The Family of God - Apostle Israel @ www.wvcom-international.org
A successful transition in the present restoration of God is greatly determined by the measure of our relationship with an apostolic family that God has placed us in. An apostolic family is orchestrated by God, as a means to create spiritual stability and systematic growth in the things that God is doing in this season, and the present truth that is being revealed and declared.
The Kingdom of God is about God’s family and not a particular denomination. A denomination represents a set of beliefs and values. The primary focus is centered on doctrines. The family is centered on a father who raises up seeds (Sons) with a specific assignment from God.
Some churches started as a family and later digressed into a denominational system. In these systems, people are restricted and remain unskilled. Proper sonship is not produce in the absence of the true father and son relationship.
Many have been wounded, abused and ill treated in the house of God and in the work of the ministry through the concept of father and son relationship. Heart attitudes, rebellion and relational problems have developed as a result of this. This must be resolved as apostolic restoration brings present truth. Broken hearts are to be healed and restored in a proper biblical manner through love, acceptance and forgiveness. Restoration of relationship must take place for us to progress in God’s purpose. We must find a place for forgiveness and restoration.
Spiritual Fathers and Sons:
The apostolic and five-fold ministry is gaining momentum, yet the role and function of true spiritual father and son in the apostolic reformation is unclear. I believe in the days ahead, more clarity will be revealed.
Those with problems and unsettled issues with leadership and authority in terms of relationship strain and injury; I mean those who are not relational and not willing to acknowledge and submit to leadership authority, they find it difficult to accept this concept. They have a heart attitude and relational problem that they need to deal with first as leaders. Their broken heart needs to be healed and restored in a proper biblical way of love, acceptance and forgiveness. Many have been abused and ill-treated by others in leadership authorities who claim to be fathers and mentors, and this has caused a relational problem and negative attitude with the concept and idea of spiritual father-hood.
Some of the abuses have come through what many calls “Apostolic Covering”. The term “Apostolic Covering” is not found in scripture. However, it is a godly process whereby orphan ministers and ministries come into true covenant relationship with matured spiritual apostolic fathers. To bring apostolic covering is to cast one’s grace and anointing over another to shield, hold accountable and spiritually protect. The principle of apostolic covering makes way for impartation, acceptance and sonship. This results in ministers being discipled and properly released into the work of God.
However, we need to have the true and correct mindset, pattern and principle to function and bring apostolic covering over others; because the fact remains that Jesus Christ is the headship and covering for His Church and His people. Leaders are empowered by the Holy Spirit to provide apostolic covering as they represent Christ. Walking or relating with the principle and mindset of an apostolic covering gives room for us to receive impartation and come into sonship and acceptance.
In his relationship with Onesimus, the apostle Paul walked with the mindset of an apostolic covering.
“I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.” (Philemon 1:10-21).
Paul, an apostle knew that the fundamental ethos of a father and a son relationship is to provide protection and covering. He displayed this ethos in his letter to Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus and to the church in their house. Paul urged them to receive his spiritual son even though in time past Onesimus was unprofitable to them. This is the heart of a father in relationship with his son by means of an apostolic covering. There is acceptance, protection and reverence.
The Goal of Apostolic Covering:
Apostolic covering on the other hand needs to move beyond the hierarchy concept and mentality, and the goal of raising men unto ourselves as sons, rather than unto God. This is where many of the present apostolic covering ministries and ministers are stocked. That false chain and circle must be broken; otherwise we will continue to see a mix-up and fall-out of leaders and broken relationships because things are not in the right order.
Beyond the benefits of the father-son relationship, the goal of apostolic covering is to raise men unto God. Apostolic covering forms Christ in us and in the people. The apostolic function is not to develop relationships to ourselves, but to form Christ in the people. The apostolic goal has never been to establish our own authority over the people, but to establish the Lord’s authority.
“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 4:15).
Another translation of the scripture says ten thousand “boy leaders” in Christ. This kind of “boy leader ministry” is present in the churches today, represented by leaders who are immature in character and unskilled in the word of righteousness. These leaders have not yet come into family and sonship. They need to find an apostolic family and leave the orphan gutters were the spirit of rebellion and bastard rules.
