Now when the Apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. — Acts 8: 14–17
The Apostles act in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us attest this before all human beings.
Acts 8: 14–17 is one of those texts in which the significance of the Apostle ministry for the church of Christ becomes evident. Our Bible text relates that many people in Samaria converted to the gospel. These people were then also baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And yet, Apostles Peter and James were called to come and complete the baptism of water by dispensing the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles are ambassadors of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ called the Apostles in order to preach the gospel. It was for this purpose that He had sent them out into all the world. The early Christian Apostles fulfilled this commission and even gave their lives for the gospel. Today’s preaching about Jesus as the Lord is based on the preaching of the early Christian Apostles, which is only contained in the writings of the New Testament. These writings show how we are to speak of Jesus Christ, namely as the Lord, who has sacrificed His life for the sinner, who has resurrected, and who will return.
The Apostles of today have likewise been sent by Jesus Christ and proclaim this simple message in the power of the Holy Spirit. They have received the commission from Jesus Christ to ensure the purity of this preaching. This is the only way that the congregation can be prepared for the return of the Lord.
It is not only the dispensation of the gift of the Holy Spirit that is associated with the authority of the Apostles, but rather the dispensation of all the sacraments. Here we are reminded of the great commission, in which the Apostles were instructed to baptize all nations. The Apostles make it clear how sacraments are to be dispensed in the proper manner, and what significance they have for our salvation. As such they are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4: 1).
Testimony of the apostle ministry
New Apostolic Christians who have been taught by the Apostle ministry and have received the fulness of the sacraments are not to be silent about this! Rather they are to testify of this to others in both word and deed.
- We testify that the Apostle ministry is part of the church of Christ and that it is to be active within the church until the return of Jesus.
- Through our conduct we testify that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to reinforce this gift within us and allow it to be more clearly revealed in us. It manifests itself in our love for God and other human beings.
- We testify that we receive the power to overcome evil in Holy Communion. We make the earnest endeavour to avoid evil and lead a life in accordance with the gospel.
Our declaration of belief in the Apostle ministry of the present brings to expression that Jesus Christ is also active in great power in His church and that He equips it with everything necessary for imparting salvation.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on 19 June 2016 at Midrand Congregation.