The Apostles – what was their purpose? Why did Jesus call them?
So far we have covered what Cessationism is and isn’t, who The Apostles were and the uniqueness of their position, and the power that came with it. Today, we’ll be looking at why The Apostles were special.
Scripture is abundantly clear about the purpose for this office or gift to the Church.
1. They were to be Jesus’ personal, eyewitnesses (a big deal in ancient Middle-Eastern culture). They were to bear witness of Christ’s claims, life, death, resurrection, etc.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
2. To be Jesus’ first missionaries – preaching the gospel and spreading it around the world.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” – Matthew 28:19
3. To establish and organize the Church in Jesus’ absence, and along with Him, to serve as the foundation of the Church.
“…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.” – Romans 1:5 (Emphasis Added)
“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 18:18
Matthew 18:18 does not mean what most people think or say it does (spiritual warfare). It is actually talking about the Apostles’ authority to permit or not permit anything for the Church. Jesus is saying here that whatever they decide will be ratified or backed up by Heaven.
An excellent example that made it into the biblical record is in Acts 15 where the Apostles met, discussed and eventually gave their decision on a contentious matter in the Church at that time, which was to be binding on all the churches from then till now – Gentile believers are not required to keep the Law of Moses. If they had decided otherwise, the Christian faith and practice would look very different today.
4. To deliver divine revelation (the Gospel, New Testament teachings).
“…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” – Acts 2:42 (Emphasis added)
“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, “While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” – Hebrews 2:3-4 (Emphasis added)