Paul the aged (father) said, “I became your father in the Christian life and in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” The Greek word for “begotten” is translated as “gennao” meaning to procreate (give birth, have children or produce offspring); to regenerate, bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make, spring.
Paul the Apostle as a spiritual father procreated spiritual sons (produced offspring) in Christ Jesus through the gospel. What a profound experience in God! By the declaration and affirmation of the gospel and the mysteries of Christ and His Kingdom, there is a begetting of sons unto the glory of God.
A fundamental value guides the ethos of the family in which the father and son play a principle role. A family is not a family without a father and son. Although ministry is possible in the absence of this relationship, however, the breakdown in the procreation process affects the next generation.
“Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance"; he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom's Monument to this day.” (2 Samuel 18:18NRSV).
Much of what is seen today is the “Absalom’s Monument” that result from a lack of procreation of seed to carry on the legacy created. The significance and impact of any minister or ministry is determined by the legacy that remains. We must develop accurate prophetic prospect that perceives beyond time into the realm of perpetuity and infinity. Leaders should cultivate the desire to build something that will outlast their lifetime.
Accurate perspective on the cross-generational building of God’s Kingdom is vital to the present apostolic reformation. May the vision be so great as to require many generations for its fulfillment. Pragmatism, clarity, strategies, and most importantly relationship bring about such legacy.
The father and son relationship is one of a divine exchange and release. It is the source and place where purpose and destiny are recognized, defined, and released to the generations. It helps plant something of spiritual significant which is deposited in us, so we can become a part of what God is doing through the divine act and working of the Holy Spirit. (Without a spiritual father you can become a part of what God is doing through the divine act and working of the Holy Spirit, as we can see from leaders who are not working in this relationship, but it is obvious that the next generation will suffer the effect of such negligence and spiritual laxity).
I have problems with leaders who are always discerning and scheming what God is doing with their carnal mind. They become critical and reproachful to the present restoration truths, methods and apostolic terminology that are developing. We need to get rid of this unskillful and maladroit mentality and begin to walk in the Spirit and learn to applaud and encourage the good works from what we are seeing. Some leaders and ministries have gone off the edge and have failed in their ways, their methods and principle implementation as a result of one reason or the other, but we should be very careful in the way that we speak publicly and think about them, least we fall in the same position.
The Oxford Advanced Dictionary defines a father as a man in relationship to a child or children born from an ovum that he has fertilized. The world’s perspective of a father is one who brings forth (produce offspring) seeds into the world.
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
Scripture gives a higher perspective on fatherhood. A father is not just one who fertilizes an ovum and brings forth a seed (child) to the earth. A true father is one who brings forth a seed, and takes responsibility over that which he brings forth.
Scripture is clear that any father that does not take responsibility for his seed has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. God is raising up faithful sons of the Kingdom. This will require true spiritual fathers to disciple true spiritual sons.
The impact and success of our ministry as spiritual fathers will remain or be determined by our ability to reproduce ourselves through the impartation of our life and ministry to others who are true sons. There must be a spiritual succession and continuance of God’s eternal purpose. The banner of the Lord must not be brought down because of the death of a leader; so therefore, legacy must be passed on to others. Our labour ought not to be in vain, but result in the continuance of God’s eternal purpose. The baton of the Lord must be transferred to the next generation through spiritual succession. This transfer is seen in scripture: Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha. True sons carry on the vision of the father as the legacy passes to the son that will continue to fulfill God’s purpose in the earth. The succession must be accurate, as we pass on the legacy upon the right man that will bring the continuity of God’s purpose in the earth.
““For I have no one else of kindred spirit…But you know of his proven worth that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel…” (Phil 2:20, 22).
“I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps.” (2 Corinthians 12:18).
Timothy and Titus had the same spirit as Paul. They received the impartation of the gift, ministry and grace upon him; hence, Paul had the privilege of calling them sons and the confidence to send them forth to the churches.
