Summary: 9th Sermon in the Action in Acts Series, this deals with making decisions in a way that thrusts us into the action of God, which is not only a bigger life, but also where we are called to be
Into Action in Acts: Attitude, Altitude and Acting on it
Do you ever feel that God is unreasonable in what he asks or decides or even a little crazy sometimes...
Or let me put it a different way
Good Decisions can be a bit of work, but they aren’t terribly hard. You look at the long term goals, and you pick the decisions that will best help you get on the right path for that result.
Making Decisions that are a part of the Action of the word of God, is the reverse, it is not a lot of “work” but it is incredibly hard.
God likes the underdog, and over and over again, he surprises with the most unlikely ways of doing things. He picks an old, childless couple to create a great nation, an escaped murderer hiding in the desert to liberate a people that would be God`s, a 40 year journey instead of a straight trip through a desert, an army of 300 to defeat thousands, the least impressive of 8 brothers to be king...over and over again, God does the counter-intuitive, least likely, thing...
And that is why it can be so hard to do what God wants at times.
For us as a church, who are looking and striving to be a people who are in the action of God, it is crucial that we learn how to go about being a church that makes decisions in a way that propels us into the Action of God instead of away from it.
Making the decision for the action of the word of God takes half as much work and is 5 times as hard.
The passage we are looking at today is in Acts 13, and it shows this issue in a different way.
13 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 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.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
We are going to break down this passage into three parts as we seek to find how this community, and to some degree, how we are to be a people that make our decisions that move us away from our own wisdom and into the action of God.
The first Part is about being the community that listens for God, this is the Attitude: This is a very important and is often the very emphasized part, to be a people that are yearning to hear from God; but it is also only a third of the puzzle:
This text, talking about the church in Antioch, gives us a glimpse of the leadership and action of the church. First of all, it was a people that were living within the spirit`s gifting and power...and it lists the people who were exercising certain types of gifts, those that were prophets and teachers...
Now, many can get thrown off by this term Prophets: we think of this as seeing or predicting the future, and although God does give indications sometimes of future events, the grand majority of the biblical understanding of the “prophet” is one that hears from God, speaking an inspired word from God for the edification and direction of the community.
The central idea behind both of these titles (Prophet and Teacher) is a heart`s desire to listen to God, and to be made more what God intended us to be. It is a heart for the presence of God, and one of the primary means a community learns and forms into a people that listen to God.
The list of 5 names is interesting, in that it has two very well known people (Paul and Barnabas) and three who we know nothing about. This is how it works within the work of the word of God, that different people will be used in different ways as God sees fit, which means not everyone gets the same roles, the same fame, and the same success. And truth be told, God isn’t concerned with making sure everyone gets the credit they deserve, nor is he worried about making everyone into the definition of “success” as the world sees it, but instead will seek to do what is best for the word of God to go forward. This is even with having a “superstar” in the group, with Manean being a childhood friend of Herod and obviously someone of high social standing and wealth, God uses all of them, but not all of them become the renowned movers and shakers in the rest of the book.