The Credentials of an Apostle 2

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

And if people claim to have healing power, I want to grab them by the neck and take them up to Hershey Hospital. I got some people here who are on the threshold of death. I need you to do your miraculous healing.

You won’t find the miracle healers at the hospitals. Why? Because they’re fake because they’re not of God. Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders. We want to welcome you to Hopeworth Having Radio program and we are glad that you could join us.

You know, we are going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 11 through 15 continuing our study on the credentials of an apostle. The apostle Paul was under attack about the validity of his ministry and so he teaches God’s people exactly what are the credentials of a true apostle.

So I want you to join me. Grab your Bible, pen, paper. Let’s get into it as we study God’s word. 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 1 of chapter 11, the Bible says, now it came to pass when Jesus finished commanding them 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 4 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, 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 and he wondered.

Do you remember what he said to his disciples? 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 messengers.

Jesus performed miracles. The apostles performed miracles. And these were all designed to validate that they truly were from God. Verse Corinthians chapter one verse 22, Paul reminds us that the Jews request a sign.

What is that sign? Well the signs and wonders that were done by Jesus and the apostles confirm that God was closing out the Old Testament. He was launching the new, transitioning the New Testament. Why would he close out the Old Testament?

Because Christ the Messiah has fulfilled the miracle workers. He has accomplished everything. Jesus said, I didn’t come to do away with the law, but I came to fulfill the law. Jesus, all that the law demanded from us, we could not fulfill, but Christ fulfilled it for us.

And therefore, we are launching into the New Testament, the New Covenant, where we, by faith, can have salvation and have our sins washed away and enjoy the righteousness of God and stand before God and be righteous, not because of what we have done and not because of what we have accomplished, but because of everything that Jesus Christ has accomplished.

And so we have this joy, we have this excitement, because we know that the message is true. How do we know that the message is true? How do we know that Jesus is not a charlatan, that the Apostle Paul is not a charlatan because of the signs, the wonders, the miraculous ministry that they had?

So get this. Sign gifts had a unique purpose. They were to identify the authentic spokesman for God. They validated the message and the messenger of God. So come back to chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians. Look at verse 12 again when Paul is trying to say, I am legitimate.

I’m the real deal. I’m the one that is representing God to you, not these fakes, not these charlatans. He says, truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance and signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

That’s what I want you to know, church, is that the message was validated. So here’s how God works. Signs and miracles confirm the message of God. They did not save people from their sins. These sign gifts, there were many times Jesus healed people, but they never received Him as Lord and Savior.

There was many times that the apostles did great miracles, but they never, ever surrendered their heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. The miracles, the signs were only validating to all who were observing.

That these servants were truly sent from God. Acts chapter two, verse 43, the church is already launched, the church is moving, it’s making great impact, and the Bible says that fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

So the purpose of miraculous signs was to authenticate the apostles as God’s messengers. Now again, I want you to take your Bible, and I want you to go over to Hebrews, go ahead, and let’s get fully engaged, because this is good stuff that ought to help you to be a discerning Christian.

So I’m in here. Hebrews chapter two, and I want you to follow along with me in verse three and verse four, because I want you to see something that will help you because you got all these people running around claiming to be a pastor.

You got people running around saying, God told me, God said this, and I’m just here to tell you friends, they don’t measure up to the truth of God’s word. Now, Hebrews chapter two, verse three, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Is there anything greater than to know that you are a born again Christian? Is there anything better than knowing that when you leave this world, that God is gonna promote you to heaven? Is there anything greater to know that even though this world is crumbling and crashing and falling apart, that you and I one day are gonna be escorted out of here and the second coming of Christ is upon us and that we are going to be?

called out of this crazy world to live in a perfect utopia and will be united with friends, united with family, and no wonder. The Hebrew writer says it’s so great a salvation. Why would you neglect this church?

Why would you be so wrapped up in politics that you forget what’s more important? Why would you be praying for the kingdom of God to come? But yet when God is setting the table for him to come, you get upset about it because God’s not got your political party in charge?

Why don’t you surrender to the will of God? Not my will, but thine. God, whatever you want. Lord, if you’re bringing things down so you can bring things up, I’m all in. I am all in, but I’m back in Hebrews 2 verse 3.

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation which at the first, this great salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, that’s our savior, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

Who were those? The apostles. And look at this. He’s teaching us here. They were confirmed to us by those who heard us. Verse four, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.

You see what God was doing is he’s saying, look, these are my chosen apostles. They are the apostles of Christ. They are going to bring the word. You say, why are the sign gifts finished? Because the apostles completed the word of God.

