Saturday, November 11, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Acts 13-14
My apologies to those following our “Read-Thru the Bible” in a year schedule. In my diligence to prepare for Hillsdale’s Sunday worship services, I overlooked the need to post today’s scripture reading.
Today’s passage from the Book of Acts, particularly Acts 13:1-3, has been a joy and challenge to this pastor’s heart over the years. I am blessed to pastor a church with a legacy of supporting and sending missionaries. I draw your attention to four simple, central principles of ministry and missions found in Acts 13:1-3.
The first, God calls to ministry those who are already serving Him (Acts 13:1). The men and women God calls to ministry are not idle spectators or pew warmers. When God called Barnabas and Saul (i.e. Paul), we find them numbered among “certain prophets and teachers” serving “in the church that was at Antioch” (13:1).
The second principle of ministry is, God’s call is specific. We read, “the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (13:2).
Many were serving in the church at Antioch (3:1); however, the Holy Spirit explicitly called Barnabas and Saul to a specific work: “for the work whereunto I have called them” (3:2b).
The third principle of ministry and missions is separation (13:2-3). The call to ministry and missions separates a man from home, friends and aspirations of wealth. Oceans, faraway lands, hardships and adversaries would separate Barnabas and Saul from their families, friends and earthly comforts.
The fourth principle of ministry and missions is the church and its leaders sanctioned and confirmed God’s call on Barnabas and Saul.
We read, “when they [the church and its leaders] had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:3).
I sorrow so few are answering God’s call to ministry and missions in our day.
Looking back on the four principles I noted, it seems the failure rests upon us all. There are too many spectators and not enough servants in the 21st century church. Some resist God’s call and others refuse to separate from family, friends and comforts to serve where God has called. Finally, I believe there are churches that resist ordaining their best and finest for the work of ministry and missions.
Romans 10:14-15 – “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith