Apostolic & Prophetic Foundations
By: Apostle Skhumbuzo Sangweni
Study Scripture: Ephesians 2:20 Having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.
Paul is not saying that the apostles and prophets are the foundation. As he wrote in I Corinthians 3:11, Jesus Christ is the only foundation for the church. It is the apostles and prophets who lay the foundation, which is Jesus. Jesus is not only the Cornerstone and the Foundation—He is the whole building.
In biblical times, engineers did not have elaborate plans drawn on large sheets of paper to work from. Instead they used the cornerstone of a building, which was made to be a scale of its shape and dimensions. That is why the cornerstone of the pyramids was also the capstone. During construction they would continually refer back to the cornerstone to be sure that they were complying with the architect’s plan. In this same way, Jesus is our Cornerstone. He is what is being built. This is what Paul summed up as the purpose of his work, and is the essence of true apostolic and prophetic ministry, as we read in Colossians 1:28-29: And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
Paul wasn’t just trying to get people to confess Jesus as their Savior, though that is certainly an important beginning. He wasn’t just trying to get them to understand Christian doctrine accurately, though that too is important. This was also about much more than just planting churches wherever he went. All of these were but a means to the end—having each believer, conformed to the image of Christ. This is the image of God that many were originally created to bear. This begins with reconciliation to God through the atonement of the cross. After the atonement comes the renewing of our minds, and the conforming of our lives to His ways.
God does not judge the condition or quality of His church by how good the meetings are on Sunday morning, but by how good the people are on Monday morning. The main calling of our life is more than just knowing the truth—it is having that truth become our life.
The main purpose of the church is more than just providing ministry to the people—it is laboring until each one is conformed to the image of Christ. That is the foundation of apostolic and prophetic ministry, and what they are called to impart to all of the ministries in the church. This is the foundation of ministry—laboring for each one to be made complete in Christ.
How does our ministry measure up when judged on this basis? The quality of our ministry is determined by the quality of the people we minister to in their daily lives. How are they at home? How are they when at work? How patient, loving, and kind are they when shopping, or in traffic? How do they live in secret when no one else is around to see them? Are they becoming more like Christ? This should be how we judge our own lives. Are we more like Christ this year than last year? Is that the fruit of our ministry in the people’s lives that we minister to?
Church history is similar to the history of Israel in Scripture. It is a continuous cycle of revival and deliverance followed by apathy, apostasy, bondage, and then the revival and deliverance that starts the cycle over again. The apathy usually turned into apostasy when rituals were used to replace the truths that they represented, or in more modern times, projects are used as a substitute for the life of Christ in our midst. There is nothing wrong with rituals when they are used properly, or with projects when they are kept in their place of secondary importance. We can possibly point to every major problem the church has had in history, and possibly in our own individual lives, as being the result of being distracted from our primary purpose–being conformed to the image of Christ, and our ministry purpose–helping others to conform to His image. Isn’t it time that we broke that cycle?