Friday, February 4, 2011
Go Thy Way!
Act 11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. 27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
The great church at Jerusalem had been scattered by tremendous persecution. Having grown to over 100,000 in membership, the government decided enough was enough and clamped down on the believers, forcing many of them to leave town.
Great things were going on at Antioch. The Apostolic band relocated in Antioch, and was eventually joined by the new convert Paul. Then, another great man of God came to the church, Barnabas.
This Antioch church enjoyed great teaching, fellowship, growth and revival for a whole year. Imagine the vast amount of spiritual gifts endowed to this single body of believers. Among them was a prophet named Agabus.
His prophecy forewarned of a global dearth and portended the initiation of missionary activity. It was because of the sufferings of believers elsewhere that the church commissioned Paul and Barnabas to bring relief to the elders from place to place. What began as a social relief program would become the spreading of the Gospel as God predicted in Acts 9:15, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Whatever the circumstances, whether it be persecution in Jerusalem which brought about a dispersion of believers, or a famine which would send relief efforts throughout the region, or God leading you to go downtown for lunch or to the other side of the globe for a missions trip, God has one thing in mind, preach the gospel to every creature.