Characteristics of Spiritual Fathers:
A true spiritual father is characterized by a unique relationship with God. We cannot become a spiritual father by our own decision or effort. No man can make himself a father, except God declares him one, because fatherhood is God’s initiative. In the Kingdom of God, fatherhood is determined neither by age, neither by years in ministry, but by the measure of grace and revelation released. A younger spiritual man with a unique relationship with God might disciple and father those who are older.
Those who have been faithfully fathered and released into ministry can become fathers. A minister without a spiritual father and covering is one without a ministry; and if there is no ministry there is no message.
Fathers prepare the sons for ministry and release them into their specific calling. The impartation from a spiritual father is a legacy that molds destiny. God calls and through the work of the Holy Spirit uses the father to train, equip and release. Knowledge and theology are gained from Bible school and seminary, but practical and spiritual impartation for ministry comes from spiritual fathers through submission and relationship. Each has its place.
A large percentage of our studies in bible school and seminary are not always used in the present day ministry. I am not saying that bible schools and seminary are not necessary, because they do have their level of impartation and influence, but they need to upgrade and align their knowledge and theology to match and correspond with the present work of the Holy Spirit.
The finishing of the house of God requires the restoration of spiritual fathers who are apostolic in nature. Not every father is an apostle, and not every apostle is a father, but each will carry an apostolic grace to impart to the son and to complete the house of God.
The road to fatherhood is a process. God provides to a father that which He desires to be imparted to the son. It is a privilege to pass on the blessing of God. Just as sons in the natural receive an inheritance from their fathers, spiritual fathers lead their sons into their spiritual inheritance. Through his walk with God, a spiritual father imparts wisdom and a deposit of the life of God to his spiritual sons.
Much of the success of the ministries and ministers that we see today is a harvest that has been produced from their labour. Labour produces harvest, but inheritance comes from sonship (relationship). It is a rest from labour. We don’t labour for it.
A spiritual father must have a spiritual experience and knowledge gained from his walk with the Lord and must be able to impart them by wisdom to his spiritual sons, as part of his inheritance which are laid up for spiritual sons to benefit them in their walk and pursuit of God’s purpose.
Benefits of the Father-Son Relationship:
Apostolic grace must be imparted to sons to carry on the heritage.
There is a problem in the nations as I travel around with the concept of fatherhood among churches and ministers. Leaders are more interested and keen to establish father and son relationship with only those who are already “successful” in ministry. One of the reasons is based on the seed offerings, tithes and material gifts they expect their sons to give to them as a sign of their faithfulness and loyalty as true sons.
As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. The father invests in the son to bring him to maturity and greater success, before he can seat to receive. This requires much investment and spiritual deposit and impartation to raise and see the son become successful and greater.
A true apostle with a heart of a father does not seek for his sons to build his own house for him, but seeks to assist in the establishment of his son’s house. We need to ponder and give consideration to this!
“I am now ready to visit you the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I want nothing from you, except you. Children should not have to save up to give to their parents. Parents should save to give to their children.” (2 Corinthians 12:14 – New Century Version).
We do not need a spiritual father who knows his son only when the father has a need, rather than imparting something to them. Leaders who are only interested in those who are already successful in ministry base on what to get from them are not true spiritual fathers, but “seed eaters”. True fathers impart their inheritance to their sons to establish them in the destiny and purpose of God.
True fathers are willing to take those things that are of value and inheritance that belongs to them and to give and impart to their sons to see them rise to greatness. At times, a spiritual father might step aside to promote and develop the son in order for him to function and come to his place of inheritance. We should not be afraid to remove ourselves from the job in order to promote the growing sons and develop leaders. The basic goal of every family is to reproduce and to advance its heritage. If not passed on to the next generation, our accomplishments and inheritance are ruined.
A true spiritual father will help his son discern the voice of God and true authority. The son will mature and become responsible in God’s house. Our maturity and development lies in the hands of tutors. It comes by our act of submission and relationship.
Maturity is not measured by what is external and visible. It is not about numbers, structures, buildings or ministry style. Spiritual maturity is measured by the way we relate and fellowship. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3). Only God can measure our maturity.
