October 10, 1978
Literally, you could translate it “a called apostle.” Paul, a doulos of Jesus Christ, a called
apostle. I like it just “called.” Paul, a doulos of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated
unto the gospel of God.
The word “called” is a word I have an opportunity with. I want to set this before you,
because there are segments in here I cannot fully explain. I’m going to try to share it with
you to the best of my ability, but I wish I knew how to teach it with more detail, more
accurately, to wrap it all up.
There’s a difference in being called. I can’t document it in a concordance, because a
concordance is man made. But there’s a difference in a person who is called as a believer,
to be called from being an unbeliever to being a believer, or to be called as an apostle.
There seems to me there has to be a difference. Yet, I do not see any in the Greek words
that are used in the text. When we are called as believers, the Bible says we are
ambassadors, we’re soldiers. We’re called sons of God, from I John. That, to me, has to be
considered in the light of this verse in Romans, where he was a doulos of Jesus Christ
before he was called an apostle. Perhaps in God’s foreknowledge I could put this all
together, because God in His foreknowledge knew when He called Paul to be born again,
He also at that moment knew he would believe and get the ministry of an apostle. Perhaps
that’s the best I can teach you.
This word, called, in Romans 1:1 is the Greek word klētos. It is used in Verse 1, Verse 6.
To me, it says in Verse 1, a doulos of Jesus Christ called an apostle. See the change in
Verse 1? Called of Jesus Christ. In Verse 7, called saints. Isn’t that tremendous in these
three verses the usage of the same Greek word. Yet, in the context you can see there has to
be some slight variation, because in Verse 6 they were the called of Jesus Christ. Paul had
to be called of Jesus Christ before he could be called an apostle. Unless it’s in the
foreknowledge of God where he would be called of Jesus Christ and apostle, which later
on would come into fruition. In Verse 7, called saints.
It is also used in Romans 8, this same word.
I believe the first usage of this word is in Matthew.
The word “chosen” has the same root word. Called is klētos. This is its first usage. I like
the word “chosen” for called. We were called in Him before the foundation of the world,
chosen in God.
I Corinthians 1:2
I Corinthians 1:24
Jude 1, 2
The root of this word “called” in Romans 1 is kaleō and its first usage is in Matthew 1.
As I worked this word, you know, they called his name Jesus. They designated a name for
him. I was thinking perhaps we could distinguish in the calling, like designated
ambassadors, designated soldiers. You could be an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ
and still not have a ministry of apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher or pastor. I wonder if
one phase of this word “called” could not be the special vocation where one phase of the
word “called” is simply designated. Call his name Jesus, designated. Then his vocation
became saving his people.
That’s about all I know about it.
I tried to work the word “gave.” He gave, so to be called an apostle has to also imply the
“gave” of 4:11. How do you put together the “gave” of an apostle, with the “called” of an
apostle, with the “chosen” of an apostle? You will have to handle this in your life and
Did he give SOME apostles or did he give some APOSTLES? From the text, you can’t
touch it. I think it’s a combination of both.
I think you can see we’re dealing with something that’s not as simple as an “A B C”
statement. It’s got a great in depth perception and awareness of God’s Word you have to
have on just this word “called.”
I know of no man ever called with the ministry who has not been or is not a doulos. A
ministry is not earned in the sense where you work for it. But if you’re not a working
doulos you’ll never have it. It’s not given because of works. It’s given because of God’s
foreknowledge, His mercy and His grace. But before you can be called as an apostle, I am
confident you have to sell out. You get to that place where you’re a doulos.
So in the light of that, I think Romans 1:1 is absolutely fantastic. Called an apostle. It’s not
something you educate people for. It’s not something you graduate from college or
seminary with. It is a gift like Ephesians says. It’s a gift of God for the building up of the
church, the edification, etc.
That’s all I know at the present time about the word “called.” I’d like for you to consider it
in the light of what I’ve shared with you, watching the designation and the vocation.