The Old Testament was written by the prophets. The New Testament was written by the apostles or their associates. Those who recorded Luke was not an apostle, but he wrote down the book of Acts as he was traveling with the apostles and he was writing down their ministry.

their miraculous ministry, he was not only a physician, but a historian as he is helping us to understand the mighty works and the mighty signs that verified the messenger and authenticated the message of God.

So the testimony of church history is simply this, that the miraculous signs of the Spirit were a feature of the apostolic age. And that’s it. That even during the midst of the apostolic age that the apostle wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 29 through 30, are all apostles?

And the obvious answer is no. Are all prophets? No. Are all teachers? No. Are all workers of miracles? No. Have all the gifts of healing? No. Do all speak with tongues? No. Do all interpret? No. Much could be said about that, but suffice to say this.

that, first of all, God did not give everybody these signs of wonders and these gifts of miracles. And number two is that even as the New Testament was coming to a conclusion, that many of these miraculous signs were already fading out of the early church.

And as we taught you earlier at the outset of our message this morning is that tongues will cease. Prophecies will fade away. That the miracles will stop. Do you believe, Pastor, that God can do miracles today?

Absolutely. I believe that. But I believe that God accomplishes His miracles today through the power of prayer. We can pray and I’ve witnessed many times where we have gathered as leaders in the church to pray for the sick and I have seen God do some amazing things.

It’s not always His will to heal on this earth. Sometimes He heals us by promoting us to heaven. But I have witnessed God do mighty miracles. How does God perform miracles today? Sometimes we are entertaining angels unaware and God does miracles, things that we cannot explain.

Things are happening in a different dimension that are beyond our comprehension. How does God perform miracles? He has raised up many brilliant physicians, doctors and nurses, wonderful people in the medical field and He is using these individuals through medicine.

They are an extension of the healing hand of God. Many lives have been extended. Many lives have been healed because of the blessing of these wonderful, intelligent doctors and nurses and pharmacists and etc.

All those who work in the medical field, we’re all in for you and we are supporting you and we are praying for you. I want you to know that. We’re with you. Okay? and you’re an extension of his healing hand, but nobody has the gift of miracles.

Nobody has the sign of miracles today because the Bible is finished, it is unnecessary, the apostolic ministry is finished, it’s unnecessary, nobody’s walking around, and if people claim to have healing power, you know what I want to do?

I want to grab them by the neck and take them up to Hershey Hospital on the seventh floor, where I’ve been all the children who have leukemia, cancer. I want to take them to the local hospital and say, hey, I got some people here who are really struggling.

I got some people here who are on the threshold of death. I need you to do your miraculous healing. You won’t find the miracle healers at the hospitals. Why? Because they’re fake. Because they’re not of God.

And church, you need to be awake to that. You need to be awakened to that and you need to understand that the credentials of a true apostle were… that they would express and show these truly signs, and that those signs were for a season, and once the Bible was completed, it was unnecessary for today.

Now the second thing I want you to learn, real quickly here, I only got three points, so we’ll fast track as quick as we can, but I want you to know that the apostle’s second credential was his faithfulness to God.

We go back to verse 12, and you’ll note that as he says, truly the signs of an apostle were brought among you in all patience. The word patience has the idea of endurance. It’s the Greek word, hoopomenne.

It is referring to the ability to endure hardship under the pressure, under the persecution, under the problems in the ministry. What authenticated the apostle was, he was not a flash in the pan, he was not coming late and just showing up, and all of a sudden razzle -dazzle everybody.

He was a true an apostle because from the beginning of the church, he was pounding it out with the church, he was working hard for the church, he was ministering faithfully for God, and we saw in chapter one, we saw in chapter four, we saw in chapter six, the apostle listed all of his persecutions in second Corinthians, and he listed all that he had endured for the cause of Christ, all that he had to deal with when relating to try to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You have read in the book of Acts, all the persecution that he has faced. He is not just someone who showed up on the scene and all of a sudden has all the answer. He is a man who has been faithful to God in the little.

He is a leader of much, and God’s hand is upon him because of his faithfulness. Remember what Paul taught us in 2 Timothy chapter two, verse 10, therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation.

which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. Here the apostle had endured so many trials just to get the gospel to people, just to help people believe in Christ. And you would think for all that Paul had endured for the church at Corinth that they would defend him, that they would commend him, that they would step up and say, we’re not going to let these charlatans run you down to the apostle Paul.

But that’s not what they did. They listened. They began to be enamored by these false teachers, and they began to criticize and find fault with the apostle. That’s the way it is, friends. I have to be honest with you, God’s people sometimes can be very fickle.