Ephesians 4:11-12 speaks of the role of the five-fold ministry to mature the church until we come to the unity of the faith. This corporate development of the Church is a relational place where the revelation of God is received, and we speak the same word which is reflected in our lives. This too is about sonship.
Every minister that does not have the apostolic covering of a spiritual father is spiritually bare. The church needs fathers that will cover their sons. True spiritual and apostolic fathers provide covering. They bring instruction, correction and protection to their spiritual sons.
“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children (bastards) and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:7-9).
A father loves his children and love compels him to lay down his life, so that their children can become all that God have made them to be. Impartation from father to son occurs through proximity and contact. Men that we cannot se physically and have any contact with cannot father us because there is no means for impartation. Books, emails, the media and other electronically means of communication are not an effective way for fathering. After all, parenting is not achieved through these means. Electronic fathers cannot impart the blessing or lay hands upon us to release the gifts of God and activate prophetic destiny.
A father’s responsibility is far beyond mentorship, it is to impart knowledge gained by experience and revelation and to guide the son in God’s purpose. It is therefore of the essence to note that our mentors are not necessarily our spiritual fathers. A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Often they are figureheads but we cannot draw upon them for moral and spiritual support.
Our spiritual fathers are those that we can have access to anytime and feel welcome and safe to share and express our pain and gain with. Access to a spiritual father is both welcomed and safe. They have the ability to speak into our lives.
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:14-18).
Our spiritual father might not be the one who led us to the Lord. The apostle Paul was the spiritual father of Timothy who had already received salvation. Their relationship developed as Timothy submitted to Paul by the grace vested upon his life and ministry for the purpose of impartation. Hence Paul could refer to Timothy as his own beloved son in the faith. This level of relationship gave Paul the privilege of circumcising Timothy as his son according to the custom of the Jews (Acts 16:1-3).
“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith:….” (1 Timothy 1:2).
“To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:…” (2 Timothy 1:2).
“But ye know the proof of him (Timothy), that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.” (Philippians 2:22).
“As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11 – New Reversed Standard Version).
“I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment.” (Philemon 1:10 - New Reversed Standard Version).
There were others Paul fathered whom he led to the Lord and some by adoption, including churches over which he was a spiritual father. Timothy, Onesimus, Titus, Epaphroditus, the Church in Corinth and other house churches were under Paul’s authority. Paul’s authority did not derive from position or democratic appointment but was derived from fatherhood relationship.
The father-son relationship is a “covenant relationship” between two purposed individuals. It was never intended to be a "positional relationship". Authority derived from true fathering is legitimate authority. Fatherhood is a legitimate biblical principle that was almost lost to the Church because of the loss of apostolic order.
Some authority in the Church today is derived from position, not from relationship. Positional authority is man-made (no legitimate fathers). Apostolic fathering is based on relationship and not on position. Apostolic authority is not based on organizational structure, but relational. The "positions of authority" does not create effectiveness in relationship building. It is a controlling pattern. Manipulation is birth when a position of authority is providing spiritual covering.
The relationship between a spiritual father and a son has nothing to do with religious circumstances or church positions and functions, but it is a divinely inspired alliance from God released between two people, designed for significant purpose and seasons in life and ministry. Paul was not an apostolic father to all churches, but only to those he had raised up in the Lord or have a direct authority over by relationship that was developed.
Apostolic fathers are not “institutional bishops”. Man made “institutional bishops” are an extra-local hierarchy that rules by position or title over the local church as we find in most denominations. It is not scriptural to be fathered by a religious position instead of a covenant relationship. There are those who are sons only by a religious concept. These relationships cannot endure seasons of transition.
Apostles (apostolic fathers) rule by relationship. True apostles and spiritual fathers will guide, direct and influence by virtue of relationship with a local congregation and its elders. If an apostolic father has no relationship, then he has little or no biblical authority. Apostles must come as a servant and not as dictators or masters to lord over the people.
