Kingdom Lifestyle Ministries International
Kingdom Lifestyle Ministries International

The Apostolic & Prophetic Church – Forming A sent One

Article by: Travis Ripley (Apostle of Christ)

I would like to dedicate this writing to our late apostle, John Boney. I knew John for over 40 years. He was a precious brother, a good friend, and a faithful servant of the Lord. He was the embodiment of what this scripture means. “ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” A true apostle of Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for all he imparted into my life.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

John 20: 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Isaiah 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphim’s unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

I thought that I would write an article concerning the apostolic-prophetic church.

If the apostles and prophets are the foundation on which the church is built, then we must conclude that the church Jesus is building today is an apostolic-prophetic church. This is both foundational (that which all other ministry builds upon), and intrinsic (that which belongs to the essential nature and constitutes the whole.)

Simply said, if the apostolic and prophetic are its foundations, and its constitution, then it must hold to and contain within its own makeup what is apostolic and prophetic in nature and character.

The church IS apostolic and prophetic. It must bear witness to the world in the very spiritual substance and expression of what is apostolic and prophetic. It must be absolutely for God.

It must be absolute in its power, purpose, and passion. An apostle and prophet in their very makeup are those whose lives are absolutely God’s, or they forfeit the right to bear that distinction in their calling. They live absolutely and utterly for the glory of God. For them to live is Christ. It cannot be otherwise and still bear the name. So also is the church. They live solely for the glory of God, and they obey absolutely.

If the church fails in its character and witness to the world as an apostolic-prophetic entity, then God’s purpose in its locality cannot be fulfilled. It cannot in its foundational makeup be merely evangelistic, or be formed on a pastoral-teaching makeup and be faithful in its witness to the world.

These two foundational ministries are essential to communicate the sense of the eternal will and mind of God to the community of faith.  They call men beyond themselves and their gifting, to God, and to God alone.

If a fellowship lacks this essential and foundational ingredient it will soon lose itself to the status quo of the social need in which it resides. It may well serve men, but not serve God. It will be need-oriented, rather than purpose oriented. It will not live unto God, but unto men. This is the great modern tragedy of the church.

If the Lord Himself declared the need of the prophetic spirit of Elijah as essential to the restoration of the earth: it is self-evident that spirit must first reside in the instrument called to bear witness in the earth. There must be a return to the apostolic-prophetic faith and reality within the church, before there can be such a witness manifested in the world to the nations.

We must first be restored, before we can restore others. The prophetic-apostolic standard must be raised up again in the church. This will require more than merely messages on apostolic-prophetic ministry. It requires apostolic and prophetic men and women who embody these values in themselves.

These terms apostolic and prophetic have been bandied around too glibly. I think their value should be jealously upheld and guarded lest they become cliches that just become empty-valueless terms. God founds his church upon such values. They are holy and they are wholly God’s. They should not be carelessly handled by anyone, especially a carnal church serving worldly values.

God needs to strike our hearts with a reverence for these values, that he obviously holds a reverence for in his own heart. These issue forth from his own being. His habitation for eternity rests upon these foundations. Beware, lest we take up these things on our lips too lightly.

God’s ultimate purpose rests upon ultimate values. They must be wrought within his people-the church. Not only is the church called to contain that which is ultimate and eternal, but it must express these values to a world that s founded upon the expedient.

Jesus came as the ultimate intention, will, and desire of God. He came to a nation that had taken on the flavor of the culture around them. A church without the ultimate purposes of God being revealed in her midst is not relevant to the immediate purpose.  They are involved in the expedient, that which is necessary for the moment. Sometimes the momentary does not equate to that which is eternal.

Jesus came to gather his people back to the ultimate intention of the Father. But their focus had moved from being a prophetic entity with a responsibility to the nation to be a faithful witness, to a people so bound by their present distress their focus could not go beyond their own self- interests.

They were erring in heart and stumbling in judgment. Their hearts were veiled by selfish ambition. They refused to turn to Christ, so the veil remained. They were truly a people blinded by the darkness that was in them. They called their darkness light, and refused the true light that had come into their world. And when what you hold to be truth is in fact error, and the light by which you judge reality is in fact the darkness of your own reprobate mind-how great is that darkness?

How great is it? You call evil good and good evil. And you miss the hour of your visitation from God. The kingdom is then taken away from you and given to a people who will bring forth the fruit of the kingdom. The fruit is being a people whose only reason for being is to live for the purpose of God. They become a people who exist solely for the glory of God. They then receive and reveal the life of Christ. They are sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation among whom they shine as lights in the world.

