Monday, May 5, 2008

Acts: The Commission (13:1-3)

Here begins the second half of Acts. The first half was largely devoted to Peter and the church in Jerusalem. Now the church in Antioch and its missionary expansion take center stage and Paul becomes the central character.
We introduced in Antioch to the leadership in this cosmopolitan church and the interesting thing here is that God tells the leaders to send out two of their number to spread the Gospel. The churches in Acts seem to have a bit more of a corporate-communal approach to faith than today’s churches. Today individuals alone usually decide they are called to a ministry. Here the impression is given that a group heard the call together. True, those called were a part of the group and had a part in hearing the call, but the body was involved.
Perhaps more churches should keep Acts 13 in mind for Wednesday night prayer meetings. On the prayer sheet next to the list of sick and suffering there could be a standing request for workers to be raised up from with-in the body. Of course, the ball is really dropped before Wednesday night in that many churches fail to spread the Gospel message in their own neighborhood let alone down the road or across the world.
How many churches multiply themselves today? How many churches support missions through prayer, giving and going? How many churches have relationships with specific individual missionaries? How many churches have people on the field who were raised through their ministry? How many churches have a leadership that works with members cultivating a call from God and encouraging people to consider doing missions personally?

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