Might a woman become an apostle? Certainly. If an apostle, the woman can raise up seed unto God. In the Kingdom of God, it is not just men who can become spiritual fathers. Women can become spiritual fathers and raise up seeds (Sons) unto God, because in the Kingdom, there is neither male nor female, we are all one in Christ. We are His seed. God is not gender-biased.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).
Who is a Son? The Oxford Advanced Dictionary defines a son as a male child or a male member of a family. In the Greek, there are two words for the word son. The first is “nepios”, which is used to describe an offspring who does not posses or exhibit the qualities of his father. He is referred to as a child, an infant, an immature Christian.
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;” (Galatians 4: 1).
The second word for son is “Huios”, which is used to describe one who has and exhibits the nature and qualities of his father. Becoming a true son is a process of maturity that offers certain rights and privileges.
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” (Galatians 4:1-2)
The offering of financial seed to a man or ministry does not qualify or produce a father-son relationship, though there must be the seed connection. The divine impartation of the spiritual life, grace and vision connects spiritual father and son. It is something that is spiritual that heaven does. The relationship brings the son to a unique level of relationship with God. This flows from the grace that is upon the father. The father must himself have a unique relationship with God.
Family – God’s Divine Order:
Spiritual fatherhood is not hierarchy. God is the one who places us into our family and declares a father over that family. We cannot personally choose our own father or our family. Wecannot swap families and fathers. We are to have one family, even though there are many God has raised into fatherhood. Each father raises up a family. There can be cross-pollination. Sharing is possible between families while maintaining family integrity, loyalty and authority. However, when there is more than one spiritual father loyalty is lacking as no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Not all apostles are set in governmental positions or authority over our life and ministry. God has ordained divine order for our family, life and ministry. We must discover the right order of God for our lives and ministry into which family we have been birth in. We cannot be in all family.
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” (1 Corinthians 4:14-16).
God sets the solitary in families. Sovereignly, God places us in a family according to His will and purpose for our life and ministry. This relationship develops naturally as we flow into it. The father on the other hand cannot decide his sons.
“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (Psalm 68:5-6).
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Today’s generation is a fatherless generation that needs a prophetic insight and an apostolic grace to fulfill their purpose of joining the heart of the fathers to the sons and the hearts of the sons towards the fathers. God does not want orphans in His Kingdom. Orphans must be adopted into a family. Orphan churches and ministries might have begun with a specific call of God but lost focus along the way. Part of the function of an apostolic family is to adopt orphan ministries and leaders into the family and vision. We must be adopted into a family for the purposes of God. The Spirit of bastards must be casted out.
When engrafted into a family by the Spirit of adoption, we can grow up as true sons in the Kingdom and lay hold of the inheritance of God in the earth. There must be a manifestation of the sons of God in the earth that will deliver the earth from the curse and corruption. This glorious move of God’s Spirit requires the restoration of fathers and sons to accomplish this purpose.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:19-22).
Kingdom Purpose in the Earth:
South Africa has one of the highest recorded HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. This has resulted from the lack of fathers to bring support and direction to their offspring. The present government has not been able to contain or manage the problem. The solution is not just the distribution of condoms and choices to abstain, but the standard and principle of fatherhood to disciple sons in morality must be raised up. Fatherhood is essential and foundational to nation building and the Church has a responsibility in this season. We must awake to the call.
As we go through a season of paradigm shift in our structures and ways of operation in God, we must recognize that God is connecting us into a family. God establishes family and governmental order flows as we submit to the family authority. Our part in the family is not a matter of personal choice, but God divinely ordains it. We must find and connect ourselves with a family as we submit under authority. We cannot for flimsy excuses choose to disassociate ourselves or search for other relationships that we want or feel comfortable in. Proper relationship with the Body of Christ is needed to function generationally.
Jacob’s family is a prototype of God’s family, the Church. 12 sons of Jacob = 12 tribes of Israel. Twelve is the divine number of governmental order.
When order is established in a family, the authority of God flows and it brings us into the fulfillment of our destiny and inheritance in God as sons in His Kingdom.
