We have often referred to the divine process of selecting and sending in Acts 13:1-4. God had put together the right persons at the church in Antioch, even though they came from different backgrounds. In this diverse church, there was one common feature that united this group; “they were worshipping the Lord and fasting” (13:2). Because Christ was the true center of this fellowship, it was natural for them to listen for the voice and instructions of the Holy Spirit. They knew that without His leading and the Headship of Jesus Christ, nothing of any value would be accomplished. Everything had to be set aside as unimportant except worship and seeking the Lord through an act of prayerful devotion to Him.
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them”” (13:2). They were not expecting the Holy Spirit to give this command. They were focused on worship and making sure Christ their Head was directing the church, not some committee. Though they were not expecting such a quick and clear answer, it came with clarity and specific instructions. No one had any claim on these two men except the Holy Spirit, because He had a work for them to do that was far beyond what this church could imagine. As we will see tomorrow in more detail, Antioch had no hesitation in what the Spirit asked for. They were in full agreement and ready to obey.
Was the state of the church at Antioch the only requirement for sending out missionaries? NO! Should this condition be present in every church on a continual basis? Yes! It really does not matter what any church may be wanting to do, there must be a pervasive attitude of dependence on the Lord Jesus as our living Head, so that He can freely communicate His will to us through the Holy Spirit. We also must be fully convinced that what the Holy Spirit says to the churches is always in full agreement with the Word of God which He has communicated to us, otherwise something of man is at the source. The question then that we must answer is: how much do we want to provide the spiritual conditions through dependent worship, prayer and fasting that will make way for such clear communications?
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