Friday, 7 December 2018

The first missionaries

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. - Acts 12:25 - 13:3

Barnabas and Saul had completed their mission and they returned to Damascus to the church there. They hadn’t quit, they did the job there were supposed to do and they came home. This ‘sticktoitiveness’ is an important part of serving God. They went out, they did the work, and they came home.

They weren’t done though. God had more for them to do. When Paul and Barnabas, along with John Mark, returned to Damascus the church which was prepared to send them out again. As they prayed and fasted the Holy Spirit separated Paul and Barnabas to go back out again. In essence these became the first missionaries. The church laid hands on them and prayed and sent them on their way.

Since that day the church has done the same. Local churches pray and fast and send out missionaries today. The Holy Spirit separates and we send them out. Though we have all kinds of modern advances and conveniences and technology God still needs ‘boots on the ground’ to love people and show Christ to the people and share the gospel and plant churches and train believers to do the work of the ministry.

God’s work of missions continues on today. Thank God for those who are willing to go out and cary on the work that the Holy Spirit started 2000 years ago. They need our prayers and support and encouragement today

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