Summary: God has a specific direction for each one of us. He desires that you be set apart for the work that He has prepared for you. His directions are clear, concise and timely. They won’t lead you astray.
Life, Everlasting, Part IV – The Work of the Holy Spirit, Part C.
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. 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.
In our last message we talked about:
God Works His Own Plan
God Reveals His Own Plan
Yet that doesn’t release us from certain responsibilities that we as disciples of the Lord have.
We must ALWAYS be PREPARING
We must ALWAYS be LISTENING
We must ALWAYS be WILLING
We must ALWAYS be PREPARING
“While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting.”
Do you see the attitude that they have here? By attitude I mean their susceptibility, attentiveness, and sensitivity to the Spirit. Now before we go any further, I’d just like to say that for various reasons, God has not provided a particular formula with which to obtain answers, miracles and guidance. Other than the outline for prayer that Jesus gives in the Lord ’s Prayer, there really isn’t a prescription or a cosmic set of blueprints that we can use. Why is that? Because (1), people would give up seeking the Lord in intense prayer and opt out for the simple method. And (2), because people would focus on just that method and traditionalize it and make some kind of religion out of ‘the way to talk to God and get answers quickly’ and the Bible would become a thing of the past.
Everyone is different and God comes to them through various means, methods, and sources in order to explain, lead, answer, or heal. But, there are some things that we can do, specifically, to prepare ourselves, not only to receive an answer or a direction from God, but to prepare ourselves for the answer. Meaning, to get right to work on what it is He would have us to do or to have our hearts always inclined to serve Him no matter the communication that we receive.
God is wants to extend your boundaries, to extend His love and influence through you.
"Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your pegs.”
The disciples of Jesus, through the Spirit, had enlarged the place of their tent and stretched out the curtains of their dwellings. They were not limiting themselves to just their workplace. If they had, the only Christians would be fishermen.
The disciples of Jesus, through the Spirit, were not limiting themselves to just their relatives, or their close friends, or even their age group. They were reaching out beyond the borders and boundaries of their own Christian groups and cliques to anyone that would listen and put their faith in Jesus Christ. And, because of that God was using them. Let me say that again…BECAUSE of that, their willingness to follow Him wherever He led them, God was using them. And, God had extended the church to Antioch, and He had tremendously and richly blessed the church. These men were part of that church, part of the body of Christ ministering in Antioch. What were they doing when they received the word from the Lord? They were worshipping the Lord.
They were preparing.
One thought that is always prevalent in any book on prayer is the proper attitude or proper heart condition of the one that is seeking the Lord. These men made it a practice to worship the Lord everywhere they went. In their hearts they had set apart Christ as Lord, and they were ready to give an answer to everyone who asked them the reason for the hope that they had. They prepared their hearts.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
In their hearts they had set apart Christ as Lord, and they were prepared to give an answer to anyone.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.
Not only were these men prepared to give their all on behalf of Jesus, but they were prepared to receive as well. Their hearts’ inclination was to the Lord and what He had for them. They knew that only the Spirit of God could lead them, and that is the inclination that burned in their hearts.