The Credentials of an Apostle 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on The Credentials of an Apostle 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 12:1-15.

Anybody who makes a prophecy and it does not come true, then they are automatically the false teacher. The Bible tells us God commanded that anyone who claims to be a prophet were to fail in one prophecy.

They were to be condemned. Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders and I want to welcome you to Hopeworth Having Radio broadcast. We’re glad that you can be with us and we’re looking forward to a great time as we study God’s Word.

Today we’re continuing our study in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 11 through 15 and we are going to learn about the credentials of an apostle. There are many people running around saying that they’re an apostle.

Well what does the Bible say about that? So I want us to look into God’s Word and see what those true credentials are. So let’s grab our Bible and let’s begin our study together. We’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 12.

2 Corinthians chapter 12 will be in verse 11 through 15 and as we are going through the book of 2 Corinthians, if you’re just joining us, no we’ve been studying 2 Corinthians for quite some time. We’re in chapter 12 today and we are continuing to learn as the apostle is defending himself.

That’s right. Chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians and chapter 12 are all about the apostle defending his authority, defending his ministry and his credibility before the church and making sure that they understand that he is a legitimate apostle.

Now every once in a while as I’m driving around I will see that churches will have on their sign that apostle so and so is coming to speak at their church. I find that always interesting because as these pastors and teachers are trying to convince people that they are a legitimate apostle, they will be able to speak at their church.

They are apostles that there are different apostles and that there are still apostles today. They really are denying the uniqueness of the ministry of an apostle that was laid out for us in the Scriptures.

And it’s sad to see that so many churches and so many pastors, so many teachers have misled so many about this role of an apostle in the church. When we use the word apostle, it simply means someone who is an emissary or a representative, one who is sent with the authority of the sender.

And of course, kind of very much like an ambassador. When the apostle Paul is dealing with the credentials of an apostle, there is much confusion within the church at Corinth. And we saw this same confusion.

that was in the church at Ephesus. In Revelation 2, verse 2, Jesus said, I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil, and you have tested those who say that they are apostles and are not and have found them liars.

So this confusion of apostleships and who is an apostle, who is not an apostle, what are the credentials of an apostle who is not only evident today in our 21st century that we’re living in, but it was evident in even the early church.

It was evident in the life of the church at Corinth. It was evident in the life at the church at Ephesus. And the scriptures bear this out, and the scriptures confront this. And what I love so much is that Jesus commends the church at Ephesus.

Why does he commend them? Why does he say, great job? He says it because they tested those who say they are apostles. That is that they vetted them, that they tried them in the sense of making sure were they legitimate, were they from God, were they apostles of Christ, or were they self -proclaimed apostles?

The church at Ephesus wonderfully did not allow these apostles, these fake pseudo apostles to infiltrate the church. Unfortunately at Corinth, that’s not true because the false apostles had infiltrated the church.

If you’ll just take your Bible and go back to chapter 11, I just wanted to show you one verse, chapter 11, verse 13. Here the apostle says, for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

You see church, what I want you to know is that is this, that there are false apostles, there are false teachers, there are false prophets, there are false pastors, and unfortunately they can get into good Bible -believing churches.

My goal, my hope that after this message that your discernment and your wisdom and ability to distinguish what is true and what is false will be so much better. Remember this church that whatever God does something or works in a very powerful way that the devil wants to duplicate it, he wants to try to imitate it so that he can draw attention away from God and he can mislead people into a path that leads them to hell.

That’s why in chapter 11, the apostle again says in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 14, no wonder. for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. I’ve said it to you before. I say it to you again, church.

Everything that glitters and glows is not gold. Everything that has the name of Jesus on it is not from heaven. Everyone who claims to represent Christ does not always represent Christ. We have a responsibility to discern that.

We have a responsibility to make sure that we do that, especially those who serve as leaders in the church, elders, deacons, teachers, pastors, as you are serving in the church. It is your job to protect the flock from false teachers.

It is your job to step up and be able to filter the true from the false, the true from the fake. There’s so much false teachers in the church today in its wrecking havoc. It’s destroying many churches.

Churches are falling apart. The sheep are scattered. They have no leadership. They have no direction in their life because of the unwillingness of the leaders to lead and to discern. Well, when we come to 2 Corinthians chapter 12, the same situation, unfortunately, the false teachers are wrecking havoc in the church, causing so much division, causing so much friction, causing so much confusion.

So Paul is continuing his defense of his own apostleship, his own ministry and his message that God has given him. And he is calling out what he earlier referred to as the super apostles. The eminent apostles, the only reason the apostle uses those words is because that is what these self -proclaimed apostles called themselves.

They were They were eminent. They were super. They were better. They were above the apostle Paul. They were the true ones, but the truth is they were false. They were fake. So how is it that we can understand the credentials of an apostle?

And what does that mean to me as I’m trying to discern? Because so many of you, through the power of the internet, through technology, you’re availing yourself to so many different teachers. And there are wonderful teachers on television, radio, on social media, and even on the internet and different video platforms.

But there are also false teachers, church. There are false teachers who are pushing themselves on good believers, you know, right before the transition of a new president from President Trump. So many people were sending me videos and these prophets and these self -proclaimed apostles and these pastors and preachers.

were claiming that God had told them this and God had told them that, and that Trump would still be a president. You see, friends, all they did was discredit themselves. All they did is make themselves look foolish, and they shamed the name of Jesus Christ.

The truth is anybody who makes a prophecy, and it does not come true, then they are ought to automatically be identified as a false teacher. You should run from that church. You should get out of that church, and you should get into a Bible -believing church where they teach the Bible.

You say, well, Pastor 9 out of 10 is not too bad, but that’s not the standard. That’s not the standard in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us that God commanded that even if anyone who claims to be a prophet were to fail in one prophecy, that they were If you just put up a sign, if you just claim to be a pastor, if you just claim to be a teacher, they just come flocking.

Listen to me, friends, you can’t run out of storefront building, throw up a sign, and think that you’re legitimate. That’s not what brings credibility. That’s not what the credentials of serving God, and I want to share with you some of those things to help you understand the distinction so you can walk away a stronger Christian, not that we’re trying to be negative.

We’re not trying to be difficult on people, but I am encouraging God’s people to not be led astray. So the first credential that the Apostle introduces to us is his miraculous ministry. The miracles.

I want you to go to chapter 12 and look at verse 11, and the Apostle is simply saying, I didn’t want to have to go through this defense that he’s been doing since chapter 11. I didn’t want to have to tell you my resume.

I didn’t want to tell you everything that I’ve accomplished for God and all that God has done in me and through me and around me. But you have compelled me to do it, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.

How did the apostle see himself? He was want to boast. He didn’t want to sit there and promote himself. But he believed the message of salvation by grace was on the line and that if he did not prove his authenticity, that the false teachers would then begin to teach or promote this work salvation and the people would be led astray.

And so many lives would be devastated and destroyed so His opinion is that he’s not behind the eminent apostles, but his perspective is, I am nothing. Look at verse 12. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance and signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

Let’s just camp right there for a second as we understand these credentials of an apostle. He says that truly the signs of an apostle were brought among you in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. Miraculous things were happening through the ministry of the apostle Paul.

Now to understand this, I want us to back up a little bit and have a bigger picture so that we can really discern what is going on here. You know that when Jesus established the church, you understand that he gave gifts to the church.

Every person that is a born -again believer in Christ has a spiritual gift. Many are multi -gifted, multiple gifts that they have, but we all have at least one gift. God has blessed us with a gift and we call them spiritual gifts.

Now when we look at those spiritual gifts, they can be divided up into three sections. If you’re taking notes, write this down. Number one, serving gifts, speaking gifts, and sign gifts. These are the three areas of the spiritual gifts that God has given to believers.

Again, serving gifts like mercy, hospitality, speaking gifts like teaching the Bible, speaking gifts like encouragement and encourager, sign gifts. Sign gifts like miracles, sign gifts, gifts that were given and uniquely given for the season and the time in which God had given them.

The serving and the speaking gifts, they are permanent gifts that are given to believers. are even manifested today in the church. But the sign gifts, they are temporary. They were for a time. They were for a period.

You say, where do you get that kind of information, pastor? Because I got a friend who speaks in tongues, or I got someone who claims to do miracles. I got someone who claims that God speaks to them directly.

Well listen to what the scripture says in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 8. It says, Love never ends. Amen. True love, agape love, never is finished. But as for prophecies, they will pass away. As for tongues, they will cease.

As for knowledge, it will pass away. He’s talking about a special knowledge of revelation, of what God has introduced to the church. So here’s what I want you to know. The Bible’s pretty clear. And that is simply this, that these sign gifts were not permanent in the church and that they would eventually fade out.

And that they, once they serve their purpose, that they would be unnecessary for the future of the church. And we, as we study the scriptures, we see that God has given us the fulfilled Word of God, the completed, inerrant, infallible Word of God.

That means that there are no heirs from Genesis to Revelation. There are no heirs that God has given us His precious Word and that we have the record of His Word. Some people fuss and complain about different translations.

And I know that not all translations have been excellent, but there are really some good translations. And every ethnic group, every people group needs the Bible translated into their language. And that’s why it’s important.

It’s important that the Bible, in the language that the culture is living is, that those original manuscripts are translated so people can understand the Bible. What God says to them, it should not be a mystery.

So God blessed in those early days of the church in its inception, He blessed miraculous signs. And these miraculous signs were unique credentials for the apostles and their gospel message. So God anointed His 12 apostles, adding the apostle Paul, and they were gifted with a purpose of not only founding the church, but forming the church and establishing the church into the days that we are living.

And God blessed them to have the ability to do miracles. Again, go back to our verse. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance in signs and wonders and mighty D.

So God had a purpose for these miraculous signs. This was not only true in the apostles, but it was true in the life of Jesus. Remember at John chapter 3 in verse 2, remember when Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, the Bible says, this man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher.

Come from God, for no one can do these sign that you do unless God is with him. You see, what I want you to know is that as the people gathered in the synagogues, as the children went to the Jewish schools, they talked about a Messiah that would come.

And they said there would be signs that would be given, that would authenticate that he is the true Messiah. You gotta realize that even in the time of Jesus, it was a time of many false messiahs. Everybody was claiming to be the Messiah.

Many were saying, hey, I’m the one sent from God. How would they distinguish whether Jesus was the real Messiah or somebody else claiming to be the Messiah? How would they know the difference? The Jewish people were trained to know those signs.

And so when Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he said, we know you’re sent from God. We know that you’re true because of these signs that you do. What kind of signs? Remember that Jesus had authority and power over diseases.

He would walk into the synagogues and he would heal people. He would heal the man who had a withered hand and arm and he would do it instantaneously and he would do it spontaneously. And when Jesus did, it was permanent.

That is the distinction of the miracles of Christ. Not these charlatans today whose miracles are temporary or their miracles are fake or they’re worked up behind the scenes. Jesus in the moment, he didn’t have to have a front man.

He didn’t have to have a team go before him and to prepare him to be able to do the miracles, Jesus could walk instantly into the synagogue and he could amazingly heal people. Yes, that happened many times.

Jesus had authority over diseases. He had authority over demons. Remember that Jesus cast out demons. He cast out demons. And you remember the story of the man who was possessed of a devil and Jesus talked to him and called out those demons, the legion of demons that were within this man who was wild and he was crazy out of his mind.

The scriptures teach us and Jesus instantly healed him. There was no process. There was no medication. There was none of this. That is the evidence of his sign that he was the true Messiah. But listen, the ultimate sign was that he had authority over death.

Jesus would interrupt funeral processions, raise the dead. No other Messiah did that. No other self -proclaimed prophet or teacher ever interrupted and raised a little girl from death. Jesus showed up four days later and he raised Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus himself was raised from the dead. He had authority over death. No one can claim that. What is it that distinguishes Jesus as the true Savior and Messiah of the world? It is. that He has fulfilled all the signs that come from God, that He is legitimate.

When Peter stood before the Jewish people on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, verse 22, he said, Men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.

Here’s what he’s saying. How do you know that Jesus was legitimate? Because God verified that he was true by mighty works, mighty deeds, signs, and miracles. These were done to verify that Jesus was the true leader.

Jewish leaders were always looking for a sign. You remember that they asked Jesus for a sign. Why would they ask that question? Why would they say, Jesus show us a sign? Matthew 12, verse 38, the Bible says, then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered saying, Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.

Why would they ask that? Because they were trained that way. Because the Bible in the Old Testament teaches us that, that the prophets declared that there would be a sign unto you, and that they were to look for these signs.

And that’s how they would know the true Messiah is among them. So the Jews looked for sign. They were always wanting a sign. In John chapter 6, verse 14, then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus said, this is truly the prophet who is to come into the world.

