Mark 3:13-19
Luke 10:1-2
Acts 13:1-3

The noun ‘apostolos’ appears 79 times in the NT; 10 times in the gospels, 28 in Acts, 38 in the letters and 3 in Revelation. This word implies three things that are important for us to understand.

First, it refers to and means ‘one who is sent.’ As Luke has it, first in chapter 9, the 12 apostles are sent out by Jesus to accomplish His work and in the next chapter, the number of Apostles sent out increases 6 fold as Jesus sends 72 on their way to share His grace with others. Thus an ‘Apostle’ of Jesus is one who is sent out by Him to accomplish His work.

Second, more than the act of sending, this word includes the idea of the authorization of the one doing the sending. In the Great Commission that we reflected upon last week, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me; therefore, go!” (Matthew 28:19). Those who go are therefore, as Paul writes the Corinthians, (II 5:20) “Ambassadors of Christ, God is making His appeal through us.” As an ambassador for the US has the authority to act on behalf of the President so as ambassadors of Christ we act on behalf of and in Jesus stead.

Third, as time passed the people to whom the term ‘apostle’ applied to increased. To be sure, at first, only Jesus is referred to as an apostle. Then the term begins to be applied to the 12 chosen by Jesus to be His disciples. But as time went on, the term began to be applied to anyone who is sent in the name of the Lord to represent His Kingdom. Acts refers to Paul and then Barnabus as apostles and as he closes his letter to the Romans with personal greetings, he mentions Andronicus and Junia, people we don’t otherwise know, except as apostles.

In other words, we would say today that the word apostle can be applied to anyone who is sent by Jesus into the world as His representative. And that therefore applies to any and all of us who not only should consider ourselves disciples (followers) of Christ but also apostles of Christ . . . Apostles all!

Sometimes we get discouraged with our station in life.

We sometimes reminisce about what our lives might have been, if only. If only I had listened to my parents, if only I would have pursued more education, if only I would have chosen a different career path, if only I had followed my dream, if only I could do it all over again, knowing then what I know now, I could have made something more of myself.

If you have ever entertained those kind of thoughts (and who hasn’t) what I want you to realize today is that you could not have a higher calling than the calling of being an apostle of the Lord Christ.

Of all the impressive and stately titles that any of us might have obtained, Abbot, Admiral, Archbishop, Baron, Bishop, Buddha, Cardinal, Captain, Commissioner, Dean, Duke, Duchess, Emperor, Field Marshall, Governor, Highness, Imam, Judge, King, Lady, Mayor, National Security Advisor, Pastor, President, Priest or Pope, Rabbi, Sultan, Tetrarch, or Vicar; none carry more grandeur, more magnificence, and more weight than Apostle of the Lord Jesus; one who is sent under His authority and in His name to share His grace with others.

And that title my friends has been conveyed upon you!

Today, the Lord of His Church is sending out His Apostles into this community to represent Him as we share God’s grace with our community.

To go out and spend some time painting some playground equipment may not at first glance seem to be very important or even worthy of our time and effort, but as the old hymn humbly declares Little Is Much When God Is in It. And make no mistake about it, God is in it! Because where the Church goes, so the Lord Jesus goes!

The great missionary explorer, David Livingstone, served in Africa from 1840 until his death in 1873. On one occasion, the famous nineteenth-century missionary and explorer arrived at the edge of a large territory that was ruled by a tribal chieftain. According to tradition, the chief would come out to meet him and Livingstone could go forward only after a gift exchange was made. The chief would choose any item of Livingstone’s personal property while giving the missionary something of his own in return. Livingstone had few possessions with him, but laid them all before the chief; his clothes, his books, his watch, even the goat that provided him with milk (since chronic stomach problems kept him from drinking the local water) and to Livingston’s dismay, the chief took his goat. In return, the chief gave him a carved walking stick. Livingstone was most disappointed. He began to gripe to God about what he viewed as a stupid walking cane. What could it do for him compared to the goat that kept him well? Then one of the local men explained, “That’s not a walking stick; it’s the king’s very own scepter, and with it you will find entrance to every village in our country. The king has honored you greatly.” The man was right: With the Chief’s scepter in his hand all Central Africa was opened to the grace of God through David Livingstone. 1

We don’t carry a wood walking stick. We have a paintbrush. And that paintbrush opens up possibilities for us to be involved in someone’s eternity. The way I look at these Gather to Scatter opportunities is that they are a down-payment on somebody’s eternity.

In his book, John Maxwell recounts that how years ago a manager of the New York Yankees wanted rookie players to know what a privilege it was to play for the team and represent the city of New York. “Boys, it’s an honor just to put on the New York pinstripes. So when you put them on, play like world champions. Play like Yankees. Play proud.” 2

Boys and girls, it’s an honor to put on the uniform of CrossPointe Community Church! Let’s go out there today and play like the champions God has created us to be in His Son Jesus!

Apostles All!

1 John Beukema, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; source: Robert Lewis and Wayne Cordeiro, The Culture Shift(Jossey-Bass, 2005), pp. 1-2

2 Maxwell, John and Parrott, Leslie. 25 Ways to Win with People: How to Make Others Feel Like a Million Bucks. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, © 2005] page 41.