Focal Passages: Acts 13:1-4; 14:21-28
Henry Blackaby reminded us several years ago, “Where God guides, God provides.” Consequently, we must make sure we are discerning God’s guidance and not personal hunches, emotional directives or pursuits of current trends. The opening verses of Acts 13 remind us that God’s guidance is best understood through worshipping Him. When real worship happens we shift our focus to God’s praiseworthiness and reap the fruits of a Christ-centered life. In this case, leaders in the early church set apart Paul and Barnabas as missionaries according to the Holy Spirit’s leadership. We will never play a significant role in God’s kingdom work without seeking His face and responding to His direction.
The growth of God’s kingdom won’t happen apart from teaching His kingdom principles. Sadly, many contemporary American Christians seem to prefer entertainment over instruction. Some people are entertained by laughter, some by tears, and others by fire and brimstone preaching. However, these things are of no value if people aren’t being taught the Word of God. Jesus’ Great Commission mandate calls us to make disciples through baptizing and teaching. We must not stop with teaching people enough to come to faith in Christ and then counting their baptisms. Public profession must be followed by further training in righteousness so that believers will be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:17). Only biblical instruction will prepare believers for the tribulations of discipleship.
One of the great fruits of missions comes through unity in diversity. As we take to the mission field we encounter an unbelievable variety of language, culture, geography, etc., but none of that diversity should impress us as much as the unnatural unity among believers.
People who once hated each other now love and encourage each other as fellow kingdom citizens because of the tie that binds them – the blood of Jesus. In the book of Acts this truth is clearly seen in the pronouncement of faith among the Gentiles. Even today God is calling people who (like the Gentiles in Acts) are known as heathens and turning them into fellow heirs of His grace.