They’re always enamored with the latest fad. Here you have a servant of God who’s faithfully plugging along, serving God, sacrificing, and then somebody comes around and, you know, you know, I remember a lady came to me and she’s all excited about Joel Oste.

She just thought he was the greatest thing since peanut butter. You say, pastor, it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not according to me. All right, I think peanut butter is better than sliced bread.

I think peanut butter with sliced bread is good. A little bit of banana on there, right? But anyways, peanut butter is the greatest. But my point is simply she was all excited about him. And I said, you know what?

Joel Osteen is not going to come visit you in the hospital. Joel Osteen is not going to show up when your family is going through a trial. That’s what I’m trying to say to you, church, is why are you so worldly minded that you’re excited about the popularity of a preacher or the popularity of a pastor?

Why don’t you recognize that the credentials of a true servant of God is faithfulness? It is faithfulness. The apostle said, we were patient. We were enduring. We wouldn’t quit in the hard times. Sometimes people come in and out of your life, but thank God for those people who are enduring the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Bible says in Proverbs 20 verse 6, most men will proclaim everyone his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find. Paul’s steadfast endurance under trials gave evidence that he was divinely called and commissioned.

And let me say to all of us who are serving Christ, all of us in the church, no matter who you are, whether you’re serving behind the scenes in front, there is one thing that God wants and that’s faithfulness.

You say, well, my feelings were hurt, pastor. And come on, friends. If your feelings being hurt was a good enough reason to quit, then I want you to know something. I would have quit a long time ago.

You got to rise above that. People say, what’s the most important thing a pastor needs? I tell them tough skin. You know what I’m saying? You can’t take everything personal. You gotta know that you gotta keep a tender heart and a compassionate heart, but you’re gonna have to be a little tough if you’re gonna serve God.

It’s not just for the pastor, it’s for the people of God. You know, there are gonna be times that as God’s people that we hurt each other, we offend each other, we say things that are inappropriate and sometimes we’re not always walking in the spirit and we say things in the flesh.

And we’re going to have to say, am I gonna quit? Am I gonna give up? You say, well, I’ll just run to another church. Okay. And here’s what you’re gonna find at that church. That people got issues. And no matter where you go, people got problems.

Church hoppin’, church shoppin’, all that stuff. Listen, I understand you move to a new community. I understand your church went liberal, whatever. I get all that stuff. But if you’re coming to the open door church saying, man, I just believe all those people over there, perfect.

Hey, hey, I wanna tell you, I know these people at the open door church. They got flaws, but we love them. They got issues. But we love them. And don’t worry, it’s true of Pastor Mike too. He’s got flaws, he’s got issues.

He’s got things he needs to work on. Praise God, God’s still working on me. And it’s not that we’re out here proclaiming that we’re any better than anybody. I’m just telling you, we’re a bunch of imperfect people who are trying to worship a perfect God.

We’re a bunch of imperfect people who are trying to serve a perfect savior. What I wanna challenge you to be is faithful to God. And don’t be discouraged by all that’s going on in this world. Don’t be discouraged, you say, well, I don’t witness anymore.

What’s up with you? You don’t have spiritual conversations with people and trying to witness to them. Man, these are prime time friends. I’m having a great conversation. People are asking me all kinds of questions.

And I’m trying to show them that Jesus Christ is the answer and that the times of the coming of the savior are imminent upon us. And that we are witnessing the preparation for the rapture of the church.

And I want you to be ready and know Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. And I’m more excited today for God than I have ever been. And I’m not backing down and I’m not retreating. And I’m not giving up.

And I’m gonna stay faithful to the cause of Jesus Christ. And I commend God’s people to stay faithful for Jesus Christ. You say, well, I’m not gonna teach Sunday school anymore. What’s your problem? Are you telling me that little boys and girls don’t need to hear about Christ?

Well, I’m not gonna go serve in the TV ministry anymore. Are you telling me that we should just fold up, quit and give up? Absolutely not church. We’re not doing it. Okay, if you wanna go to a church that’s still shut down, God bless you, you do you.

But for Pastor Mike, we’re staying at it. We’re gonna be faithful to God. We’re gonna make a difference. Now the last credential is sacrifice. Look at verse 15 of chapter 12. He says in verse 15 of chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians, I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.

Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. You know what I’ve learned in life is sometimes the people that you love the most hurt you the most. That’s exactly what Paul’s saying. Isn’t it crazy how that works?

