Friday, July 22, 2016

The Changing of the Guard



You might think that the whole idea of there being a "changing of the guard" is a catchy phrase, but is it scriptural?

Do we see change in leadership, mission and authority in scripture?

What are the implications for the future of the Church?
John the Baptist is the biblical example of a "way maker" in my latest book, "The Way Makers - Ambassadors for Christ", Preparing the Way of the Lord.  He was the forerunner preaching a message of repentance in the wilderness, whose mandate was to announce the coming of Jesus Christ - the inauguration of His ministry.  John called for repentance, but he boldly declared that there was one coming after him whose sandals he was not worthy to untie. When Jesus was passing by, John announced Him, and those who were following him, turned around and followed Jesus instead. (John 1:35-42) After all John, himself, declared that he must decrease and he (Christ) must increase.  So when John's mandate was completed, he was arrested and later beheaded; and Jesus took center stage.  A Changing of the Guard.  

Jesus' ministry began with His baptism, anointing and confirmation from God the Father.  His apostolic ministry began.  Remember an apostle means "sent one".  He left His parents and His home in Galilee set about His Father's business.  It doesn't appear that He had any idea of where He was going.  At one point, He says "foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Matt. 8:20)  So He went as He was led.

His first order of business:  to establish a team.  He proceeds to call the disciples one by one.  They are "disciples" at this point because disciples are those that submit to being taught and committed to a cause greater than themselves.  For three years Jesus teaches and trains them in ministry and Kingdom affairs.  In the fullness of time, Jesus fulfills His mandate - to become the Savior of the world - but not without passing the torch.  He issues the mandate (The Great Commission - and delegates authority to carry it out.  Then He goes to The Father and sends The Comforter to empower and anoint the disciples to continue with the work. They are now officially "Apostles" - sent ones.  Jesus said, "As The Father has sent me, I also send  you." (John 20:21)  The new order for the Church as been established.  The old order, the old covenant - all replaced.  Jesus establishes the new order for equipping the Saints and establishing the Church in Ephesians 4:11-12.  A Changing of the Guard.

And so it is today.  Jesus is coming back; He's coming back for His Church - His Bride without spot or wrinkle!  As we witness events happening on the world stage, we recognize that we are closer now than we've ever been before.  Our redemption indeed draws nigh!

And there is a voice of "one" (the Body of Christ) calling in a lost and dying world, "Repent! Be reconciled to God! Prepare the Way of the Lord!"  And Jesus is once again, is strategically choosing and re-positioning His end-time apostles to bring reform - to equip and prepare His Bride for His return. The Way Makers are simply Apostolic Ambassadors of Christ, preparing the Way of the Lord! Our first mandate is to help establish the apostolic team by identifying, equipping, motivating and encouraging those called to the 5-Fold Ministry (Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists).  These are end-time reformers whose purpose is to establish God's new order - according to the mandate given to each one.  In other words, the Church as we know it today is the old order; the old shall pass away, and behold, all things shall become new!  A Changing of the Guard.

Perhaps you can extract the implications for this transition in the following excerpt from "The Way Makers - Ambassadors for Christ, Preparing the Way of the Lord."

"God is re-positioning for the culmination of all things.  Before the end comes, the Gospel must be preached to everyone.  He is positioning His Apostolic Ambassadors:  Way Makers called to prepare the way of the Lord, to fulfill their ultimate assignment on earth.  

Kingdom purposes dictate where we are placed; not our qualifications, skills, talents, experience or expertise.  Our position has nothing to do with our education or financial resources, but it is determined by our willingness to be obedient and to complete the assignment.  The Kingdoms of this world are about to become the Kingdom of our God.  Way Makers will be strategically placed in positions of government, education, finance, medicine, law and business.  Many of us will come out of obscurity and take our God-ordained places - center stage in God's end-time plan!  As indicated in our chapter text (John 1:35-42) many will no longer follow the old order of man, but rather follow Jesus and become "fishers of men"!  

We are God's house and those who lead in His house have to be emotionally and spiritually healthy, and perhaps more importantly, possess a healthy fear of the Lord, in order to be prepared to receive and nurture the end-time harvest.  There is so much more at stake when we consider the decisions we make and the motives behind them.  Those who submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and are prepared will be raised up; those who are not will be moved out.  God is re-positioning; if you hold on too tight, destruction will come upon your ministry and there will be no provision.  Saul is the first example that springs to mind of one being so  consumed with jealousy and rage, and being determined to hold on to his throne as King at all costs, that it ultimately led to his death and the death of his son, Jonathan."

Has God given you an end-time assignment?  Will you answer the call?  Want to get equipped?  

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