Dr. Danny Campbell
This young convert was deeply impressed and determined to make these the rules of his life. From that day onward throughout his life he made it a rule to spend the first moments of his day alone with God and God's Word. Before he read a letter, looked at a paper or even read a telegram, he went first to the Bible, that the first impression of the day might be what he got directly from God.
- Series: Facing Life's Challenges with the Apostle Paul
- Scripture: Acts 13:1-3
Part 6 of Dr. Danny Campbell's "Facing Life's Challenges with the Apostle Paul" series. This is Dr. Danny Campbell's sermon from the 10:15 a.m. service.
Saul Becomes A Missionary
Hold up a bag of m & m’s.
Like a lot of you, I love m & m’s!
They are so good, I could never eat just one.
Golly, I can never eat just one handful – if enough were available and no one stopped me, I could probably eat my own weight in m and m’s!
But as often as I have enjoyed them, I have never stopped to ask what the m & m stands for! Do you know?
The first M is for Mars, as is in the Mars Candy company. The second M is for Murrie, the guy who helped Mars develop the now iconic m & m’s.
The Mars company had fallen on hard times, and Forrest Mars, son of Founder Frank Mars, went to William Murrie, who was running the Hershey’s company, to back the candy that would “melt in your mouth but not in your hands!”
M and M came together, and the rest is history!
Today I want to talk to you about m & m’s that are infinitely more important to Christians than the candy. I want to talk to you about the call on each of our lives to be involved in Ministry and Missions!
Here’s two questions for you –
First, what would you say are your ministries in the church?
Second, what is your strategy to be involved in missions locally and globally?
Let’s think through those questions today as we Saul become a missionary
Read Acts 13:1-3 Saul becomes a missionary Let’s Pray!
Saul becomes a believer and is baptized; Saul grows in Christ; Saul does not get healed but does get a promise; Saul gets recruited; Saul fights for integration
Introducing the team of leaders in the Antioch church V. 1
Verse one tells us that among the preachers (prophets) and teachers in Antioch there were certain men, and then names them.
There was Barnabas, originally from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Saul of Tarsus in Cilicia, Simeon from Niger in Africa, Lucius of Cyrene in North Africa, and I love this one - Manaen who had been brought up with Herod.
Remember that Herod was an enemy of Christ – his buddy Manaen had gotten saved!
One friend grew up to work against the faith, and one for. That is true for some of you and your friends and family members.
All people are divided by what side of the cross they are on – but every sinner is just a sinner’s prayer away from coming to the Heaven-bound side of the cross!
Isn’t it interesting that these leaders were all from somewhere other than Antioch!
Life is a series of temporary assignments – the Lord had brought them together for a time and purpose, but He would move them on according to His plans!
Danville may not have been in YOUR plans for you and your family, but it was in God’s plan for you and your family – and for me and Elizabeth!
Praise and Prayer are ministry to the Lord! V. 2
Don’t miss what verse two states – Corporate prayer and praise are called ministry to the Lord!
When I asked what your ministries are in the church, did any of you immediately think, “Praise and Prayer to God?”
Well, according to these verses, you should think that way.
Whatever else you do to minister FOR the Lord, you should not neglect the ministry of praise and prayer TO the Lord.
Have you ministered to the Lord lately?
They were praising and praying together, and they heard from God the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
This brings up the questions, “Was this an audible voice?”
We are not told. Perhaps it was!
You say, “Danny, has the Holy Spirit spoken to you in an audible voice?”
No, it’s louder than that! Here’s one example.
When a fellow pastor asked for my resume in Waynesboro, about 7 years into my time there, I prayed about it. I asked, “Heavenly Father, do I have the freedom to pursue that?”
And God clearly impressed upon me, “No, Danny, you are right where I want you!”
After about 17 years, I prayed again, and this time the freedom from the Lord came, along with the sense that God had done everything through me in Waynesboro that He had intended for my ministry there.
Let me encourage you to up your time in prayer as individuals & with others, not just praying for what you think should happen, but looking for him to lead you.
Now why did God pick Saul and Barnabas from among them to be missionaries?
We aren’t told! But we do know they had the commitment to sharing the gospel with all peoples; They had the gifting.
They also had less ties than many of the others - Both were single men.
In this series we are facing life with the apostle Paul. We don’t read if Paul had ever wanted to be married or not.
We do know that in Philippians 4 that Paul said he had learned the secret of being content in whatever circumstance that he was in – that he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him.
Whether or not Saul wanted to be married he had embraced his present singleness as giving him more time to serve Jesus Christ.
Read I Corinthians 9:3-7
Paul and Barnabas were both single, and both self-supporting.
Paul was a tentmaker, Barnabas already had some means, because in Acts 4 we learned that he had sold a piece of property and given it to the Lord’s Work.
I love how Paul embraced his singleness and saw in it the opportunities it gave him to serve Christ.
Read I Corinthians 7:8-9, 32-33
That doesn’t mean that it is wrong for a single person to want to be married, or that a married person should forsake their vows and claim God told them to do it.
Paul’s words are so relevant to today.