All that God does has his fullness as the outcome. That purpose is to be filled with all the fullness of God. This is the apostolic and prophetic call that goes forth from God to lay the proper foundation in the church. This call at work in the people of God not only sets out and brings forth the revelation of God’s purpose, it demands from the people of God that the whole center and circumference of their lives must be related to that purpose. All that they are and do must be in accordance to the ultimate purpose of God in Christ.

That calls for radical and painful adjustments in their lives. That is why most churches refuse the present relevancy of these foundational ministries. But only as this radical adjustment takes place can it cause the church to be relevant to the present hour. Without an eternal perspective, we are ruled by the present moment and its present need. They do not know how this moment finds its true perspective in the ultimate end of God’s eternal plan.

We tend to promote programs that fix the present problem (what is the problem with that?) Most of them are temporary at best. And more often than not are birthed out of the mind of man, because of momentary present pressure. Now the momentum of the program is the arm of flesh.

If it was not birthed out of the Spirit with the eternal perspective in mind, it ends up being a hindrance to the true purpose of God. People become trapped in the program of the church, rather than being freed to pursue eternal reality.

The eternal view of things is the only view for the apostolic and prophetic person. That view must be held by the church if it is apostolic and prophetic in its values.

These terms apostolic and prophetic find their value in the spirit of humility. These realities can only come forth out of a broken and contrite heart. That creates a man or woman who has the truth of God wrought in their inward parts. Heavenly character is wrought in an earthen vessel. The messenger and the message become one.

This kind of sending of apostolic and prophetic being released in the earth calls for an utter devastation of the vessel. It does not destroy the earthen vessel, but it devastates. The cross is in the heart and at the heart of this kind of ministry. It derails and curtails all selfish ambition. Everything you trust in that is not Him is removed. It devastates every confidence you have in You.

It consists of an earthly vessel dropped into the consuming fire until all that is earthly is consumed. What is found in the vessel after such a purging is the heavenly treasure of Christ. It devastates a man of his own ability to be anything, or do anything. It is Christ wrought within the vessel through the process of the cross. There is one who lives beyond the purging and purifying work of the cross, but it is not the soulish adamic man seeking his own. It is the spiritual heavenly man who lives in Christ and Christ is the life of the man.

This is one always delivered unto death, so that the life of Christ can be made manifest. So death works in such a one in order for that life to be revealed in others. The cross devastates everything that refuses to hold to the heavenly measure. This is perhaps the reason for the saying: Many went-but few were sent.

How many who run today know anything of the holy presence of God, or of heavenly protocol? That protocol consists of a man wrestling in prayer through perplexity and pain. The perplexity of the processing of God, and the pain of waiting. Sought of God and wrought of God, until brought by God to an utter and complete end of himself, and even his spiritual aspirations. God is securing the safety of his holy Word that is to be carried in this clay vessel.

Isaiah was brought by God to this apostolic sending. Before there is a cry “ Here am I send me,”  there is first a cry “ Woe is me I am undone.” That word in Hebrew is daw-maw. It means desolation, destruction, failure, and brought to silence.

Isaiah says I have nothing to say, unless you say it. I cannot say it unless, and until you take the pieces of this broken man before you, and put me back together again. I can finally see the true state of what I am- a man of unclean lips. And God help me, and help them: I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips. I dwell with those who are just like me. I am no better, and they are no worse.

And until the purifying work of the cross touches these lips and puts our boasting in our self to death: how can we speak a word from a holy God, to a people just like ourselves.? This encounter must precede the sending, or else we go in the boasting of men who think their religious verbiage gives them some kind of advantage over others.

Isaiah in his boasting could pronounce woe on others, but in his holy endeavor of waiting upon God, he encounters the consuming fire that calls forth his own unclean condition. All carnality must be consumed. It must be confronted by the apostolic man, or woman who desires to be sent. This is the encounter that safeguards the minister, and the work of ministry in proclaiming God’s Word.

This is what removes the ambition of carnal men. This encounter takes the man apart, and reassembles him again to make a vessel fit for the master’s use. How else other than this process of undoing and remaking can a human vessel stand forth before men of a like kind of himself and declare, this is the Word of the Lord. Unless that Word is written into the inward parts of the sent man, how can such a claim be valid. Only truth written in the inward parts has any validity as the Word of the Lord, when it passes through lips of clay.

The Word from the lips then is only the effect of the purifying cause-the furnace of the Lord in the heart purifying that word seven times. Only a word that is pure has any power. Only that kind of opening the heart to stand and listen, after the process of burning in the furnace, can truly be said to be an apostolic sending. The treasure is in an earthen vessel. It is the treasure in the vessel that matters.

