In John 15, Jesus said the following to his disciples whom he called to be apostles:
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. ~ John 15:26-27
Jesus told these men (the apostles,) that they would bear witness of him because they had been with him from the beginning. He says this in view of the coming of the Holy Spirit who would testify of him.
Jesus links the ministry of the apostles to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would testify of Jesus and they too would testify of him.
In Acts 1 we read the following:
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ~ Acts 1:1-8
Many Christians with Charismatic and Pentecostal backgrounds are familiar with these words from Acts 1, which have often been cited and applied to all believers. There is nothing wrong with this understanding because we are all called to share in the furtherance of the gospel and we need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to do so.
However, we miss out on the Biblical narrative of the calling of the original apostles when we do not allow this portion of scripture to be understood within its contextual setting. Failing to understand the Biblical narrative regarding the calling of the original apostles has contributed to an abuse by some who overemphasize the ministry of apostleship
If the truth be told, few who know this text have taken the time to think through it within its proper context. Jesus was specifically speaking to the apostles who he had chosen regarding their ministry.
Since we so often read the Bible as if everything is speaking directly to us, we often miss out on what it is actually saying in context and consequently we make a mess of things such as the ministry of apostleship.
The apostles who were chosen by Jesus and given commandments by him have an authoritative testimony about Jesus which is the foundation on which the Christian faith stands. Yet many of today’s so called apostles rarely teach, preach, or minister in accordance to testimony of Jesus give to us by the original apostles.
When God sent Peter to the house of Cornelius, Peter said the following:
And we (the apostles) are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.~ Acts 10:39-43
True apostolic alignment is alignment with the things which the apostles who were ordained by Jesus, preached and taught. It is not this new message being preached by many “so-called apostles” whose message sounds nothing like that which the first apostles testified about Jesus.