CCF: Be the Church
What makes a church a church? Is it the building or the pews? Have you ever wondered whether the churches of the first century were significantly behind or better than the churches we have today? What can we possibly learn from the churches of the past?
We have learned in the past chapters of the books of Acts the following characteristics about the church of Antioch and the Middle East:
1. They have their own leadership
2. There is always more than one Pastor
3. Every member shares the Good News with others
4. The Church sends out missionaries
5. The missionaries come from among the church leadership
In Acts chapter 13, the Holy Spirit commissioned the disciples – Paul and Barnabas to set forth and spread the Word. In the same way, God also blessed the church of Antioch for sending them. While the blessing come to those who went, there is also blessing for the ones who sent them.
When you take away the church leadership to do something else that fulfills their calling by the Spirit of God, other people step up and this gives them the opportunity to minister that they might not have before.
In the fulfilment of great commission to the ends of the world, the Lord has given us only three options: Go, Send or Disobey. Go – share the gospel of God to others, Send – send out missionaries. If you are not involved in any of the first two options then you might be doing the last.
On Acts 13:13 onwards we will learn about the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas from Paphos to Pisidian Antioch.
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. – Acts 13:42-43
For the first time in the history of Acts, in these verses Paul exemplifies the importance of discipleship and having fellowship with other believers. Paul encouraged them in their faith and strengthen them in their resolve to be followers of Jesus.
Paul followed up the preaching with teaching. Preaching to those who have not heart the good news and after hearing and believing, Paul follow up with teaching. They got peoples started in the grace of God and then urged them to continue. Just like how Jesus to His disciples, they were walking, exploring, discovering together. Jesus was involved with His disciples’ life.
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”. – Acts 13:47
God has not chosen the best. God has invested in us and made us the best of the best for His glory. He has chosen you and me to represent Him by carrying His yoke for the rest of the world who have not heard of Him will have an opportunity to know Him.
You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. – John 15:17
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