How did they know that he was that true prophet from heaven? How did they know that he was that true Messiah, that true Savior from heaven? Because he performed miraculous signs above and beyond what was normal and natural.

What anyone else had done because no one had that kind. of authority to raise people from the dead, to raise himself from the dead, so they knew that he was legitimate. These Jewish people were not about to accept just anybody as their Messiah.

They just weren’t going to run to the latest fad that was coming through Jerusalem, the latest person that said, hey, I’m a pastor, I’m a preacher, hey, I’m the Messiah. There were plenty of pretenders who wanted to be elevated to the position of Messiah, but in order for them to know the truth, they had to look for those signs.

Now let’s go to Matthew chapter 11. Take your Bible and go back to Matthew chapter 11. Stay with me. I know this is a little intense and I’m sorry about that, but you know, at the open door church, we come to learn the Bible.

We don’t come to just razzle -dazzle you, entertain you, and if we did try to entertain you, I would be the worst entertainer ever in the history of mankind to be so embarrassing, you’d turn me off. But the point being, we want to teach you the Bible.

I want you to see how it’s interwoven, how it’s all connected together. And in Matthew chapter 11, at this point, John the Baptist is already in prison because he preached the Bible, he preached the truth.

And he confronted Herod the king because Herod had stolen his brother’s wife. And because John the Baptist was not a wimp and he was not a person who was going to back down a retreat from what is right.

He was thrown into jail for confronting the politicians. In verse one of chapter 11, the Bible says, now it came to pass when Jesus finished commanding his twelve disciples. That he departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to him, are you the coming one? Or do we look for another? What did Jesus answer? Jesus answered in verse four and said to him, go and tell John the things which you hear and see, the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

What’s so amazing about this text is simply this, that here John the Baptist, the one who paved the way for the coming Savior, the one who would preach the gospel. And as he was preaching, he saw Jesus and he pointed to Jesus and the crowd looked over and he said, behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The one, John the Baptist, who was to baptize Jesus, that he was so humbled by this, that he said to Jesus, Jesus, I am not worthy to even unloose the shoestrings on your sandals. John the Baptist, when he did baptize Jesus, the Bible tells us that the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended upon Christ and the heavens opened up and the Father declared, this is my beloved Son and whom I am well pleased.

This John the Baptist, who witnessed the Trinitarian manifestation and glorification right there in the midst of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit at the baptism of Jesus Christ. This same John the Baptist, who was struggling in jail, he was discouraged and he doubted John said to the disciples, go ask Jesus, are you the coming one?

Or do we look for another one? Are you the anointed one? Did I get it right? Did I make a mistake? Is there somehow we got it wrong? And here’s what Jesus’ answer, he said, look to these signs. Go tell John the signs.

Now John would know the signs of a true Messiah. And he walked through those signs in verse five, and he said, the gospel is to be preached to them. That’s how they knew. So what I want you to understand is this, that the miracles that were for a particular time period authenticated the miracle workers themselves as God’s representatives and messenger.

Jesus performed miracles, the apostles performed miracles, and these were all designed to validate that they truly were from God. Now some pastors and teachers try to convince people that they are apostles.

They, then by doing that, are denying the uniqueness of the calling of being an apostle. The Bible teaches us that our apostles were for a unique time in the history of the church, and it was a time in and God gave them not only the credentials, but the verification through signs and wonders to be the apostles.

And so the apostle Paul was explaining this to the Corinthian church so they could distinguish the true teachers from the false teachers, in addition that it would help them to understand that his ministry was a valid ministry that was sent from God to them.

And so I hope that this message has helped us to have more wisdom and discernment. There are many teachers out there. Many of them are very good teaching the Word of God, but there are a few that are misleading God’s people.

I want you to make sure your attendants up and that you are discerning the truth from what is false or fake. Once you take advantage of that, now one of the ways that we can discern between what is true and what is false is by knowing the truth.

If you go to our YouTube channel and type in Hopeworth Having and subscribe, then you will have the opportunity to learn more of God’s truth. As we have all of our teaching ministries, the different topics, subjects, we have interviews on there, we have different Q &As, things that we’ve been doing in ministry to try to answer the questions for God’s people to help you to be enriched and strengthened in your faith.

So take advantage of that, check us out on YouTube. That’s Hopeworth Having on YouTube and I know you’ll be encouraged. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth. Have it!

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