The Apostle’s Doctrine – Part 2

| The Apostles Doctrine – Part 1 |

 The Twelve Witnesses Of The Apostles Doctrine

Acts 1:22 — From the baptism of John at the outset until the day when He was taken up from among us—one of these men must join with us and become a witness to testify to His resurrection.

Judas had fallen out. He was the son of perdition. There had to be a full number of apostles to bear witness. This is where Matthias was included by casting lots. Twelve is the number of “a foundation” and of “government”. Matthias and Justus were with Jesus and the apostles from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, among which one needed to be chosen in Judas’ place. Not only this, but they were witnesses of the resurrected Christ.

Acts 1:26 — And they drew lots [between the two], and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to and counted with the eleven apostles (special messengers).

The distinctiveness of the Twelve is also borne out by John’s vision of the New Jerusalem that comes down from God out of heaven—a picture of God’s redeemed and triumphant people in the book of Revelation, chapter 21. 

John describes this city in glorious detail and says that the wall of the city has twelve foundations. This city is the Church of Jesus Christ which is built on the foundations—the apostles and Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.

Revelation 21:14 — Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Testify to What?

The testimony or witness was to His resurrection. This is why Matthias was added to the twelve.

Acts 1:22 — From the baptism of John at the outset until the day when He was taken up from among us—one of these men must join with us and become a witness to testify to His resurrection.

David’s Prophetic Declaration

Not only were the apostles witnesses to Christ’s resurrection, but also David the prophet.

Acts 2:31 — He, foreseeing this, spoke [by foreknowledge] of the resurrection of the Christ (the Messiah) that He was not deserted [in death] and left in Hades (the state of departed spirits), nor did His body know decay or see destruction.

David declared that the Messiah’s body was not left to corrupt nor was His soul left in Hades but, He was resurrected from the dead by the power of God.

Resurrection Message

Acts 2:32 — This Jesus God raised up, and of that all we [His disciples] are witnesses.

Their witnessing was His resurrection. This is what separates us from other religions. We believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and He is alive forever more. The scripture does not say you would be a witness of the knowledge of His resurrection, but the witness of His resurrection. The apostles were giving eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Only?

Acts 2:33 — Being therefore lifted high by and to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promised [blessing which is the] Holy Spirit, He has made this outpouring which you yourselves both see and hear.

Jesus was resurrected and lifted high to the right hand of God our Father. The Church needs to begin to witness His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ separates us from others. I was watching an interview with a Muslim teacher who said, “Jesus was a prophet, but Muhammad was a greater prophet.” The difference between Jesus and Muhammad is that Jesus rose from the dead, and is now reigning as King and a high priest and is alive forever more.

The knowledge of His resurrection is not enough. It must move from knowledge to an eyewitness (experiencing) testimony. When that happens, we will see the Holy Spirit come upon the Church and bear His testimony because He was sent to bear testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Acts 3:14-15 — But you denied and rejected and disowned the Pure and Holy, the Just and Blameless One, and demanded [the pardon of] a murderer to be granted to you. But you killed the very Source (the Author) of life, Whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

Believing Without Seeing

Not only did the apostles see the resurrected Christ. The seventy saw Him. The Five hundred saw Him. We are not looking to see the resurrected Jesus Christ to believe, or to increase in faith. We already believe in Him and His resurrection.  The Church doesn’t need convincing to believe, however, it needs the completion of testimony. The first demand of scripture is that we believe without seeing.

John 20:29 — Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe (trust, have faith)? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.

The incident about Thomas is written so that you do not ask for proof to be convinced of His resurrection. Do not be a modern Thomas, especially if you have read or heard the scriptures. Believe and then there will be a completion of the testimony. The Church has received the Spirit to gain the testimony of the resurrection.

Peter’s Witness

Acts 3:14-15 — But you denied and rejected and disowned the Pure and Holy, the Just and Blameless One, and demanded [the pardon of] a murderer to be granted to you. But you killed the very Source (the Author) of life, Whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

Peter declares boldly to the Sanhedrin right in their face that they are eyewitnesses of His resurrection. Was God asking everyone to believe because the apostles preached this? The eye-witness was only half of it. The other half was the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. An apostle is sent out from the right hand of God the Father to be a witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Acts 4:1-2 — AND WHILE they [Peter and John] were talking to the people, the high priests and the military commander of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, Being vexed and indignant through and through because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in [the case of] Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 1:3 — To them also He showed Himself alive after His passion (His suffering in the garden and on the cross) by [a series of] many convincing demonstrations [unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs], appearing to them during forty days and talking [to them] about the things of the kingdom of God.

This was one of the messages of the early church. The leaders of the day were upset with the apostles because they preached and taught the resurrection of the dead in Christ. In fact, after His resurrection, He showed Himself alive to His disciples for forty days with many unquestionable pieces of evidence and taught them. Not only was Christ raised, but also He ascended to the right hand of the Father and received the Kingdom from the Father.