Division has come as some sons have sold part of the house (the Church). As in the Old Testament, the Spirit of Joseph must rise up within. It will bring the brethren together in unity and cause them to have an inheritance in the land.
True sons bear the father's reproach and legitimate sons faithfully planted in the house heed correction. However, sons ought not expose the nakedness of the father lest a curse is brought upon their seed (Genesis 9:19-26).
The father imparts vision to the son. The son must understand the heartbeat of God in the father’s vision and seek to advance that vision. To benefit from true apostolic fathers, we must first be true sons loyal to the vision and message of the father.
All ministries benefit from coming under apostolic covering and become exposed to the apostles’ doctrine. Those who faithfully follow their father will have the word of their father abiding in them. We cannot be a son and not carry the word our father carries. As spiritual positions and truths become established, leaders receive a vision of the house. It is important that we raise up those who seek to promote the vision for the establishment of God’s Kingdom and purpose in the earth rather than men who seek to take our position.
Honour and Obedience:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;” (Ephesians 6:1-2).
True sons obey and honour their spiritual father. Both obedience and honour are important. True honour recognizes those responsible for the discovery of our significant purpose and season. A spiritual father continues to redefine the son’s history and to define his future.
Sons know and respond to the voice of their spiritual father. There is clarity in the spirit that speaks in the father-son relationship. The voice of a stranger is not entertained.
Our relationship with a spiritual father reflects our relationship with Father God. God tests our hearts in covenant father-son relationship on earth. Faithfulness and submission to a spiritual father indicate how one’s relationship with God is guarded and esteemed. Authority and headship in each family and household is established by God’s divine order.
We should not make the Church a spiritual orphanage to keep the saints and restrict them, but we should release the saints to do the work of the ministry. Releasing the saints gives room for development and maturity, but first there must be an adoption into a family that God has ordained for us.
Training and Discipleship:
The time has come for apostolic fathers to disciple and raise up a new generation of apostles. True sons and leaders must go through apostolic discipleship training. A disciple is a convinced adherent follower of the grace of an apostle. He accepts and helps spread the apostolic message. We cannot be a disciple of the Lord except we have been discipled first by the word through the set order of authority that God has set over our life and ministry.
It is important to note that the 12 apostles of the Lamb were first disciples of the Lord, before they were commissioned into apostleship. First disciples, then apostles! The Lord Jesus Christ initially sent out the disciples to preach the good news of the Kingdom (Matthew 10). Prior to this, they were called ‘Disciples’ before they were sent out. But they are immediately called ‘Apostles’ in the next verse, where they are appointed and sent out by the Lord. We cannot be called apostles unless there is a clear call and evidence of the Lord sending us out for this purpose.
Though the calling has been ordained before birth, yet it is a process of development where we grow and mature fully into the office to function. We cannot undermine the process of discipleship. One of the leadership problem that is being identified is that we are having untrained and undeveloped leaders running the business. These are boy-leaders that cannot run the business of the father, but the spirit of the present jet age is producing immature ministries and making a wreck of it. We need to be patient and go through the process of training, preparation and development (discipleship). The question is how long are we willing to seat and serve until we are released by our father in a proper manner so we can raise our own family?
God desires to release leaders who are prepared, equipped and mature to fulfill His purpose. After all, Jesus prepared thirty years for a three and a half year ministry, with eternal impact! This ministry is felt until this day.
We need to understand the process of preparation for Moses at the backside of the desert until there is an encounter to release us. Sometimes we expose ourselves before our time; for this reason God is calling some leaders back into “boot camp” for proper equipping and preparation. God wants to thrust out prepared, equipped and matured ministry and leaders to fulfill His purpose. There is a company of people the Lord has sovereignly kept in the enemy’s camp that He is bringing out like Moses.
True sons embrace apostolic discipleship and the time for apostolic fathers to disciple and raise up a new generation of apostles is come. Apostles are fathers in the family of God. Grace is released when we receive an apostolic father as this helps the son locate a place of identity in the family of God. Obedience to God’s voice will result in promotion. The time to tune our ears to hear the voice of spiritual fathers is come.
