Who Is an Apostle of Christ?
The apostles of Christ were men who kept company with the Lord Jesus from his baptism until his ascension, and:
· were witnesses to his resurrection (Acts 1:8,22, 23)
· must have seen Jesus Christ and conversed with him (Acts 1:21) · must have been chosen and sent by the Lord (Matthew 10:15; Luke 6:14-16) · were authorised by our Lord to forgive and retain sins (John 20:22,23; Matthew 16:19; 18:18)
· Were able to work signs and wonders and mighty deeds as signs of apostleship (2 Cor 12:12) · must have believed the pure gospel, and walked according to the truth · must have received the power of the holy spirit (Acts 2:4)
There were twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2; Acts 22:14,15) with the above qualifications, and their administration was of the holy spirit through them, so in their word was power for the healing of diseases and sickness (Acts 5:5,10,12; 8:22). They were able to confer spiritual gifts to co- labourers upon laying of their hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6) and gave commandments to their faithful followers as the ambassadors of God on earth.
Therefore the word of reconciliation was committed to the apostles (2 Cor 5:18-20), so that one them could say, "We are of God, he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6). And they were correctly justified in saying so, for Jesus said to them: "It is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you" (Matthew 10:20). Also our Lord said, "He that despiseth me and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me" (Luke 10:16).
Currently, nobody can claim that he is an apostolic successor, or has power on earth to forgive or retain sins. There are those who apply these scriptures to themselves a groundless claim, as groundless as a succession to the rights of the Levitical priesthood. They would be: "False apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor 11:13-15).
Bro Walter Wasike (Mombasa, Kenya)