Summary: Here are the three guys sent off to take the world for Christ. What a task! But how were they supposed to do such an awesome thing? We will find that God has already mapped our course, and all we have to do is follow.
Passage: Acts 13:4-12
Intro: There is something very pure about the first time God does something.
1. think of the days of Creation, when God was making the universe
PP Job 38:3-7
2. the sending of Jesus to the earth, and the joyous shouts of angels.
3. and here in this passage, this first God-initiated missionary outreach to a dark world.
4. there is a beautifully simple purity in these three guys sailing off to take the gospel to their world.
5. in their actions, we can find great principles that will keep us in step with God as His servants.
6. We know who our General is, what our task is, the tactics of the enemy, and Who it is that has the power.
7. in a day of confusion over what our task really is, this passage is very instructive.
I. God is the Supreme Strategist
1. last week we saw that the Holy Spirit told the church to set apart Saul and Barnabas for a task.
2. now in v4, that task becomes clear, as well as the Sender
3. “sent on their way”=passive voice, it happened to them.
4. they had been content in Antioch, but others needed to hear. So 3 guys were sent
5. sailed to the nearby island of Cyprus
6. Barnabas from there, and it was a very critical seaport for trade.
7. and when they arrived, v5 says “they preached the gospel.”
8. the strategy has two parts.
9. first part is the gospel itself; involving the person of Jesus Christ, what He did, His death and resurrection.
10. God did that, it is finished and now is to be announced.
11. 2nd part of strategy, that people transformed by the gospel will be responsible for spreading the gospel.
12. this requires an ongoing change taking place in our lives, to make us more effective.
13. the gospel is perfect, but the entrustment of it to human beings is a gutsy move.
14. it requires that God transform His sinful enemies into obedient and trustworthy servants.
15. the beauty of the strategy is that this transformation becomes the demonstration of the power of the gospel.
Il) if you want to buy anything on the Web these days, you will find a number of “reviews”, people whose lives have been impacted, positively or negatively, by the product.
16. we are “living reviews” of the grace of God
17. so let’s look at the specifics of our task
II. Our Task is to Preserve and Proclaim the Gospel.
1. in our day, we have redefined where the power comes from.
2. power resides in big churches, political action committees, people with $
3. but God has a different idea.
PP Romans 1:16
4. God has put all His eggs into this one basket; the person and work of Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, so that people might be reconciled to Him.
5. here is the bottom line, my friends.
6. if the gospel is distorted, perverted, or hidden, the power is gone.
7. the gospel is the power source, not the church! Not the preacher! Not the TV network!
Il) watched a TV interview with a popular preacher, 20,000 seat auditorium. Only reference to gospel is invitation at end. He said, “I avoid preaching about the gospel because I don’t want to drive people away.” So he preaches positive mental attitude.
8. looks like power, but not there!
9. gospel has been entrusted to us.
PP Jude 3
PP 1 Thess. 2:4
10. it has been given to us, not just to preserve, but to proclaim.
11. this is the call of each of us, because we were called to “be my witnesses.
PP Acts 1:8
Il) at EFCA conference, in a seminar where leader talked about his early ministry, someone told him, “preach it, and they will come.” He did, they didn’t, he quit.
12. someone told him wrong.
13. “Preach it, and God will use it to change them.”
PP Hebrews 4:12
14., the record of their journey across Cyprus is one of such effective proclamation that the proconsul wanted to “hear the word of God.” V7
15. the gospel won’t necessarily draw a crowd, but it will change lives.
16. anyone can draw a crowd. Only God can transform a life.
III. Satan’s Goal is to Destroy the Gospel
1. resistance should come as no surprise.
2. but the form it took is very instructive.
3. v6, Jewish sorcerer, amazing!
4. it was along way from Jerusalem, a long time from pure Jewish worship.
5. notice v8, “opposed them” …how?
6. “tried to turn …from the faith.”
7. Greek word interesting, means “turn away”, but also “to distort, pervert”
8. I choose to translate, “tried to turn him away from the truth by distorting the truth.”