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Foundations are important, as any builder knows. And so it is an extremely important fact that Christ's church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. So said Paul in Eph. 2:19-22: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
Christ said that He was going to build His church, and that it would be founded on a "rock" (Mt. 16:18). The rock upon which the church rests is the rock-solid truth about Christ and His will. This truth was what Christ revealed to the apostles, individuals designated by Christ Himself to serve as His authoritative spokesmen and representatives. When the apostles preached the gospel, they did so as Christ's "ambassadors" (2 Cor. 5:18-20). And Christ gave these men the power to perform miracles to guarantee the authenticity of what they preached. Paul referred to these miracles as the "signs of a true apostle" (2 Cor. 12:12). In the first century, there were perhaps many who falsely claimed to be apostles, but back then, as now, it takes more to make an apostle than someone's claim to be one. Those who were truly endowed with Christ's authority were given objective means by which their authority could be verified.
Today, we dare not reject the word of Christ revealed authoritatively through His apostles. To do so would be to forfeit the very salvation that is available in Christ. The Hebrew writer asked, "How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will" (Hb. 2:3,4).
Throughout the coming week, let's consider the importance of what Christ did through His apostles. And let's have respect for the complete written record of apostolic teaching that we have in the New Testament.
Monday: Luke 6:12-16
Key Idea: The apostles were selected to be such by the Lord Himself.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Jesus do before selecting His apostles? What is the difference between a "disciple" and an "apostle"? In the New Testament, how did one get to be an apostle? Consider Jn. 6:70.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10-27-29.
Tuesday: Acts 1:8; 2:32
Key Idea: The apostles were witnesses of the resurrected Lord.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Jesus say the apostles would do? What was the obvious requirement for this work? Consider Ac. 1:21-26. Why was this work so important in the beginning period of the church?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:30.
Wednesday: Galatians 1:11,12
Key Idea: The apostles received their message directly from God by inspiration.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Paul mean when he said the gospel he preached was "not according to man" (NKJV)? What is meant by the statement that he had received it "through a revelation of Jesus Christ"? Consider 1 Cor. 2:13.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:31.
Thursday: Matthew 16:18,19
Key Idea: The apostles could speak the word of Christ with the authority of Christ Himself.
Questions for Family Growth: What are the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" that Jesus spoke of? What promise was made in Jn. 16:12-15? What authority did the apostles have to "command" certain things? Consider 2 Pt. 3:1,2.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 10:32.
Friday: 2 Corinthians 12:12
Key Idea: God confirmed the authority of the apostles with miracles.
Questions for Family Growth: What were the "signs of a true apostle" that Paul spoke of? What is said in Hb. 2:1-4 about the confirmation of the gospel of Christ? Why should we not "neglect such a great salvation"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:1.