Apostles are fathers in the family of God. Grace is released when we receive an apostolic father because this helps us to come to a place of identity to prove that we belong to a family of God. The approval and acceptance of an apostolic father results in a closer relationship with God. They are key leaders that have a unique grace from God, and when we receive them, we are receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father.
“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)
The eternal zoe of God flows from our relationship with our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are going to see a progression and continuity of our ministry, we must walk in sonship and prepare ourselves to be fathers who are matured enough to pass on the heritage that will bring maturity and perfection to the Church. We must walk in sonship and come up to a place of fatherhood in bringing forth matured sons to carry on the legacy. We are not to remain sons who are immature, but we are to develop and grow into fatherhood so we can reproduce sons as well and raise up our own family. This is one of the goal.
God prepares both father and son to function in their call. Those who walk in sonship prepare also to be a father and pass on the heritage. This attitude will bring maturity and perfection to the Church.
We do not enter and walk in sonship merely by anyone laying their hands upon our head. It is not an initiation that is done by any man. Sonship is a unique relationship that we step into with our spiritual father, but more importantly with God. It is a progression from being a servant to becoming a son. Sons receive their inheritance! It is a place of maturity as we walk towards perfection. There is indeed an impartation through the laying on of hands and receiving prayers, but the spirit of illegitimacy and a bastard is only removed when we come into relationship with one who is walking in the Spirit and grace of sonship, who can then release us into that experience and walk with God.
“And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Mark 9:7)
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
There is a divine acceptance when we walk in sonship. The purpose of apostolic fathering and walking in sonship is not to raise up a kingdom cult of sons unto a man as we see today in many apostolic networks and denominations, but it is unto God. It is a wrong apostolic concept to raise others unto ourselves, without releasing them unto God. There is falsity in drawing others to ourselves. Apostles are not called to advance and promote self kingdom, but to advance the government of God’s Kingdom. Apostles are called to advance God’s Kingdom in the earth. Released sons are able to raise seeds (sons) in the earth.
The whole goal and model for the family of God is to give identity and an inheritance to sons in the ministry through a relationship with a spiritual apostolic father, and the father (apostle) does not simply raise sons unto himself, but he releases the matured sons who comes into fatherhood themselves, and they are able to raise seeds (sons) themselves as a family. It is a circle of the reproduction of the sons of God in the earth.
“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory ….” (Hebrews 2:10)
Not all spiritual fathers are apostles, but all “mature apostles” are fathers. Sons grow into fatherhood and every father is first a son. This is a cycle of responsibility, submission to authority and divine order. If our view of fatherhood is perverted our purpose will be ruined. No wonder this relationship is so important: undermined fatherhood undermines Kingdom purpose. May each son faithfully serve until released by his spiritual father. May each father develop and release his spiritual son into the call.
The work of the Kingdom will involve activation and release of each member of the body to fulfill God’s call. Grace is upon the five-fold ministry and a releasing spirit is characteristic of apostolic grace in the house.
The fact is that people must be released into the ministry and there must be a proper order of release. The proper order of release ensures that the blessing of the father goes with the son. Apostolic releasing produces growth and the continuation of godly heritage, but very few local pastors want to hear of someone leaving the ministry for other assignment, even though there is a clear word for this direction. Sons are mandated to receive their inheritance! Those who walk in this restored truth receive an impartation of grace, and strengthen and stabilise the system of family in the earth.
In this new season, those who desire and choose to hear God’s voice and be obedient to walk in present truth will move to the next level.
These are spiritual times to change and to tune our ears to hear the voice of true fathers and not listen to the voice of strangers, because there are many successful leaders who are parading themselves in the institution of the Church as fathers, yet they lack the true presence of God.
Though there are many “senior leaders” in the vineyard of the Lord who have laboured and there is a great measure of success (harvest) in their work, yet many are not walking in sonship; and this is where many are failing, because they are not able to pass on the legacy to the next generation. These leaders must be adopted (embraced, accepted and approved) as sons by matured and spiritual apostolic fathers for a season in other to break-off the limitations and impart the Spirit of adoption into sonship, and then they can be released to raise up a family and reproduce after their kind in the true Spirit of sonship. When we do this, we will then begin to discover that there is a spiritual dept and measure of grace that is unlocked when we walk in true sonship. Sons are mandated to receive their inheritance!
