“Apostle,” “Apostasy,” and “Resurrection,”
could change the way you look at mission forever!
Apostle (Apo-Stello) There are over 80 occurrences of the Greek word ‘apostolos’ (apostle) in the NT, mostly in the writings of Luke and Paul. The word is a joining of two ideas; the common prefix ‘apo’ (out from) and the verb ‘stellō’ which means “to send.” In NT it is applied to Jesus as the Sent One of God (Hebrews 3:1), to those sent by God to preach to Israel (Luke 11:49), and to those sent by churches (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians. 2:25)
Apostellō seems frequently to mean ‘to send with a particular purpose,’ the force of apostolos is probably ‘one commissioned,’ and implied, commissioned by Christ.
It is reasonable, then, to say that all believers are apostolic-ally accountable for their sent-ness. (Luke 9:10) (John 17:18) Even if we were to limit the Great Commission to a subset of believers, which I would not, we are still ALL ambassadors of the King and co-workers in reconciliation. The Apostle Paul discusses the ministry of reconciliation when he uses the term “ambassadors” for Christ:
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, emphasis added).
So the prefix “apo” or “ap” means – from, off, or away from. Combined with “stello” – to get set, place things in order, arrange, and equip to be sent.
More simply put, ‘Apo’ (Separated out) & ‘Stello’ (to be sent) “Separated out to be sent,” is having a Christlike sent-ness and to be separated out like Christ, and sent. “Therefore, holy brethren, be partakers of the heavenly calling, and “consider” (meditate, dwell on, be infused with life changing thought leading to action) Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” (Hebrews 3:1)
Apostasy (Apo-Stasia) We already know that ‘apo’ means ~ “to be separated out from,” but ‘Stasia’ is where we get our english word ‘stasis.’ For you Sci-fi geeks out there, you know when someone is put in stasis, usually because of a grave or life threatening injury, they are immobilized, set still, and artificially sustained until such a time as something can be done. To be in stasis is to be sedentary or motionless. An example of ‘stasis’ from scripture is when Peter “falls into a trance” in Acts 10:10. The word ‘trance,’ is ‘exstasis’ in the Greek and is most similar to our word ‘ecstasy.’ Of course, being held still by God and having all of our attention captivated by Him is a good thing. But there is a fear that paralyzes one into an evil sort of ecstasy. (Mark 16:8)
We often equate apostasy with teaching false doctrine or rejecting biblical truths. That’s part of it, but settling for that definition undercuts the seriousness of it’s more complete meaning. If we take a second look at the word as ‘apo’ and ‘stasis’ together, then it could very well mean being separated out for the purpose of being put in stasis or immobilized. In other words, rejecting sent-ness and embracing a sedentary state is apostasy. Another way of saying apostate is “being mission-less.”
“Some will fall away from the faith, “inappropriately focusing attention on” deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, they will be “seared” (encased) (put in stasis) in their own conscience, they will “forbid” things and “advocate abstaining” from things which God has created to be gratefully “shared in community” by those who believe and know the truth. They will “reject” the things that God has created for His purposes and sanctified to be received and “exercised” with gratitude.” (1 Timothy 4:1-4) Paraphrase mine…
Apostasy then, is sort of a self disfellowship that leads to being mission-less and motionless, an attachment to detachment, or an unsanctified stationary posture.
Forgive me for being too geeky or should I say Greeky, but these thoughts were inspired by a conversation I had with my friend Tim Catchim. It caused me to lose a lot of sleep for which I blame him and am grateful for. Thank you for reading up to this point. You can subscribe to this blog for similar posts and mission oriented discussions here. But, here comes the “punch line…”
Resurrection (Ana-Stasis) The Greek prefix ‘ana’ means – up, back, again, upside down, or back again. We already know what stasis means, but I’ll add that it implies ‘a sinful and willful motionless or passivity.’ So putting the greek root words together for “resurrection” (Ana-Stasis), it would mean rising up, inverting, returning, or coming back to a state of movement in life, community, and mission against stasis. It is the opposite direction of apostasy. It is the counter-measure to apostasy, and the solution to a sedentary, silent, and sinful stillness. It is the appropriating of and the identification with Christ’s resurrection and ours.
“You have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God… Whatever your mission is in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3)
My fellow ambassador, live in a posture of resurrected, apostolic, and communal sent-ness and you will guard yourselves well from apostasy.
Therefore, holy brethren, be partakers of the heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…
*This article has been revised and updated from early 2013.