13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshipping 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 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- v1-3. Mentioned here and numerous other times in the earlier 12 chapters, was the early church’s priority in ministry to the Lord (through worship, prayer and fasting). We are saved to a restored relationship with God. Out of the devotion to the Lord came the call to service. The important principle for us is this: the ministry for the Lord overflows out of having devotion to the Lord.
- v2. God’s work, when initiated by the Spirit of God, will receive direction through the Spirit of God (v4) and empowerment by the Spirit of God (v9), resulting in glory to the Lord (v12). Likewise, we must never be presumptuous in our decision making. Decisions must be prompted of the Spirit through prayer.
- v6 – 12. There will be opposition to the work of God but the nature of the opposition is spiritual, not physical. Those with a desire to grow closer to God or labouring for God will face resistance. In the face of opposition, trust in the promises of God (nothing can separate us from the love of God, God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, etc..)
submitted by William How
PRAYING IN FAITH
That we return to the basics of worship, prayer and fasting as we embrace the disciplines that will help us grow close to God.
For your five
Pray that your five will have a spiritual hunger for God that only the Spirit of God can give.
For our church
Pray for a church devoted to Jesus and that our members grow in their knowledge and understanding of the love of Jesus and what it means to live life in the Spirit.