The success of our ministry is measured by the impact we have made in reproducing others who are true sons that can carry on the heritage of the family. The yardstick for measuring our success has nothing to do with the structures and the monuments that we have raised up or the numbers and miracles that we have recorded. These are good reports, but the best part and ultimate goal is to raise up seeds (spiritual sons) that will carry on the heritage.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6).
“I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” (Song of Solomon 1:5-6).
It is so disappointing to hear and see how many leaders neglect their call and responsibility at home and over their natural family, but seek to lead. This has resulted to broken homes, and so many families facing strong oppositions from the enemy. Ministry should not substitute the place of family. Our first priority and ministry should be to God and our family, before any other responsibility.
Let it not be that we have been made keepers of the vineyard while our own vineyard have we not kept and it stand in disarray. The house must be put in order. Leadership is a call that begins at home. Our ability to bear and minister the able word of God will be tested by our ability to order our house after God’s will and purpose.
“(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:5).
I’m sorry to say, the Church today is having a substitute gospel and message to condor divorce and remarriage in the Kingdom. It is sadden to know that there is more divorce and remarriage taking place in the Church and among ministers than the world. We need to put the house of God in order and remove every filthiness from His alter.
God’s perfect plan gives priority to Him, to family and then to ministry. God designed the family system. He designed marriage and the intimacy of that relationship. He designed the father-son relationship. Wisdom for all of these relationships is available (James 1:5).
Restoring the Wounded & Falling:
“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27).
There are many wounded and falling leaders in the house of God and in the ministry, but our attitude towards these leaders has always been that of laughter, mockery and condemnation. The reason is that there have not been true fathers to bring covering and support to these leaders, and most of them have no place of refuge, renewal and reinstatement.
In the midst of this, there are many wounded and falling ministries and ministers that God is restoring and placing a new mandate upon them – charging them with a new commission. God loves to take these rejects and make them trophies of His grace. We must understand that only by His grace we stand.
The Church is the only institution and militant army that kills its wounded. We shoot them dead. Die We Say! We find pleasure in scorning and amusing wounded and falling leaders in the Kingdom. The restoration of true fathers in the Kingdom will bring the righteous sympathetic and supportive heart to bind the wounded and take them through the process of healing and restoration, and then reinstate them back into the forefront of ministry as able ministers of the Kingdom. “Live and Not Die” will become our emblem.
Neither sinful actions nor attitudes of judgement, mockery and condemnation are condoned. God alone knows each person’s vulnerabilities and limitations. Our self-indulgence and immoral characters have brought our fall and many have become wounded in the field, but I believe they can be restored back, and the best way is not to publicly speak of their weakness and expose their infidelity and weak spot. This does not in anyway build the Kingdom of God, but it gives room for discouragement and it brings a great hindrance to the Body of Christ.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12).
God is the one who heals and restores. A new mandate and commission upon these leaders brings forth trophies of His grace. It is by His grace that we all stand.
We all have our own personal weak spots and limitations, and we are all vulnerable. However, we need to possess a quality Kingdom lifestyle that will impart, influence and build others positively and not obliterate them. This requires maturity in apostolic leadership.
One of the responsibilities for apostolic fathers is to provide a place of safety for the sons. Restoration of true fathers in the Kingdom will birth the heart to bind the wounded. True fathers cover and support these wounded and fallen leaders and provide a place of refuge, renewal and appropriate reinstatement. Maturity in apostolic leadership will positively influence and build the church
Biblical order in God’s word acknowledges the shepherd (pastor) of a local church as the spiritual father He is the set-man who serves as the overseer. Believers established in the Church look to him as their primary source of spiritual impartation. Other apostles and ministry gifts should help affirm this and promote the support and honoring of the set-man in his house and among his family.