A true apostolic-prophetic sending can only become a reality when the one like the Son of man appears in the furnace. It is Christ within. Christ being formed in the vessel is what gives the Word of the Lord worth and power. It is Not I-the egotistical Adamic man, but Christ the one of humility and grace who lives. Christ is communicating the heart of God to men. That is apostolic sending.

The work of apostolic sending is very simple. The work of all New Testament ministry is to join people to the Lord. It is the apostolic burden to present Christ to the world, and unveil Christ to the church. This complexity of sending has a corresponding perplexity to be borne by those who hear. This kind of hearing, of that kind of Word, can only come forth from the Lord. And it only comes to the hearts of those who are willing to bear the reproach of hearing such a sent one. This Word is given to penetrate the heart, and bring into a heavenly upheaval the lives of those who hear it.

You cannot truly hear a sent one and continue as usual. It calls forth a determination and examination of the heart. It ignites in the heart to produce repentance unto godliness. Apostolic men are both emptied men, and filled men. They are emptied of self and filled with Christ.

God plants such a man in the crossroads of men’s lives. They are there in the crossroads to point to the cross road. They stand in the path of life as searchlights-searching the hearts of men, and then as lighthouses to illuminate the path of the seeker, as he navigates to the safe harbor of security in Christ alone.     They cause men to turn from the seductive and destructive path of selfish ambition and worldly pursuits and pleasures. They know the only true way to live as man is to live in Christ.

The sent one brings a message of repentance. Not a message of mere worldly sorrow but a setting forth of a new birth and a new life. They call for a repentance from the old and an obedience to the new. They are not need oriented. They are purpose oriented. They understand the gospel is more about securing God’s eternal purpose, than it is about securing man’s eternal happiness. His eternal purpose is not secured for the man who hears, but in the man who hears. He is not restoring glory to the man, but his glory in the man.

This is not about what man lost in God, but what God lost in the man. When man fell God lost his image, his glory, and his authority in the man. The sent one is sent forth to recover it. For all have sinned and come short of-not man’s glory, but all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jesus did not come to recover what man lost, but what God lost. Christ in you is the hope of God recovering his glory. This is the foundation that must be recovered. As the apostle Paul declared, “ Who is sufficient for these things.” Only real men-sent men-godly men are sufficient. Others need not apply.

Being crucified with Christ is not optional. No one can be sent on any other basis. Such sending makes mandatory the reconstitution of the vessel. The cross is never optional. It is with God always optimal. The sent one has learned that which brings satisfaction to the heart of God. And God is only well-pleased in his own Son. And that corresponding delight in Christ is found in the heart of the sent one.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

In order to be identified with the heart of God there had to be an unlearning of all that was taught of man’s wisdom, or acquired by religious training. All things that were seen as gain must now become mere garbage in the eyes of the sent one of God. All that was gain must now become loss.

No religious ambition can remain in the heart. All that is earthly , including what was once considered spiritual gain is devastated and brought to nothing when compared to the glory of Christ. All of the former has no glory when compared to the glory that excels, which is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

Everything that once had its point of reference in man, or in man’s achievement is dung when compared to knowing Christ and him crucified. The glory of his kingdom come is secured in the cross. This is the place of triumph. And if the rulers of this world had known how utter and total this triumph would work out to the destruction of man’s inherent pride in his own ability- they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. His cross secures the ultimate victory. For it is the wisdom and the power of God.

Most of what the church world holds dear must be laid aside and abandoned at the cross. We must live crucified, or we will not live at all.

A sent one seeks reality. He has seen what is eternally real. He speaks what is eternally true. He calls men to that which is eternally relevant. He adjusts men to reality, as it is seen and known in God. A sent one is not his own. The love of Christ compels him to set before men the truth that cannot be compromised. Such a one calls people to Christ likeness.

In order to prophesy. In order to proclaim. In order to call men to God, he must digest the Word of the Lord into his own being. The Word becomes a fire shut up in his bones. He carries the burden of the Lord. He must perceive reality as the Lord perceives it. That is painful work. To live within the context of the cross is painful, but absolutely necessary.

The sent one bears the sword of the Lord- the Word that separates soul and spirit. It causes the carnal and the spiritual to be separated, and that separation begins in their own heart. Their life is a continual burnt-offering. The fire upon the altar of the heart must be kept burning. It shall never go out.

Hebrews 1: 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

So it is in the one sent by God. His messengers are sent as flames of fire to burn up the chaff, and to purify the gold. When a man has been in the fire of God, he cannot help but burn. And as he burns, the image of Christ is seen in the flame.

In the nature of Christ……Travis Ripley

 

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