“And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach.”
The order of these statements is important, but we must also see them as working in tandem with each other. The first connection between these two statements is that God’s purpose in choosing you and me through salvation by grace, is that we “might be with Him”! Without understanding the critical importance of intimacy with the Lord, we will never fully understand our mission here on earth. In communion with the Lord Jesus, we grasp that our ‘sending out’ accomplishes our mission with the same importance as God the Father, who sent Jesus on His mission. “As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). How close was the intimacy between Jesus and the Father? “I and the Father are one” (10:30). This is what must motivate our intimacy with the Lord so that His sending us out by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4) will be as effective!
Before we compare the effectiveness of our mission work, we must first understand the importance of what makes us effective. We must not equate effectiveness with intellectual knowledge or formal education, social status or riches, ethnic or national heritage. Effectiveness can only be achieved through an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The sending out will reflect that intimacy! The church as a whole in Antioch was united in worship, prayer and fasting. This kind of intimacy was part of the Spirit’s work in this church. Because of this, their sending out by divine power proved extremely effective in all of Asia Minor!
Stop and honestly look at the effectiveness of your ministry or church. How does it compare to what happened in the Book of Acts when the gospel went from Jerusalem to Rome in 25 years? Thousands came to Jesus as Savior and countless churches were planted and established. If you and your church measure up to that standard, you are very rare. If not, where is your intimacy?