KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 14:26 ” And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.”
Shall we consider a phrase in our key scripture, Acts 14:26 “……for the work which they fulfilled”. In Acts 13, after the brethren had ministered unto the Lord with fasting, the Holy Spirit said “separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereto I have called them”.
Apostle Paul and Barnabas did not delay in any way. They quickly set off to do the work. They went on a missionary journey combing through most of the cities of the gentile world.
We learn the following from the experience of Paul and Barnabas.
1. That the work of missions is one which early engaged the attention of the Christians. Make up your mind to leave your comfort zone to step out into the missionary field.
2. It entered into their plans and the church was deeply interested. This call for missions should become the interest of every Christian organization.
3. The work of missions is attended with danger. People are now no less hostile to the gospel than they were in Lystra and Iconium. You should not be scared about it, for it pleases the father to stand for Him.
4. Missionaries should be sustained by the prayers of the church. Make it your duty to daily pray for all missionaries on the mission field.
5. The experience of Paul and Barnabas gives us an example for missionaries in founding churches.
(Some of these thoughts are from the Barnes commentary).
One other important thing we learn from apostle Paul and Barnabas is that they fulfilled their mission. The discomfort of the voyages, the hostilities of the Jews and Gentiles and even stoning did not stop them. They went through every city raised churches and established elders to oversee the affairs of the churches. What made them so successful? They denied themselves and took up their cross. Matthew 16:24 “……if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me”. THE THREAT OF PERSECUTIONS IN HOSTILE NATIONS IS NOT THE REAL HINDRANCE TO THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL IN SUCH PLACES, BUT UNWILLINGNESS OF CHRISTIANS TO DENY THEMSELVES AND TAKE UP THEIR CROSS”. Paul and Barnabas conquered in their time, we can also conquer no matter the challenge or opposition for the grace of God that saw them through is also available to see us through.
Father, may the experiences of Paul inspire this modern church to take the challenge of missions aggressively to fulfill our Lord’s commission.
Matthew 16:24-27 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”