I hope you're all feeling the warmth of God's presence in your lives. Today I preached from Acts 13:1-3 and 14:8-18 (NIV), which is all about Paul's mission and how he stepped out in faith to share the Good News. Let's dive into the passage:
"Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers...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.' So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off...
In Lystra, there sat a man who was lame...Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, 'Stand up on your feet!' At that, the man jumped up and began to walk...When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted...'The gods have come down to us in human form!'...
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 'Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you... We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God.'"
This exciting story about Paul's mission has some important lessons for us today. Let's explore what we can learn from his journey and how it can inspire us in our walk with Jesus.
Before Paul and Barnabas embarked on their mission, they prayed and fasted. During this time of spiritual preparation, the Holy Spirit spoke to them, guiding them on their journey. In our own lives, we can also learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, seeking His guidance and direction as we step out in faith to share the Good News.
The people of Lystra mistakenly believed that Paul and Barnabas were gods and began to worship them. However, Paul and Barnabas quickly corrected this misunderstanding, redirecting the praise and worship to the one true God. In our lives, we should be careful to give glory to God for the work He does through us, recognizing that His power and love enable us to make a difference in the world.
Paul and Barnabas used their miraculous encounter in Lystra as an opportunity to share the Good News with the people there. They called on the people to turn from their false beliefs and to embrace the living God. We can similarly look for opportunities to share the Good News, inviting others to experience the life-changing love of Jesus.
Paul and Barnabas faced numerous challenges during their mission, including misunderstandings and resistance from the people they encountered. Despite these obstacles, they persevered in their calling, trusting God to guide and sustain them. We can learn to rely on God's strength and wisdom as we navigate the challenges we face in our lives and ministries.
Paul and Barnabas didn't embark on their mission alone. They had each other for support, encouragement, and companionship. As we step out in faith to share the Good News, we can also lean on our fellow believers for support and encouragement, strengthening our community and empowering one another in our mission.
So, friends, let's be inspired by Paul's mission and the lessons it offers us as we seek to share the Good News and make a difference in the world. By trusting in God's guidance, embracing the unexpected, and leaning on our fellow believers for support, we can embark on our own faith journey, full of adventure and joy. As we do so, we'll grow closer to God and one another, creating a vibrant and thriving community united in our love for Jesus and our desire to share His love with the world.