They Sent Them Away
Acts 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Intro: Tonight, we will be doing exactly what the church at Antioch did in Acts 13 when the very first missionary team was sent out of the local church.
After a year and a half of deputation, Nathan and Marissa and baby Landon will be going to the mission field.
What we are doing tonight is one of the highlights of any local church’s existence – sending missionaries out of the church to serve in another place.
One great missionary quote is “A church should not be concerned so much with their seating capacity as their sending capacity.”
I. The Experience in the Church that Stirred Them – vs. 1, 2
I love how this verse starts out. “As they ministered to the Lord…”
God calls people to work that are already working.
God opens doors for workers.
God opens doors of ministry for people that have a heart for ministry.
They were already serving God in the ministry.
BY THE WAY – I like it that the churches in the book of Acts looked like Heaven! (vs. 1)
We get a great glimpse of what they were doing “as they ministered” to the Lord when we look at
- 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
- 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
- 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
- 25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
- 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
NOTE: vs. 2 …and fasted…
This kind of power cometh only by prayer and fasting.
Spiritual warfare calls for drastic measures and devotion.
II. The Expectation of the Church that Separated Them – vs. 2
The expectation is summarized in one word found in verse 2.
Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the WORK whereunto I have called them.
Missions is hard work!
The deputation trail has ended.
The traveling from church to church is over.
The endless nights in the hotels and missions apartments and prophets chambers is finally over.
The work begins the minute you get to the field.
It’s called a MISSION FIELD because there is WORK TO BE DONE IN THE FIELD!
- John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
- Matthew 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
III. The Endorsement of the Church that Sent Them
They had a two-fold power behind them.
A. The Commendation of the Church – vs. 3
We cannot underestimate the importance of the local church’s sanction and commissioning of these missionaries.
So many missionaries today fail to understand the biblical relationship with their sending church.
NOTE ACTS 14:26-28
- There was a Recommendation of their Local Church
- There was a Return to their Local Church
- There was a Rehearsing to their Local Church
- There was a Rejoicing with their Local Church
- There was a Relationship with their Local Church
B. The Confirmation of the Holy Ghost – vs. 4
SEE vs. 9 – The ministry of the Holy Spirit is essential.
One great demonstration of this is found Acts 13:6, 7.
God had gone before them and prepared the hearts of the people to receive the Word.
In spite of spiritual adversity, and demonic opposition, God did a great work!
SEE vs. 8-12
There is no substitute for the anointing and filling of the Holy Spirit.