Summary: With man it may seem impossible but God! can do all things.
December 3, 2006
Text: Acts 13:1-3; 16:6-15
Subject: God’s Direction
Title: But God…
Do you know where you are going in life? Do you have a plan? Are you at the end of your road and think that you have arrived, so now it’s time to put life on cruise control and coast the rest of the way? I’ve got news for you. As long as you have breath in you, but God’s not finished with you yet. There is a work for you to do.
For young people, and for those who can remember back when you were young, there were plans. There were goals that were set, a mark to be made in life. To see those goals reached there had to be some direction or vision that you had in order to get there. That’s the way I like to go when I’m on vacation. I like to know all the towns along the highway with my focus on the final destination but knowing all along the way that I am headed in the right direction. A man on a flight across America in 1976 rose from his seat, drew a gun and took the stewardess hostage. "Take me to Detroit," he said. "We’re already going to Detroit," she replied. "Oh...good," he said and sat down again. He didn’t have a plan.
Too often churches go through life with that final destination in sight but don’t stop to check along the way if they are going by the road laid out for them by God. I think that’s normal – but it’s not right. But God has a wonderful plan for the church along the way. One of those plans is for this church to be a source of provision for those whom God has set aside to go and share the gospel around the world. We look at how much we send to each missionary and maybe we wonder how much difference can twenty-five dollars a month make? But God is able to take that and multiply it.
Now I want you to know that I have a vision for the church and I have a plan to take us there. My plan is to listen closely to the Holy Spirit and follow His lead wherever He takes us. We’ll stop along the way and notice familiar places and landmarks and we will go to places we have never been before. I don’t have all the answers, But God!!!!!!!
I. MEN SENT BY THE SPIRIT. (Acts 13:1-3) Do you know that our missionaries don’t just wake up some morning and say, “I think I’ll go be a missionary to Afghanistan!” Look at 13:1, “1In 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.” We see here men of God who were prophets and teachers called together. What were they doing? “2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting…” They came together to worship and fast. We know that fasting is connected to prayer. They were seeking God! “The Holy Spirit said…” You know there’s something funny about most men, and I’ve learned this from experience, but if you give a man something to put together – give him a hammer and a screwdriver – he’ll open the box, set all the pieces aside and look at them, find the instruction sheet- and throw it away – and start without any direction whatsoever. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. You have a picture in your mind how the finished product is supposed to look and maybe a general idea of how to get there, but without some of the detail given in the instruction sheet you end up taking it apart and starting all over. Now look at the group assembled in Antioch. Barnabas – a wealthy man; Simeon called Niger, probably a black man; Lucius of Cyrene – a foreigner from the north of Africa; Manaen who had been brought up with Herod, probably a political man; and Saul-the former persecutor of the church. Here’s a group that is so different that we wonder how they could come to agreement on anything. But God had something else in mind. He spoke to them by the Holy Spirit. We don’t know how it happened – probably a word of prophecy or a word of knowledge spoken by one and confirmed by another, but the fact is that the Holy Spirit said… “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” I’m sure that you all have heard the stories from our missionaries of the call to the mission field and how they responded to it. Most of the time it is in disbelief. “God was that you? I don’t think I heard that right. You want me to go where?” Most of the time the call is answered in tears. Fear of the unknown, leaving family behind, getting out of the comfort zone. In this case the call on Saul and Barnabas was made known to others. 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Step one on the instruction sheet. Sometimes the call doesn’t make much sense – But God…! Sees the end along with the short term.