Introduction: Every time I prepare for a sermon I learn much more than I can share during the message. Sometimes it’s too much information and other times the material just doesn’t fit in the with the flow. I want to use this new series to address things left “on the cutting room floor” or to address questions that naturally arise out of the sermon.
The first installment of this series comes from a sermon I preached on Sunday, April 26 at River City Church. The Scripture passage came from Acts 1:12-26 in which the disciples were stuck in the middle time after Jesus’ ascension but before Pentecost. They were together in prayer and they made the decision to replace Judas’ vacated spot in the office of Apostle (See Matthew 19:28). They chose a disciple who had been with them from the beginning and one who had been a witness to the resurrection. They picked two qualified men and “randomly” selected Matthias’ name trusting that God knew best who to choose. We learn from 2 Corinthians 2:12 that the signs of a true apostle include signs and wonders and mighty works which authenticated the apostles as God’s messengers. Even after some of the 12 Apostles were killed, they are not replaced because the office of Apostle ended with those original 12.
This leads to the natural question about Paul. Wasn’t he an Apostle? Yes, he called himself an apostle in 1 Corinthians 1:1, 9:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, and Romans 1:1. However, Paul was a unique case: (1) He is the only person visited by Jesus Christ after his ascension. (2) He was also called for a unique purpose by Jesus himself: to take the gospel to the Gentiles. (3) Paul himself did not consider his position as the same as one of the 12 Apostles because he was late to the party (See 1 Corinthians 15:8). In the very next verse he says that he is the least of all of the apostles.
Therefore, in order to be more precise I would like to correct my sermon. I said the office of “apostle” ended with the Twelve. I should have said, “The office of ‘apostle’ ended with the Twelve plus Paul.”