The entire epistle of Ephesians is a masterpiece of Paul, where God through His servant sets out the apostolic mandate of the entire Body of Christ.
Eph: 3: 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms…
In the epistle we see God has an eternal purpose that He is seeking to accomplish in His Son and His Church, from beginning to end. And He is looking for those in a given place, at a given time to do their part in fulfilling it for their generation, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, it is imperative that we get our purpose right and it is aligned with God’s; we must get our mission right according to that purpose, and ensure that it is all bringing true glory to the Lord Jesus. If so it will be a mission that defeats satan’s kingdom (Luke 10: 18) and will bring God’s Kingdom to be seen and established in this dark world.
For this to happen today, the church must once again be connected to the above purpose and be led out to war in the above way. The Church must have apostolic authority in her outdoor mission, prophetic incisiveness in her declaration, evangelistic endeavour with zeal and so on, but it must happen in that order, because the winning of cities for Jesus requires contention. Look at these Scriptures:
Acts 2: Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2: 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.
Acts 13 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you[g] may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
What is the remarkable thing consistently seen in these passages, and others like them? God sends His apostolic and prophetic messengers out onto the frontline of Gospel mission before they plant churches. And these are just two such Scriptures, among many others! Evangelists are mentioned in Acts, and teachers, but the mission is definitely apostolic.
It is evident that God sends out apostles – first, because their outdoor mission and their vision is the all-encompassing point of the whole church. That being, that the focus of the Church of Jesus is not to win souls only, or teach people alone, but to carry on in the warring and building ministry of Jesus our apostle, as His apostolic Body. On that basis, (the vision / mission of conquest for His Kingdom and His House) do we then set people free through evangelism and teaching, under the work of the Holy Spirit. It produces open heavens, freedom of God’s Spirit and then we see harvest!
So the Church’s sole existence on this earth is apostolic before it is anything else. And it is the foundational ministries of apostle and prophet that set that vision for conquest and building in the image of Jesus. They must issue a clarion call to war. This produces apostolic congregations, sent out in authority to gain people, territory and victory for the Lord… And then build upon that which is won, with pure, Christ centered foundations – local churches modeled upon spiritual family, discipleship and order, all for the Spirit of God to dwell in.
When the church takes the eternal purpose and mission seriously once again, satan’s kingdom falls, because the apostolic church looks like Jesus in all wisdom and power, on His mission and building His way. This is what Paul saw in Thessalonica after he pioneered there:
1 Thess 1: 4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.
Today we need to come before God in humility, re-align with His purposes, receive His power and nature, go in His apostolic authority and unify for conquest, and see the power of the ‘spoken word’ in prophetic power and insight over people’s and situations, to show that Jesus is Lord. And, it must be authentic not weird or irrelevant; potent and real, just like Jesus.
This is an incredible challenge to the 21st century church in the West, especially if we feel the eternal purpose has become irrelevant to today. But let me say this; when powers of darkness are magnified, where there is an erosion of Kingdom values in the nation and the people are hopeless – God’s eternal purpose in Christ is the only thing that is relevant to this present world we live in, and it is the only relevant answer to Swansea. No man, church franchise or method can in and of itself shift anything, but the Church of Jesus on God’s war in the power of the Spirit and building well upon Christ can… and will.