Built on the Foundation of the Apostles
Now that the Lord was taken up to rule his Church from the right hand of power, his Church had to begin her work. And we read that the first task of that work was loving fellowship and unity (one accord), prayer, and as is evident in Peter’s sermon, obedience to God’s will revealed in Scripture. They devoted themselves to these things; they were not matters they attended to now and then, but the matters they attended to most of all. Church programs will never be as effective as obedience to God’s will revealed in Scripture, fervent prayer, and loving fellowship. These are essential. And please note that the Church was composed of a mere 120 believers. Regardless of size, few or many, those things mentioned here are the primary tasks of any local body which goes by the name, “church.”
The rest of the passage concerns filling the office vacated by Judas. Peter and the rest of the Church understood that those men who were “numbered among us” and “allotted a share” in the ministry (i.e., the apostleship) were essential to the foundation of that Church. The office had to be filled. And please note the requirements: He had to have been among the other eleven with Jesus from the baptism of John to the resurrection, that is, from the beginning of our Lord’s ministry to the end. And, most important, he had to be “a witness to the resurrection.” They cast lots and Matthias was taken.
I realize that someone will object, “What about Paul? Wasn’t he an apostle? Did he ever accompany Jesus? Was he at the tomb?” No, but God can suspend His rules when He sees fit; we can’t. But the apostles are now dead, and if anyone tells you that their “church” has apostles or that they are one, well, you know that they aren’t and their “church” hasn’t, which is a good way to nip some false teaching in the bud. But the apostles were a necessary foundation for the Church (Ephesians 2:20) and apostleship is listed first among the offices of the Church (4:11). Why? Because unto them was revealed that doctrine that was transcribed in the pages of Scripture upon which the Church is built, Christ Jesus being the cornerstone. (For examples of revelations these men received which were peculiar to them, see Acts 10:9ff or 2 Corinthians 12 or Galatians 1:12.) They were also gifted in such a way to confirm the word they preached (Mark 16:20). Of course they were sinners, but they were made holy men by God who used them for holy tasks in the foundation of His Church. And yes, God still speaks, but through the Holy Spirit breathing through the Scriptures. We need nothing more, only a deeper understanding of what is already revealed.