APOSTOLIC MINISTRY: PLANTING SEEDS
THE SEED OF THE KINGDOM
Mark 4:26-27 And he said, Such is the kingdom of God, as if a man put seed in the earth, And went to sleep and got up, night and day, and the seed came to growth, though he had no idea how. The kingdom of God that the early apostles were sent to declare was likened by Jesus to seed that is planted and growing. The work of the apostles was that of planting the seed of the kingdom, the Word of God, or to be more precise; Jesus Christ who is the Word of God. Jesus declared Himself to be the seed placed in the ground that He might not abide alone but bear much fruit. The apostles were not just preaching a message; they were planting seed. Christ is the seed of the kingdom that bears fruit after its own kind, that fruit being sons in the kingdom of their father.
Apostolic ministry has one main goal; the formation of Christ IN people. True apostolic ministry imparts/plants the seed of Christ which has the potential and power to conform people into Christ’s image as sons of God. This kingdom seed contains within it the very DNA of God. True apostolic ministry plants the seed of Christ that "changes" people by the power of God. Paul said …my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. The kingdom is not in just words but power, power to change us into the image of Christ.
APOSTLES AS FATHERS
In the sense that it is a father’s seed that inseminates or impregnates with life, those sent by Father are the carriers of Christ on earth to release or speak the seed of Life into people. Paul said: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. In this sense apostles who plant the seed of Christ are spiritual fathers. Yet being a spiritual father in this sense is not about position of power or authority over the life of another. Rather, it is a place in which apostles serve by demonstrating clearly both the NATURE and AUTHORITY of Christ in love relationships.
Any one of the “ten thousand instructors in Christ” that Paul contrasted his father’s heart with could have also been a spiritual father to the Corinthians. Implanting spiritual seed into a church is not the job of one man alone. Fullness in Christ comes by receiving many varying "Aspects" of Christ from anyone sent to us who carries His seed of life. All sent by God have a portion and it is important to receive the portion that each has and let them implant in us what grace in Christ they have been given. Father’s desire is to raise up many sons who express His heart, and it is by the many ones He sends carrying His Father’s heart He desires to do so. It is important for all called as apostles to realize they are simply one course of a meal which is a banquet of delicacies in Christ.
Paul was not exclusive and restricting in His ministry to the Corinthians. He corrected them for saying, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas (Peter).” Paul said in effect, “Paul, Apollos, and Cephas… …all are yours and ALL ARE CHRIST’S!(follow them all)” The result of those who follow a doctrine making one man their perpetual spiritual father as their exclusive voice of correction and direction is a diminished ability to hear what the Spirit is saying that may contradict what their "spiritual father" has taught them in their limited knowledge. Scripture says train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they WILL NOT depart from it. I have met those who will not change to embrace further revelation of Christ because of how they were "fathered".
There is also a fathering that happens like Timothy and Paul’s relationship. It is a fathering of “one on one" with one or a few select in order to continue on the same ministry that is being performed by the one fathering. I am convinced this does not apply to a congregation or region. Nor should a congregation be told they must submit to such a fathering relationship that can only be guided and ordained by the Spirit.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SEED
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. …the kingdom of God, as if a man put seed in the earth, And went to sleep and got up, night and day, and the seed came to growth, though he had no idea how. We don’t know how the seed turns into a growing shoot and then a fruit bearing plant. It is Father’s DNA that brings forth the final product. Paul stayed for a time in many places, and while he was able to strengthen believers in some places, He NEVER saw many of the people He planted the seed of Christ into again. So who was responsible for the seed? Father was. Apollos watered many seeds and God gave the increase. The way in which the kingdom works is everyone having a task and God is in control. Father has simply chosen to invite us to be part of the process and joy of planting and nurturing the seed of Christ in people as spiritual fathers to a generation that will reveal the Glory of God to the earth.
In His Love