Summary: This sermon focuses on whether believers will simply watch others accomplish God's mission or if they will actually take part in accomplishing the mission of God
* Difference between a spectator and a participant:
- Spectator doesn’t understand all that’s involved in the game = participant does
- Spectator doesn’t understand the true goal = participant does
- Spectator falsely believes that he can make a different in the game while staying in the seats
* Spectators and participants in the mission of God...
- It’s possible to participate in various “churchy” things while remaining a spectator in God’s mission
- Spectators tend to criticize/critique the efforts of participants in God’s mission
- Spectators in the mission of God don’t understand what the true mission of God is all about or the true goal of the church in the world
* Every believer is either a spectator or a participant
* Text: Paul/Barnabas were participants; the group of Jews were just spectators
* The fundamental differences between a spectator and a participant...
1. A participant boldly declares the Word of God (v. 46a)
* A participant in God’s mission must (of necessity) share the Gospel (“We had to”)
* The message a participant shares is God’s message, not his own (“the word of God”)
* A participant shares the Gospel with confidence that it is powerful (“boldly” and “with confidence”)
2. A participant is persistent in fulfilling his task for God (v. 45, 46, 51)
- Not everyone will be excited about helping God fulfill his mission (v. 45)
- Paul and Barnabas face two options: (1) Give up on their participation, thus becoming spectators themselves; (2) Persist in their role as a participant in the mission of God
- The choice they made...
> verse 46b = “we now turn to the Gentiles” = Persistence!
> verse 51 = “they shook the dust from their feet” = Persistence!
3. A participant understand the role he has in the mission of God (v. 47)
- A quote of Isaiah 49:6
- God has called each believer to be a light in a dark world (John 8:12)
- Matt. 5:16
- The light must shine “to the ends of the earth” = not just in a church building or in a group full of believers
Being a participant is not just for our benefit! Something great happens when we become participants instead of spectators (v. 48)
When we become participants...
1. God is honored because people will place their faith in him (v. 48)
2. God’s message (the Gospel) spread beyond our physical reach (v. 49)
3. Our lives become filled with joy and the presence of God (v. 51)