Series: Ministry of Reconciliation
Sun am 27 November 2011 – Kobus Swart
2 Cor. 10:4-6; Matt. 10:40; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:6; Rev. 4:1-2; Rev. 5:1-6; Isa. 9:7; Rev. 7:4, 9; John 4:16
Since the First Reformation about 500 years ago, the Church has come through various seasons. One of the areas which experienced constant change, was the way in which the Church engaged with the secular world, ie. how to communicate the gospel to the non-Christian. Over the last few decades or more, it has become clear that a new Reformation was needed. And although a true Reformation affects a much wider area, attention has gradually shifted to see why the Church is no longer the salt of the earth and light to the world. What we find world-wide is that there’s a quietness on the Church scene. There is no new thing, or even a revival. Some try to re-activate old revivals and things that used to work.
A paradigm shift is necessary once again. The kind of Reformation that is needed is that which brings correction to the inner mechanism that gives shape and form or outer image; a structural adjustment; a conversion of the mind. Unless we understand the word “reformation” we will try to do things without having changed the inner operational system.
The good news is that over the last two decades or more, a new season arrived in the Church. This has become known as the Apostolic Reformation. And although it started small, this Reformation is growing in strength and momentum. Throughout Church history we have seen that before God starts a reformation, He releases an apostolic anointing. He sends one with an apostolic mandate. Examples of this include men like Moses, Martin Luther, Calvin etc. Of course Jesus is our greatest example who brought the New Covenant to the world. To limit the word “apostolic” to a title is to miss the whole point. Where apostles are received a shift takes place, mindsets change. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. This is a key to understanding the apostolic mandate: for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. These powerful fortresses are lodged in the mind, the way we think. We are (Paul is talking on behalf of the apostolic company) destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete (2 Cor. 10:4-6). As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. It takes more than a nice sermon. Ultimately it is through apostolic impartation that we will find a change in the way we think. Unless we understand repentance that way, we will not understand anything.
And God has placed in the church first of all apostles,… (1 Cor. 12:28). Why do we need an apostolic mandate? 1) It removes religious opposition and politics. 2) There is a breakthrough capability that cuts through and makes a way where there is none. Evangelists have done a great job in bringing the lost to Christ, but at present the influence of the Church upon the surrounding societies is insignificant. 3) The apostolic lays a foundation for the next generation. 4) It acts like an arrowhead in the reformation process.
At the core of any reformation that comes from God there is always the release, the revelation and the function of an apostolic anointing. Previous mindsets of evangelism need a radical upgrade. Unless the Church is freed from sin consciousness, we will never be able to help the people in the world. That is why we need a real apostolic transformation to change and break those patterns.
What is needed in this season more than anything else is a view from heaven. True apostles in the season demands a view from the finished position.
“Come up here!” is the call from above. Our response would be that of John on the isle of Patmos: “Immediately I was in the Spirit”. (Rev. 4:1-2). John is viewing things from the realm of spirit and looking down from heaven. That is what the Church is now called to do; if not the whole Church at least a remnant must press through to the position explained in these verses. How will that change our perception? “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if (Rev. 5:1-6). There is something required in this ministry of reconciliation where we see it from the heavenly perspective and not from the earthly. There is something of the lion and the lamb,which must be in us; the boldness and fearlessness, yes, but with the meekness of Christ the Lamb of God. This means I have to see it from a heavenly perspective. Many see government as hard rules and regulations but true government brings peace (Is.9:7).
What comes up in your mind when you see the word Judgment? The word judgment refers to the standard of heaven being applied on earth. It is to the spiritually mature and the ambassadors that God has given the ministry of reconciliation. Nations are waiting to be set free who have been held captive by the religious understanding of Old Testament Scriptures. God is now saying again, “I am going to bring to the Church, first apostles” because God is bringing a total reformation to the Church and is,therefore, confronting the religious thinking patterns of the Church which keep people trapped in their religious history instead of being released. God wants the Church to participate in the unwrapping ministry (Cf John 11:44). In Christ, God has reconciled mankind to Himself.
How did the Father send the Son? God so loved! Everything Jesus did was because of His Father’s love for the world. You and I cannot move in the ministry of reconciliation without divine agape love. You must love as Jesus loved; it is part of the ministry of reconciliation. Judgment will start in the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). Why is God now applying the standard to the household? He wants us to move in that same ministry from a heavenly perspective.