Not My Usual Clean and Somewhat Classy Blog…
Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 1-2
Acts 1:1 KJV. The former treatise (The same Greek word used in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word and the word with God and the word was God.” The word is “logos” meaning a discourse) have I made, O Theophilus (lover of God), of all (many, or “the principle portion”) that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Acts 1:2 KJV. Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:”
Two Wings of a Single Bird
Jesus began to both “do and teach.” Some go to extremes to “do” while others are extreme in “teaching.” Those who “do” could look down their nose at what could be considered dry and dusty teaching. Those who fill notebooks with things taught could be sarcastic about those who “do” much. Oh, they are a mile wide and an inch deep.
Neither extreme is reflected in Luke’s description: Do and Teach
To “do” indicates action. Jesus’ ministry and the continued ministry of the early church was active. On the other hand, the word “teach” is didasko. From the same root comes the word didache translated “doctrine.” Doctrine describes a taught applicable systematic theology. The early church spent significant time teaching.
With Jesus there was action and doctrine. A bird must have two wings in order to fly. The church must also have the two wings of “action” and “instruction.” Seek balance – “to do and teach.” Both are necessary. To be over-balanced toward one or the other leaves the church weak.
In Acts 1, verse 2: “Until the day in which he was taken up, (40 days after the resurrection) after that he through (the channel of an act) the Holy Ghost had given commandments (charged – when someone is ordained to preach they are given a charge to carry out the responsibilities of being a preacher of the gospel) unto the apostles (a delegate or emissary; specifically someone who has been given power to speak and act on behalf of another, someone to whom God has delegated power) whom he had chosen:”
Notice, “. . . he through the Holy Ghost . . .” – Even while Jesus had not yet ascended, the Holy Ghost (Jesus’ spirit, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of the Father – working in the earth today) began a work. A channel is what something flows in to get from one place to another. They heard Jesus speak the sentences, but the impact of the commandments came to them through the Holy Ghost. In the book of Acts and now, we do not see Jesus physically, nor do we hear Him speak the sentences. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ commands and directives still come to us. How? The channel of those commands and directives is the Holy Ghost. Several times in Acts there is, “the spirit said.” (Paul not being allowed to go to Macedonia is a perfect example.)
An elected official is given a charge to fulfill the responsibilities of the office to which he has been elected. To accept a charge is to say, I’ll fulfill these responsibilities even when no person is looking over my shoulder. I won’t need to be reminded each day.
In giving such commands, Jesus was saying, “I’m not going to be here to micro-manage your actions. But you are being given responsibilities. Take care of those responsibilities without me having to be there to give you a list of tasks for each day.
Are we keeping our charge as Christians, as influencers, as apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, or evangelists? A charge never leaves you. Wherever you are the charge from the now distant instructor remains.
Apostles – singular or plural is used nine times in the synoptic gospels. The same word is used 69 times in Acts and the Epistles.
Are there apostles in the contemporary church? In Ephesians, Paul lists gifts God gave to the church to build up His church to accomplish the ministry. The list includes apostles. Interesting that this would be included in the list if there would be no more people to whom God delegated power. There was and is power delegated from God operating in the world today.
Perhaps the word has been denigrated because it is too easily self-declared. As a pastor, I’m confident in being introduced by the word, “Pastor.” In my life, I’ve fulfilled the job description of a pastor found in Ezekiel. A shepherd feeds, seeks, heals, and leads a flock. If you were to ask a few thousand people about Carlton Coon, particularly where we have served, they would tell you, “He is a pastor.”
For one to declare themselves an apostle, should there not be in their life a consistent demonstration of the power that has been delegated to an apostle? Read through the book of Acts to get a sense of how the delegated power was exercised. As the apostles operated, people were healed, demons cast out, the experience of the Samaritans was evaluated, etc.
Words matter! Don’t cheapen words that God uses by intent with a specific definition associated with the word. Be careful declaring yourself to be something if others do not see you in the same light.
To contact Carlton L. Coon Sr. as a speaker, for a guest blog post, or podcast - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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