Body: Read Acts 13:1-3 III. Christianity to the Uttermost Part of the World. A. The First Missionary Journey. 1. Events in Antioch. In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers.
Notice in this section of the Book of Acts as they worshiped and fasted, the Holy Spirit called for Barnabas and Saul. After they finished praying and fasting, they laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them on their divine assignment.
Applications – - God’s local churches. Notice in vs. 1 of this section of the book of Acts that there was a church at Antioch, which was different than the church at Jerusalem.
In other words, there were local churches. The church at Antioch had prophets, teachers, and believers to be sent out to do ministry.
First, no matter how much we appreciate what God is doing in our local church, we should be mindful that God is bigger than our local church and is doing great things in other churches as well.
Second, God sends gifted people to the church as gifts to the church. We should make sure we help people discern and develop their gifts. And we should work to coordinate the exercising of gifts in a way that benefits the body, instead of harm it.
Some of the gifts are to be developed for deployment into the world, as was the case with Barnabas and Saul. Let’s work on appreciating what God is doing in and through His local churches.
- Worshipping and fasting. Notice in vs. 2 of this section of the book of Acts that the believers were worshipping and fasting. Obviously, every believer should worship or express their understanding God’s being worthy of praise and obedience.
The matter of fasting can be an expression of how sincere we are about obeying God’s will or discerning God’s will. There are other occasions, where fasting is an expression of godly sorrow and repentance. Fasting is good, when it leads to obedience.
Fasting is vain, when it doesn’t lead to obedience. A person can obey without fasting. Let’s work on worshipping and obeying God with or without fasting.
Diabetics should be careful with fasting. A modern idea includes abstaining from television, fast foods, etc., instead of food.
- Respond to the Holy Spirit’s call. Notice in vs. 2 that the Holy Spirit was calling Barnabas and Saul to do some service. There was a response of obedience.
The Holy Spirit is still calling every believer into a ministry or Christian service that responds to a need. We like those in the text should respond with obedience.
Where our ability to meet a need, opportunity to meet a need, and desire or willingness to meet a need all meet up is the likely place that God is calling us to serve.
Let’s work on hearing and obeying God’s call to ministry in our lives. You may be called to the ministry of working with young people, seniors, married couples, people in need of job coaching, driving the church van, or any number of other areas of service.
- Decency and order. Notice in vs. 3 of this section of the book of Acts that there is a certain amount of order in the Holy Spirit’s work.
Barnabas and Saul did not simply discern that they were called by the Spirit to serve and then left. The church was involved in the discernment and sending. The church is like one body with many parts.
It is important for us to fight the temptation of exercising an ungodly amount of independence or autonomy. On the contrary, we should seek God’s will and obey it. God often speaks through the church, especially about church ministries.
Let’s work on appreciating God’s concern with all things being done with decency and order.
Reads Acts 13:4-12 2. Events in Cyprus. Barnabas and Saul ended up at Paphos in this section of the book of Acts. There was a sorcerer there trying to stop the ministry. Saul/Paul is going to used by God to punish the disruptive sorcerer with blindness.
Applications – - Taking God’s word everywhere we go. Notice in vs. 5 of the book of Acts that Barnabas and Saul took the word of God with them, when they left the church at Antioch. Too many people have a religion that is only visible in their church.
But God is calling us to be the light of the dark world and salt of the decaying Earth. We are to take the word of God, which is concerned with helping people get saved and growing to obey God’s commandments about love, everywhere we go.
Let’s work on taking God’s word everywhere we go. The reason we review the membership orientation material so often is so we can have a ready word for some of the basic issues of our walk with God.
- Help wanted. Notice in vs. 5 of the book of Acts that John was a helper. It takes a certain amount of humility to be a helper. Helpers do not get much praise. Helpers are to help by following instructions.
And yet without helpers, many leaders would be severely limited. Furthermore, many of the best leaders started off as helpers.
Let’s humble ourselves to be helpers, leaders, or whatever else God is calling us to be. It is a marvelous privilege to serve the Lord in any capacity.
- Demonic opposition. Notice in vss. 6-8 of the book of Acts that there was demonic opposition to what God was doing through Barnabas and Saul. The devil used a person who had a form of religion to oppose the work of God.
First, we should brace ourselves for demonic opposition, as we strive to obey God’s will. The more you focus on obeying God, the more the devil focuses on stopping you.
Second, don’t let the devil use you. He likes to use those who have zeal with no knowledge of God’s will (see Rom. 10:2). Let’s be prepared for the devil’s opposition, as we strive to obey God’s will.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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