“For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” (
Christ has commissioned His church to take the Gospel to the whole world. Our task is not complete until all have heard this good news. The church at
in the first century took the command
seriously. They became the launching pad
for what we call, “International Missions,” today. They started the job, but now it is up to us
to finish it! Antioch
There was THE CALL THAT WAS EXTENDED. “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.’ ” (
Acts 13:2) The Spirit of God is still calling men and
women into His work. Yesterday, I had
the joyful occasion to fill out a missions organization recommendation form for
one of our church’s members who believes God has called her to go to the ends
of the earth. Is He speaking to you?
There was THE COMMISSION THAT WAS EMBRACED. “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to
Seleucia, and from there they sailed to .” (13:4)
The church confirmed those who were called. The Holy Spirit directed the missionary
movement each step of the way. A church
that fails to embrace God’s heart for the world is in rebellion toward God, no
matter what else they may be doing. Cyprus
There was THE COMMUNICATION THAT WAS EXCLAIMED. “And when they arrived in
they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.” (v.5a)
Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the Gospel.
The Word of God is the seed of eternal life—and none are saved apart
from its regenerating power. There are
many needs in our world—inadequate housing, hunger, poverty, illiteracy,
disease—and we should address these. Our
primary call, however, is to preach the Gospel, for that is the greatest need! Salamis
There was THE CONFRONTATION THAT WAS EVIDENT. “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.” (v.45) A missionary movement is in its very nature an invasion of enemy territory. Satan will always fight the truth with both heresy (see v.6-11) and hostility (v.44-52), but, the Gospel is invincible—and we see that in Acts.
There were THE CONVERSIONS THAT WERE EXPERIENCED. “Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (v.48) We sow the seed. God is responsible for the harvest. He calls out His elect through His missionaries.
There was THE CELEBRATION THAT WAS ENJOYED. “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (v.52) The birth of a baby brings great joy to a family. How true that is when the church sees new sons and daughters of God birthed by Gospel witness! Let us enthusiastically take the Gospel to the ends of the earth!