Wednesday, October 28, 2015

THE HEART OF THE APOSTOLIC PHENOMENON

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been copied in its entirety and left intact as originally written by permission from Lars Widerberg.
This is Chapter One of a 24-chapter book he has written, which can be found in PDF form here.
For reflection and sober commenting:
Apostolicity
The heralding of the crucified God
Chapter 01 a
The heart of the Apostolic phenomenon
Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever.
Rom 11:36
The apostle Paul gathers three prepositions in this last part of a tremendously beautiful doxology, which settles the whole phenomenon of apostolicity. He sets forth the fundamental issue of that which lies sacred in the innermost being of a foundational man, by using three small words of direction and operation. The first preposition in the Greek language, which he uses to deliver the message and the mystery of the crucified God is “Ek”; “out of”, “preceding from”, “out form His hand” – as having its source and inception in God, and nowhere else.
The apostle continues to reveal the mystery of the force inherent in the sending of a man after the Father’s heart. The second preposition to be used is “Dia” – “through”, “by means of”, “by the hand of, under the hand” – as having no other driving incentive, operating under no other power. The third preposition describes the very goal of that which is truly apostolic, “Eis” – to Him and His glory, unto and into His hand, the final product is untouched and undefiled glory, final focus – God alone.
“I sought for a man” – I sought for a man to send. I sought for a man to stand. The voice of the Lord, the intonation in these words from the book of Ezekiel, holds unsearchable depths of disappointment and grief. The sadness in the tender voice of the Lord reveals, to a hearing ear, the cross eternally present in the heart of the Father God. The searching for men to send and to stand in the gap continues in these late days, as it did in the days of Ezekiel – right up to the very judging of the nation Israel in severest devastating by the forces of Babylon.
The apostolic mystery lies with a perceiving as God perceives, with a seeing as God sees. The foundational man – the apostolic man, as well as the prophetic man – has made himself available to impressions of the very heart of God. He learns Christ by journeying into the Father’s heart, he learns the Cross of Christ by dwelling in the presence of God – close to His heart, in which a cross is eternally present. The apostolic issue is one deeply spiritual, simply because it is utterly rational – the seeking for a man is the seeking for a vessel to hold and bear forth mercy amidst judgment. The Cross of Christ brings devastation to that which does not hold heavenly measure. The Cross is a matter of morals – its spiritual essence is righteousness, a righteousness which holds goodness and godliness expressed in practical terms towards the poor and needy. The Cross is a matter of morals – greed and pride overcome, especially within the Church, by truth and humility interactively expressed by men who have seen Heaven.
Men of apostolicity
Men brought forth for apostolicity are resolutely brought to perplexity, they are, without exception, brought to a solemn and thorough breaking. Moses was brought from palace and prominence to the backside of deserted land by the very realization of his own incapacity to be of any use in the process of deliverance of his own beloved people. Emancipation and salvation is never of men – a thorough reducing of hope and beliefs of this particular kind belongs to the initial part of the work of the cross of Jesus Christ. Hearing a voice from the interior of a burning thorn bush speaking about holiness and deliverance, sending the listener with his staff in hand and a not particularly wordy message into the courts of mighty men – a hearing of this kind reduces, it literally devastates the man to be sent at the beginning of his mission. And the same kind of process is repeated at the inception of every sending – a man alone with God, a man deprived of faith in man, a man brought to a solid knowledge of that which is intrinsically other.
Men brought forth for apostolicity are constantly confronted by that which is other, that which is different, that which lies beyond – even the humility seen from the perspective of the thorn bush is different. The heralding of the crucified God does not go forth from the mental realm – heralding is a matter of the heart. That which is given to him is what goes out from him and it is all processed by the heart – a message compiled in the study chamber reveals an unbroken heart, reveals a man relying on mental resources. The heralding of the crucified God begins in the prayer chamber, it is brought forth in perplexity, in agony, in wrestling with that which ought to bear holiness but is utterly incapacitated to do so. Also, his attitude toward that which is high and lofty is revealed in his handling of simple things. The apostolic man reveres simplicity – an attitude which develops into a statement regarding the beauty of holiness. The sent man is marked out by that which is holy, he even makes holy – he does so, based on a companionship with Him who alone is Holy. He does so because of his stewardship of the mystery of God.
“Who shall go up into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place?”
The monumental otherness of God, the intrinsic otherness of Christ lies at the root of the question of the Psalmist – a man who knew the realities of being sent. The royal mercy secured, the caliber of fatherhood expressed in the ruling and reigning of David call forth similar expressions at the root of every sending, in heart and manners of each man standing with apostolicity. Paul, the epitome of apostolicity, reminded the Thessalonians about “what manner of men we showed ourselves toward you for your sake”.
Not many are perplexed by the fact that we have little or no understanding of heavenly protocol. Not many are considering – are there any? – an ascent into the holy hill of the Lord. Ours are days when a counting of true saints would end with the poorest of results. The trivializing of things holy ought to shock any man – the general assembly continues thoughtlessly. The social pathos produced in the House of God rests on philanthropy – ground ever too shallow to represent the Kingdom of God. Apostolicity finds a point of beginning in the realization that we do not understand heavenly protocol.
Amos, one of the herdsmen of Tekoa, was taken from the flock by the Lord for the sake of prophetic words to a rebellious nation – to show the God who breaks over man’s straying religiosity. Our modern Church sits wanting as to divine realities – the burden of the Lord, the grief of the Lord remains a strange reality as the Church shuns the identifying with the heart of the Father, the identifying of the ever present need of the cross of Christ at work over our common idleness and carnality. The herdsman’s experience was that of a breaking, a breaking away from that which is mundane, ordinary – and safe. We expect God to make safe, to cover and secure that which belongs to our comfort zones. Salvation is there for us to define, to pray for to be revealed according to our liking. The apostolic heart wrestles to herald God’s salvation, the emancipation which is of Him, through Him and to Him – to bring glory to that which is predicated by eternal values.
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