Acts 4:7 — And they set the men in their midst and repeatedly demanded, By what sort of power or by what kind of authority did [such people as] you do this [healing]?

Acts 4:8-10 — Then Peter, [because he was] filled with [and controlled by] the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and members of the council (the Sanhedrin), If we are being put on trial [here] today and examined concerning a good deed done to benefit a feeble (helpless) cripple, by what means this man has been restored to health, Let it be known and understood by all of you, and by the whole house of Israel, that in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, [but] Whom God raised from the dead, in Him and by means of Him this man is standing here before you well and sound in body.

Acts 4:33 — And with great strength and ability and power the apostles delivered their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace (loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) rested richly upon them all.

The apostles of Jesus Christ gave testimony to the resurrection of Him with great power. The leaders of Israel were upset as they knew that Jesus was crucified and dead, so they stopped the apostles from preaching the resurrection of Christ.

Acts 5:28 — Saying, We definitely commanded and strictly charged you not to teach in or about this Name; yet here you have flooded Jerusalem with your doctrine and you intend to bring this Man’s blood upon us.

However, Peter and the other Apostles filled with the Holy Spirit declared:

Acts 5:29 — Then Peter and the apostles replied, We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:30-32 — The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree (cross). God exalted Him to His right hand to be Prince and Leader and Savior and Deliverer and Preserver, in order to grant repentance to Israel and to bestow forgiveness and release from sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and the Holy Spirit is also, Whom God has bestowed on those who obey Him.

The apostles were witnesses of His resurrection. They preached with great power. This was the key to the signs, wonders and miracles in the early church. The apostles received power after the Holy Spirit came upon them and they became powerful witnesses of the resurrected Jesus Christ. This was much more than giving a testimony. It was full of power.

We are called to bear witness to His resurrection. The Church—the remnant bride is called to witness with power. She has descended from the right hand of God.

Stephen

Stephen was not an apostle. He was a deacon and a ministry of help in the government of the Kingdom. He preached like an apostle because He was full of the Holy Spirit. After He proclaimed the works of God in the history of Israel, the Jews were furious and gnashed their teeth against him. The Jews were convicted of what he said, however, they still did not pick stones to stone him to death.

Acts 7:54 — Now upon hearing these things, they [the Jews] were cut to the heart and infuriated, and they ground their teeth against [Stephen].

They would not have killed him if He would not say what he said next. Stephens’s next statement shocked the religious Jews.

Acts 7:55-56 — But he, full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory (the splendor and majesty) of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand; And he said, Look! I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at God’s right hand!

The moment He gave witness of the resurrected Christ standing at the Father’s right hand, the Jews could not bear it and shouted, dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

Acts 7:57-58 — But they raised a great shout and put their hands over their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him, and the witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Stephen became a witness of power which He received when the Holy Spirit came upon him. The witness was everywhere. As the church grows into the things of God, it will begin to bear testimony with power and demonstration of the Spirit. As long as the Church portrays itself as nice with all worldly relevance; she will be powerless.

Persecution Manifests Your Strength

Persecution is a part of your Christian walk. You will find many people who do not like you because you speak the truth. They are happy with their itching ears being tickled by nice sugar-coated sermons. When people in the assembly persecute us for Christ’s doctrine’s sake, we do not go into our closets and hide. This is a process of formation. God will teach you to handle these kinds of people. These people are in your life to help you increase in the things of God and decrease in your flesh and the world. This is the part where you are formed.

Formation Brings Revival

Persecution gives you plenty of opportunities to forgive people and to love people. It demands giving up your will and stretching your faith. It also increases your endurance and patience with the testing of your faith.

The end result: you are being formed into the image of Christ in areas of endurance, love, patience, self-control, forgiveness, unity and much more. He had a greater understanding than many teachers of his day about God and His Christ. This formation brings Restoration, Reformation and Revival.

Stephen Bore Witness

Stephen lifts his eyes into heaven and sees the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Stephen was looking at His master, and being the first martyr of the Church, this gives him the strength to forgive as Jesus forgave.

Acts 7:59-60 — And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit! And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].

The first begotten from the dead receive the spirit of martyrs to follow. This is the only place mentioned where Jesus is seen standing at God’s right hand. Persecution brought Stephen an opportunity to proclaim Christ and the resurrection boldly. This in turn leads to the opening of the heavens and his witness of the resurrected Christ and God’s glory. This strengthens him to forgive all who were stoning him.

The Resurrection is one of the fundamental doctrines the Apostles preached. We will cover other aspects of the Apostles’ doctrine in the upcoming teachings.

Blessing,

Godwin.


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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
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