Year 2 Day 155
Read - Matthew 10v1-4
Message - Scott Woodburn
As the book of Acts comes to a close we remind ourselves that the “Acts” in question are the acts of the Apostles. Luke’s second book therefore concerns itself with what the Apostles of Jesus Christ did after the Lord’s Ascension. The Apostles are named in four places, Matthew 10v2-4, Mark 3v16-19, Luke 6v14-16 & Acts 1v13. The lists mention the Apostles that everyone remembers and those who we know little about. They are Simon Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.
But who were these men? Most of us know John and certainly Peter but have little idea about Bartholomew or Thaddeus. In Acts we are told that the church was devoted to the teaching of the Apostles and Paul would write in Ephesians that the church was built on the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles. But why are the Apostles so important in the history of the church? Why should we listen to them?
Understanding the office of the Apostle helps us to understand its importance. There are no Apostles today. Their ministry was foundational and therefore they only existed for a limited period of time in the history of Christ’s church. Some may argue otherwise, but Scripture is clear that the modern day “apostles” do not and cannot meet the Biblical requirements for the office.
The Apostles were those men who had been an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (Acts 1v22; Acts 10v39-41; 1 Corinthians 9v1; 1 Corinthians 15v7-8) As the Apostles moved to replace Judas Iscariot, Peter said “So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” (Acts 1v21-22)
The Apostles were those men directly appointed by Jesus (Mark 3v14; Luke 6v13; Acts 1v1,24; Acts 10v41; Galatians 1v1) Mark tells is that Jesus “appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.” (Mark 3v14-15)
Finally, the Apostles were men able to confirm their office and the Gospel with miraculous signs, called “the signs of the Apostles” (Matthew 10v1-2; Acts 1v5-8; Acts 2v43; Acts 4v33; Acts 5v12; Acts 8v14; 2 Corinthians 12v12; Hebrews 2v3-4) Paul reminded his opponents in Corinth that “the signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.” Apostles could speak in other languages. They could raise the dead. They could heal the sick.
Two thousand years later we can be incredibly thankful for the ministry of the Apostles. They lived troubled lives and most died in horrific ways. Yet their ministry was not a failure. They went as Christ’s representatives into a hostile world and the church grew as thousands called upon the Saviour. We have considered their Acts and over the next few weeks we will consider the men themselves. Today we are thankful for their witness, from Matthew to Revelation we have the God inspired and preserved testimony of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection. The Apostles preached Christ crucified and truly the world was not worthy of such men.
Q42 What is the sum of the ten commandments? The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.