Every one of you can be all these four kinds of persons. Do not think this is too much. In your religious concept, an apostle might mean a prominent leader, but the Greek meaning of the word is sent one. If, for example, I send you to get my briefcase, you are my apostle. In John 20:19 and 21, “Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, Peace be to you.…The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Then Jesus said to them again, Peace be to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” This passage says the disciples (not the apostles) were assembled together, rejoiced when they saw the Lord, and were told by the Lord, “I send you.” The Lord Jesus was the Father’s sent One, coming to us as the Apostle. He was the first New Testament Apostle. Now we are His sent ones, going to others as apostles.
How did the Father send the Lord Jesus? He sent Him by going with Him. If you are constrained by the Lord, after praying, to say a word for Him to your mother, the Lord would say to you, “I send you as the Father sent Me. When you go to your mother, I shall be with you. Go and express Me, as I expressed the Father. Express Me and speak for Me.” To the Lord, then, you are a sent one; to your mother, you are an apostle. You may feel burdened, after contacting the Lord through prayer, to go to your relatives, or classmates, or neighbors. Go to them with Him and to express Him.
I hope I have persuaded you that we can all be these gifted ones. They are not a special class. If you have not been perfected up to this standard, you are abnormal. Every normal Christian must be one sent by God. Do not say that you are still a student and therefore cannot be an apostle. God needs teenage prophets! You can be sent to your classmates by God. Preach the gospel to them. Then care for the new believers. Teach them about the three wills in the universe and about God’s economy.
If all of you are like this, a revival will spread throughout the earth. There is no need of a movement. There is no need for you to be ordained. You have already been ordained and chosen to be a sent one. Do you care about this? If so, go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I am here. I present myself to You. Send me.” The Lord will say, “I have already sent you. Go!” You must go to your relatives, friends, classmates, or even people you encounter on the street. You must speak persuasively to them. Preach the gospel and convince them.
HOW TO BE PERFECTED
You not only can but you also must be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. For this to come about you must read the Word. Acts 6:7 says, “And the word of God increased.” For the Word of God to grow and multiply there must be a period of learning, experiencing, and being dealt with. This is not an overnight matter. It requires the work of the leading apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. What they do you also need to do. They take the lead, setting up the pattern. You follow. If they speak of God’s economy, that is what you speak. You say what they say, and do what they do. They are the lead sheep in the flock. If they turn right, the rest of you turn right. They do not do one thing and have you do something else.
You cannot speak the Word if you do not know it. You will be making a fool of yourself if you try to help others and you do not even know where Genesis is. God’s way is the way of the Word. It is not a miraculous or mushrooming growth based on gimmicks. Acts 6:4 says, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” God’s way is by life. Day by day read the Word and pray. Match whatever you read by prayer. Pray in order to digest the Word. Then it will get into you. Once this happens, the Word becomes the Spirit. With the Spirit, you have life, understanding, and utterance. Then you can be sent. The matter of being a gifted one is wholly wrapped up with the Word. Even if you are young, come to the Word regularly and pray-read it. Be mingled with the divine Word and the life-giving Spirit day after day. If you do this, within a very few years you will be ready to be sent and to be God’s spokesman, speaking for Him and speaking Him forth. You will preach the gospel and shepherd new ones, teaching them how to go on.
This was how the church life was in the beginning. Today we have a degraded situation, full of deadness. We must come back and let the Lord give us a new beginning.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)