive the itinerant elders gifted as apostles, teachers and prophets who will help the local elders bring oversight and connections to the Body.
Keep on pursuing love.
It never fails.