But here the apostle had given so much for these people and yet they had hurt him, literally to tears. He was devastated by them. And he says, you know what, it doesn’t matter. I love you. And my love for you is not conditional.

Paul says that he would be spent for them. He’s gladly to spend and he’s gladly to be spent. He’s gladly to do whatever has to be done and he’s glad to sacrifice whatever has to be done. He is willing to give himself.

even to the point of sacrificing his own life for the cause of the Gospel, for the movement of Christ, for the advancement of the kingdom. The apostle is all in. 1 Corinthians 9 verse 2, he says to the Corinthians, If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you.

For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. You see, the apostle had done so much for these people. He went in and he plowed out a church. He planted a church. He witnessed to these people. He led them to Christ.

He showed them the Gospel plan. He showed them and answered their questions. He discipled them going house to house, teaching them the Bible. He worked tirelessly and effortlessly. He gave it all for the cause of Jesus Christ.

People say, Pastor, it’s time to hang it up. Listen to me friends, whether it is online or whether it is in small groups or whether we got to have multiple services, it doesn’t matter. Whatever it takes to minister to God’s people is the way it’s going to be at the open door church.

There is no ifs ands or buts. And if anybody wants to do something different, they need to understand they’re at the wrong place. Because we’re all in here. We’re all in. We must be willing gladly. That’s what the apostle said.

Gladly I do it. He wasn’t complaining, but he gladly gave himself to service. He gladly sacrificed for the church. And I want you to get there. I want you to serve God with joy. I want you to be glad about all that you do for God.

And you say, well, somebody forgot to pat me on the back and somebody forgot to thank me and somebody forgot to give me a certificate. That is all rubbish church. It means nothing in the kingdom of God because one day I want you to know you’re going to stand before God and he is going to commend you for your faithfulness and your sacrifice for God.

He is the one who is… going to be rejoicing of the great work that you have done for His cause. He is going to give you a crown. And what will you do with that crown? Will you keep it for yourself?

Absolutely not. I fear that some of you might try, but you should. You’ll take those crowns and cast them at the feet of Jesus and worship Him for every service and all that you and I have done for Him will be worth it as we spend eternity with Jesus Christ.

Okay, listen to what Paul said to the Galatians, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. Here’s what I want you to know. Paul, he was willing to, he uses an analogy here as if he was in the anguish of giving birth to a child.

I’m all in till Christ is formed in you. You say, what’s the goal of this church? It is that we could present to our wonderful Savior, God’s people. who are without blemish, who are reflecting the image of Christ every day.

And whatever it takes, we will do it, church. And we are all in. And I want to challenge you and call you to that great commitment. I want to invite you to be a people who will be faithful to God. And I want to invite you to be a people who will sacrifice for Christ.

And I want to invite you to be a people who have discernment, that you are not lured away. By the devil, by fake teachers, false pastors, people claiming to be something that they’re not. But that you would once again reignite your heart for Christ and dedicate your life to his cause.

You remember when you first did that church? You remember when you wept on the altar? You remember when you said, Lord, here am I, send me? You remember when you said, God, I’m all in? My staff knows I’m all in because I tell them all the time.

So much they can’t stand it, probably. But I remember when they, for my birthday, they bought me this little container and it said, I’m all in and it was filled with peanut butter cups. But when it comes to peanut butter, Reese’s peanut butter cup, I am all in.

But I want you to know I’m all in for Jesus more so. And whatever it takes, church, let’s right now with our heads bowed and our eyes closed, would you take this moment and right now with your family, with your spouse, would you right now, no matter if you’re alone in your living room or you’re with others, just bow your head right now and say, Lord, I’m all in.

Whatever it takes, we’re going to finish strong for you, Lord. We are going to sacrifice like the Apostle Paul did. We are going to be faithful like the Apostle Paul was. We are going to be a discerning believers.

We are going to have wisdom and we’re not going to be led astray in these times that we live in. But we’re going to be faithful. dedicated more so than we have ever been. Confusion over the role of apostles is nothing new.

We see it today, we see it in the early church, and many times the Bible makes reference to it. And certainly the Corinthian church was infiltrated by false apostles and teachers that were wrecking havoc into the church.

And so the apostle Paul is giving a defense of what it means to be a true apostle of God. So we are blessed to be able to learn these credentials, and I hope that they have helped you. You might have more questions, and you might have more thoughts that you’d like to share with me about this teaching.

And so you feel free to go to HopeworthHaving .com and hit that contact button, and you can send us a message or you can send us your questions. We’ll do our best to answer those questions and try to help you in your journey of faith.

and I want you to take advantage of that. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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