The next word is the word “apostle.” We defined this word at one of our teachings as one
who brings new light to his generation. It may be old light, but it’s new to the generation to
whom he speaks. The Greek word for apostle is apostolos. Apostolos comes from the word
apostellō. The preposition apo will tell you a great deal because it is from. It means from.
As we read in Ephesians, gave gifts from God. It is from God.
I Corinthians 9:1
By Jesus Christ – In that I see the designation. God the Father, who raised him from the
dead – is where I see the calling of the vocation.
Paul an apostle. Very simple, not of men neither by men.
I Timothy 2:7
Preacher – I understand this word “preacher.” But the greatness of the preaching was the
teaching of the Word. I know this from the Book of Acts. (School of Tyrannus) a teaching
ministry like Paul had, having the apostleship many times go hand in hand, but it’s still not
of men. Ordained an apostle. Ordained means set apart. Who sets apart? God. Ordained by
what God did when He gave gifts unto men.
“Sent” is the word apostellō, which means to be sent from or for someone from somewhere.
It means the sent one.
It is in this light that I taught you last week, and I’m sure to some of you it must have been
a revelation, that Jesus Christ was an apostle.
Christ Jesus was an apostle in the same sense that Paul was an apostle, as one sent. That
alone would tell us that Jesus Christ could not be God. The sent one was Jesus Christ. God
sent him. Paul was sent. In this sense the Lord Jesus Christ is called an apostle,
because anyone who is sent has the authority of the one who sent.
The sent one has to have the authority of the one who sent him.
An apostle is a sent one. He has the authority of the one who sent and he has the message
to deliver of or for that one who sends him.
II Corinthians 10:8
An apostleship implies authority.
II Corinthians 13:10
It’s an authority unto edification. That becomes very important in the ministry of an
apostle. It’s not one who is sent to destroy. It’s one who is sent to bring new light to his
generation to edify. Edify means to build up. It includes also the comfort, serenity, peace.
Paul sets in the first eight chapters the whole great truth of justification by believing what
Jesus Christ did. All of this authority and greatness you’re going to see.
Any man with the ministry of an apostle will have grace that was given unto me. You’re
saved by grace. But to have the ministry of an apostle seems to be a special over and
beyond type of grace. That’s all I know about it.
Paul called an apostle, a sent one who had the authority and power of the one who sent
him, plus great grace. That’s why he was separated. When you’re born again you are
separated, sanctified, called out. The ministry of an apostle, separated.
I think the senses world or “Christian” world would think that if you’re called as an apostle
that puts you higher on the spiritual ladder. I do not believe that. I believe if you’re called
an apostle you’re to be a greater servant to the people, not up the ladder but down on the
ladder among God’s people.
It’s really fantastic to tie together the word “called,” the word “apostle,” and the word
“separated.” Those three words are fantastic in this verse.
The first usage of “separated” in the New Testament is in Matthew 25.
The Greek word for “separate” is aphorizō.
It is a sharp cutting, this separation, a distinctly, set apart deal. Separate me Barnabas and
I think it’s this verse that blessed my heart in giving me an understanding that this call
could not only be in designation but also in vocation, even before the foundations of the
world because of God’s foreknowledge.
I think that’s a very significant verse. To separate must mean basically a calling out from,
like out from among the dead, dead in trespasses and sins, sanctified, etc. Called by
His grace is an added blessing and responsibility where he is responsible to God for
carrying out the ministry that God gives him or makes available to him. That is why
Romans 1, Paul, doulos, called an apostle, or called as an apostle, or a called apostle,
separated. As Barnabas and Paul were separated, this apostle was called and separated.
He’s got a special mission, a special job to perform. You and I knowing some of these
things from the Word, we know there was given to him the ministry that manifested the
administration of the mystery. What that mystery was all about was given to him, and that
certainly was new light to a new generation.