Summary: God wants to fill us with His Spirit so we can reach lost people and win spiritual battles.
Power to Work and to Win
Intro: Someone shared a fictional story about the day that Jesus returned to Heaven. The Angel Gabriel asked Jesus to explain what had happened down there on earth.
He asked, “Did they make you King?” Jesus answered, “No.”
“Did they make you prince?” “No.”
“Did they worship you?” “Most of them didn’t.”
“Well then, what happened?” “They crucified me.”
“But after you rose from the Dead, everyone worshipped you, right?” “No.”
“So, what is your plan?” “I left my people down there.”
Gabriel looked skeptical.
“But if they fail ---- What is your other plan?”
Jesus replied, “I have no other plan.”
-We are God’s Plan A. There is no Plan B.
-In light of that, let me propose a truth that will help us cooperate with God and His plan for us.
Prop: God wants to fill us with His Spirit so we can reach lost people and win spiritual battles.
TS: Let’s take a closer look at God’s plan as we discuss 3 observations from our text.
I. God Has an Intentional Plan to Reach Unreached People (Acts 13:1-6a)
-We are God’s Plan A. There is no Plan B. God’s Plan A is found clearly in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
-Let’s look at our text to learn more about God’s plan to reach unreached people.
A. God Gives Gifts to His Church (13:1)
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.
-Eph. 4 also adds apostles, evangelists, and pastors to a list of gifts God has given to His church. Ephesians 4:11 “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” God puts people in place so that believers can grow spiritually and be equipped to do ministry.
-It should be understood that the men in v.1 had been filled with the Holy Spirit. So, they themselves were gifts for the church, being prophets and teachers; but beyond that, they had received the gift of the HS so they could provide powerful ministry to those in the body of Christ.
-God is a giving God! He gave us Jesus, His only Son (John 3:16). In Luke 11:13, Jesus told His disciples, “Your Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" He gives the HS, and the gifts of the Spirit, which you can read about in 1 Cor. 12. Along with the HS comes the boldness to tell people the good news about Jesus – even in the face of danger and opposition. God is a giver! James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
-TS: So, part of God’s plan to reach unreached people is to give gifts to His church. Let’s not neglect those gifts, but stir them up and welcome them. One way we do that is to be in the habit of connecting with God.
B. God Speaks to Us When We Seek Him Diligently (13:2a)
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…
-Part of God’s intentional plan to reach unreached people is to communicate His intentions to us. I have to wonder what would have happened here if these believers had not been worshiping the Lord and fasting. I don’t really know, but I’m guessing they may not have heard from God – or at least not so clearly.
-If we want to be effective in cooperating with God’s plan, then we need to put ourselves in a position to hear from Him on a regular basis. What does it take to hear from God? James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
-God wants to communicate with us, but we will need to get close to Him, and call on Him if we really want in on what He is doing.
C. God Calls Each of Us to a Specific Work (13:2b)
"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
-God had a special task for Barnabas and Saul, which we read about in the next several chapters of Acts. However, don’t think that their calling was any greater than that of Simeon or Lucius or any of the other believers in Antioch.