Sometimes evangelical Christianity is so family focused that singles feel left out – that spirit doesn’t come from the Apostle Paul!
When you add together American Christians who are single by choice, circumstances, divorce or widowhood, Half of America’s Christian adults are single – and they are not second class Christians in the church.
Missionaries are to go as extensions of a church’s ministry – and with their blessing and support V. 3
Look at verse 3
Then having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away
Barnabas and Saul went as a team, commissioned and prayed for by a team – Antioch sent its best to be missionary church planters.
Every place they would go did not have a church yet!
Later Paul would write –
And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.” -Romans 15:20-21, quoting Isaiah 52:15
Many times as missionaries follow God’s call on their life they get frustrating messages from their family members and church people.
Do you know what the number one thing they hear is, even from lost family members? What about all the lost people here?
Good question – We are trusting the 95% of Christians that remain here to reach them, even as we go to those with far less access to the gospel.
Don’t discourage those following God’s call – encourage them!
Now the rest of Acts chapter 13 and 14 show what happened as a result of the missionary team and church’s obedience.
They first went to the island of Cyprus – that makes sense, because Barnabas was from there; Barnabas’ cousin John Mark was with them. According to 13:9, Saul began using his Roman named Paul as this outreach began.
In Cyprus some were saved, including the Proconsul (Mayor) of Paphos, Sergius Paulus. There was also a lot of spiritual warfare, and when they reached Pamphylia, John Mark sailed back to Jerusalem. It was too hot in the kitchen.
They came to Antioch Pisidia, where they were allowed to speak in the synagogue. There they used OT scriptures to introduce Jesus as the crucified and resurrected Messiah, and the need to trust Him for forgiveness and salvation.
Many Jews, Proselytes, and God-fearers believed in Jesus that day, and Paul and Barnabas urged them to continue in the grace of God. The next week the whole city came to listen to them, and the Jewish leaders began opposing them
Kicked out of the synagogue, they continued to reach out to the Gentiles, and many more were saved both in the city & the region. The Jews stirred up prominent people to persecute & expel them. But first a church was planted!
Next they went to Iconium and spoke in the synagogue there. They immediately encountered opposition. So what did they do?
Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. -Acts 14:3
We can’t all work miracles like the apostles did, but we can stay when we feel like going!
The city was divided, with half siding with the synagogue leaders, and half with the apostles. A violent attempt was made to stone them, but they were made aware of it and went next to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia.
In Lystra Paul healed a lifelong cripple. The people who saw that thought the gods Zeus and Hermes had visited them! They thought Barnabas was the beautiful Zeus and Paul was the ugly Hermes, because Paul did most of the speaking!
They were making sacrifices to them, which Paul and Barnabas tried to stop by a speech. Interestingly…
With the Gentiles Paul started not with the Jewish Messiah Scriptures but with God being the Creator and Giver of common grace and challenging idolatry.
Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to Lystra and led the people to stone Paul. He was dragged outside the city and left for dead!
The disciples gathered around his body and prayed for him, and he got up and went back into the city! WOW! I think I would have kept moving away from the city, but not Paul!
Do you know who was from Lystra that may have been inspired by this? Timothy, his mom Eunice, and his grandmom Lois!
The next day they did go to Derbe, and made a lot of disciples there as well! Derbe is actually not far from Tarsus. But instead of visiting his home city of Tarsus, they retraced their route to pour even more into those church plants
Read Acts 14:21-28
At least 3 churches planted, bathed in prayer, and left with leaders; Believers given realistic expectations of hardships they would face. Then they sailed back home and reported to the sending church. Mission accomplished!
They planted several churches reaching their regions as far as 300 miles west of Tarsus, 400 miles west of Antioch of Syria! That would be like our church sending a team out that planted churches in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Asheville, and Winston-Salem before returning home! Except there had never been churches in Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, and Lystra before these churches were there!
Don’t miss that Paul did have a missions strategy as he went.
Be sent by a church; Go to a “county seat” type of city; set up the tent making business in the marketplace to pay the bills; begin meeting needs and witnessing.
Speak in the Synagogue the following Sabbath if possible: There they used OT scriptures to introduce Jesus as the Messiah, and proclaim the need to believe in His death and resurrection for forgiveness and salvation
Preach to whoever else they can, tailoring the gospel presentation to begin with God as Creator for Gentile audiences. Bathe every aspect in prayer, and engage in spiritual warfare as it comes. Get back up when you get knocked down!
Begin discipling the new believers, and organizing them into a church; Continue to evangelize non-believers and evangelize believers; Encourage those believers to reach their entire ‘region’ for Christ; Endure hardship and persecution
Stay until a church was formed or until it was no longer feasible or prudent to stay; Make sure the church plants had good leadership; Report back to the sending church.
Many of the strategies we use today go back to following Paul and Barnabas’ example!
We began this message by talking about M & M’s. Let’s you and I and the Tabernacle be as committed to ministry and missions as Paul was!
Let’s pray, let’s give, let’s participate in what God is doing locally and globally! There is nothing cooler than being part of Team Jesus!