The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part VI
Romans 8:7 - Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Titus 1:1- Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—
2 Peter 1:1 - Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
I truly believe the best qualified person to be a five fold Peer2Peer apostle would be a common, everyday Christian mother! A female? You have got to be kidding! Didn’t Paul say I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence? - Timothy 2:12 Institutionally, under a male dominated hierarch that is probably true, but relationally that is a lie. Relationally, under the “authority” of Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:27-28 Either we are all one in Christ Jesus or we are not! What is it? This fruit of this debate has always brought division in the body of Christ, so Paul would again ask, ”Are you not carnal?” – 1 Corinthians 3:4 The five passions of Ephesians 4 are not given to believers because of their race, sex, nationality, gender, or profession. They are given to all who seek them in Christ.
Religious critics refute, “Why did Jesus only pick males to be His disciples and later His apostles? In Romans 8:7 Paul writes Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Junias is a woman, and an “outstanding apostle in Christ before me.” Before Paul was even an apostle there was a woman apostle. Female apostles did exist in the first century Church because of the driving force of what they did. It was how they functioned that mattered, not establishing a political position in a religious church hierarchy.
The question remains: Do women have the drive, the passion, the fortitude to see the big picture of the Church as a body, the ability to equip that body for “works of service”, and the ability to network others in body ministry, all qualifications to be an apostle? Do they have a godly character? God believes women can be godly; read Proverbs 31:10-31. Jesus surrounded himself with godly women because women know how to serve, have faith to believe, and to be faithful even when standing before the Cross. The men? Well… their track record is not as pristine!
A Peer2Peer five fold apostle must see the big picture of the Church while understanding the other four passions in order to network them toward unity. Women understand evangelism because both experience “birth”. Both have felt the labor pains. Women are nurturers, for they care for their families (See Proverbs 31) as shepherds. Women teach their children from potty training through dating how to “grow up”. Prophetic? Ask any teenager about the power of a praying mother, who knows the promises of the Logos Word, the Bible, and her attempts to apply it to the members of her family and her own life. Her desire is to have every family member “draw near” to God. Last, but not least, apostles network with others. Mothers are great networkers within her family, networking schedules, plans, goals, dreams, etc. of the other family members. The big family picture? She gets it! Who better to be an excellent candidate to be a five fold Peer2Peer apostle than a mother because she knows all about relationships?
Critics argue that men should be apostles and women servants because they function differently. For example, women give birth to children; men don’t! With this kind of logic, why aren’t all evangelists females? Women have experienced the pains of “birthing”; men haven’t. If parenting is pastoring or shepherding your children, done by both men and women, they shouldn’t women also then be allowed to be pastors in the Church? The church looks at teaching as purely academic. Aren’t women intellectually capable too? As the myriad of female valedictorians! Intelligence doesn’t discriminate because of sex and gender. Why shouldn’t women be teachers? Prophets? Mothers’ prayers do more damage to the kingdom of darkness than we can imagine. Women usually have a more sensitive side towards spiritual matters and a more open willingness to receive faith without questioning and doubting than men do. And if she can oversee her family for the good of the gospel, why couldn’t she oversee the family of God for the good of the Church?
Some believe that the criteria for being an apostle is that you had to see Jesus while he was alive, thus the twelve immediately qualified. How about Paul? He never saw Jesus while He was on earth physically. Acts records that on the road to Damascus Paul hears God’s voice questioning him. He never physically sees Jesus.
Think about it. If Jesus is currently at the right hand of the Father in heaven, where would you “see” him today? You would “see” him through His Body, His Church. An apostle must be able to see Jesus through seeing the big picture of His Body, the Church here on earth. Through three missionary journeys, Paul sees the birthing, the nurturing, the teaching, the prophetic fulfillment, and the apostolic gathering of the Church right before him. That is why in I Corinthians 9:1 he defends his rights as an apostle when he says, Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? There is the qualification of being an apostle. Can a woman also see the big picture of the Church, the Body of Christ, Jesus? Women hung around Jesus in biblical days, why wouldn’t do the same today?
Being an apostle is all about relationships: birthing spiritual babes into the kingdom of God, nurturing those babes toward maturity in Jesus, helping them “grow up” spiritually, teaching them kingdom of God principles by making them not just Logos principles, but Rhema principles, drawing men toward God and teaching them how to hear the voice of God for themselves and being obedient to the Word, written and living, and networking all these people with all these passions to bring unity in the Body of Christ, the Church, and maturity, being Christ-like, in every believer. It’s all about people2people, Peer2peer!