While the Lord Jesus Christ was on Earth fulfilling his ministry of salvation by grace through faith in his divinity, life, death, burial, and resurrection, he knew that he was not sent here to be physically present to complete every result that the gospel would bring about. For example, he knew milestones such as the Holy Spirit permanently dwelling within believers and the worldwide spread of the gospel would only occur after his ascension into heaven. That being the case, it was always his plan for his church to continue the ministry he started after his departure. So he had to have apostles chosen directly by him to carry out and carry on whatever God wished to be done on Earth as it pertained to his gospel.
To verify the importance of his apostles directly chosen by him for the church, he established a doctrine that the acceptance of the teachings of his apostles were the equivalent of accepting his own teachings. Likewise, rejecting them would be like rejecting Christ himself. This is apparent when Christ said the following to or about his apostles:
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. Matthew 10:40
He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. Luke 10:16
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. John 13:20
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:20
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; John 17:20
The apostles knew this doctrine very well. It’s why they stood firm on their God-given, God-anointed authority whenever someone questioned their words as given to them by the Holy Spirit. Here are some examples:
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:37
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:6
9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. 3 John
In our day, anyone rejecting these apostles should raise a red flag with those of us who are truly in Christ. Several pseudo-Christian groups have been trying to influence Christ’s true church for a very long time now with teachings that try to undermine the apostles. Some have claimed Paul hijacked Christianity and duped the other apostles into following his teachings. It’s their way to try to get Christians to reject all New Testament epistles and to cherry-pick just a few passages in the four gospels they deem acceptable.
Dig deeply enough and you’ll discover that all such pseudo-Christians have ulterior motives that somehow seek to justify their pet sins, ranging from hatred for specific people groups to love for sexual sins. Who are some of these pseudo-Christian groups that reject the apostles? Aryan Nations groups, the Hebrew Israelites, Hebrew Roots Movement individuals, the Jesus Seminar, Swedenborgians, Unitarian Universalists, and United Church of Christ, just to name a few. Undoubtedly, their teachings are spiritually toxic and should be rejected by any saint desiring to be Biblically correct.