The church in Antioch was planted by believers who fled the persecution of the Jews following the stoning of Stephen which we read about in chapter 7. A stoning that Paul (Saul) participated in. Now, the church that was formed by Paul’s persecution of Christians, that he tried to stop from coming into existence, is the church that commissioned him as a Christian, and sent him out unto the nations to build up and launch the same church he tried to destroy! God is so awesome!!! Satan is such a loser!!! What and who Satan tried to use for evil, God redeemed for good and used for good.
I thank God for all the ways God has redeemed things in my past and in me for his good. All the things the Satan has led me into, I allowed my self to participate in, and the stones I I have thrown at people; Jesus has covered under his blood. And he continues to do so today when I confess my sins. Just like Jesus changed Saul’s identity to Paul when he encountered him, Jesus changed my identity when I encountered him as well. So that now I can be a source from which his church will be birthed. God is so awesome!!! Satan is such a loser!!
What was the source of "Antioch Church" missionary outreach plan? Was it a study of Acts or one of the four Gospels? No, as they were not written yet. Was it a 12 step program on Evangelism, a sermon series, or a mission training? Nope. Its source was fasting, praying, and the laying of hands. (13:2-3) They were sent out as we are commissioned and sent out, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says The Lord of Hosts" (Zech. 4:6) They were sent out by the Holy Spirit. (13:4)
And what was Paul and Barnabas's missionary strategy? Preach Christ crucified, (13:28,29) Christ risen (13:33) and the forgiveness of sins (13:38). With all the books, trainings and conferences out there today on church planting, discipleship, and growing a church with all their strategies and complex methods they contain, Paul’s and Barnabas’s strategy sounds pretty basic and simple. Go out and preach Christ crucified, Christ risen, and the forgiveness of sins. Simply Jesus. I think we need to remember our first love (Rev 2:4, and get back to simply Jesus. That was all Paul and Barnabas had and relied on:
and the church multiplied so walls could not contain it,
and disciples made disciples who made disciples,
and the gates of hell could not prevail against them,
and the enemies stoning of Stephen only fanned the flames of the church and it spread.
Read Acts 13, then reflect on all the ways Satan deceived you and used you in the past and the way that Christ has redeemed you and is now using you for his good. Look at all the ways he has changed you identity, and is changing your identity once you encountered him. Take a minute to thank Him.
Pray that your ministry, pray for our church's ministries we serve in together, that what ever they are unto, will be founded in a sending by the Holy Spirit, founded in a return to our first love, founded in simply Jesus.
Claim Christ crucified, Christ risen, and the forgiveness of sins over your life. Then pray that the Holy Spirit will lead one person into your path today that you can share this simple message with.
Please share your thoughts, comments and verses that spoke to you in your time in chapter 13 in the comments box below.