Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
Get Moving or Get Out God’s Way Acts 13:1-3
On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard climbed inside a little capsule attached to a rocket. As he sat on the launching pad, the countdown began. The entire future of our space program rested upon that launch being successful and that day the US became the leading nation in the race for space.
In Acts 13, the church is on the launching pad, the gospel is on the move and the first foreign missionaries are sent out from the church. What started in the hearts of a few people is about to become a global event.
The church is doing what the Lord commanded in, Acts 1:8 “ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Here’s how the book of Acts breaks down.
Chapters 1-7…the gospel fills the city of Jerusalem
Chapters 8-12… gospel moves out to Judaea and Samaria
beginning in chapter 13…The whole earth becomes the focus of the church.
God has given a mandate to His church, to get the gospel out and there are three ways you can participate in missions. You can pray for missions. You can give to missions. And you can go into the mission field. But the truth is that you ought to be willing to do all 3!
Technology has helped mankind go farther and deeper into space, and today the church has a tremendous global impact because of technology.
I believe that we ought to use technology and if you pay attention, you’ll see that Paul used everything at his disposal.
When he spoke to a crowd, he may have had to cup his hands and shout, or seat the folks on a hillside so his voice would carry better. I can’t help but believe that if he had a sound system, he’d use it! If he had a bus, it would be filled. I don’t believe he would sit back and watch another group drive by his area to reach the people he was sent to reach. There would be no need for a church, across town to drive by and pick up people in his area to get them to church.
I am willing to say that if he had access to a world wide web, he would have used it to reach those he couldn’t get too!
It’s time for the church to be more than a building. We must affect, not only, those on our street, but also around the world. We must each, individually, take on some global responsibility. It’s time for EBC to be famous for the gospel, like she was in days past!
And Acts 13 lays before us the simple plan of how to get the job done.
Today I want to begin looking at how the church did it, God’s way.
There are 4 elements I want you to see in our text and I’m breaking the message into two parts and I’ll go ahead and tell this week may sting a bit.
This week I want to focus on the church, not the church universal but EBC.
1. The Church of God: Verse 1.
According to verse 1 EBC church is where missions is supposed to begin, not the UN, the Red Cross. Now don’t misunderstand, I am thankful for the work being done by these organizations BUT missions should begin in the local church.
It was the church that confirmed the calling of Saul and Barnabas, It was the church that commissioned them and sent them out!
We can see, within the first few words of chapter 13, that the spreading of the gospel [missions] is to begin “in the church”!
Look at verse 2. Whom did God tell to separate Saul and Barnabas to send out? The church!
Now notice verse 3. God made the church responsible for the calling and the sending of these two men! The church… not the community!
Which church is God using? It wasn’t the church at Jerusalem, where it all started!
This is why I titled the message “Get Moving or Get Out of God’s way.”
Notice the church with the worldwide mission project is in Antioch, not Jerusalem. Why?
In the early days of Christianity, Jerusalem was the center of operations.
But now Antioch has somehow become the launching pad for the church.
Why would God move the headquarters from Jerusalem to Antioch?
Many historians and Bible scholars say that the church at Jerusalem became limited in its focus. They lost their compassion for lost souls.
Hear me church!
God always moves on when a church loses its compassion for lost souls.
There are those sitting right here and in other churches, this very day, who are thinking only of themselves, and what’s wrong in their life. They are saying, “bless me Lord. Bless ME.” We need to understand that the very thing that could solve our problems begins with living for something/someone OTHER than ourselves!