Acts chapter thirteen is a beautiful introduction to the work of the church at Antioch. World-wide missions found a home in the hearts of the people at Antioch. God sets this church in such distinction from the church at Jerusalem which reluctantly took to the task of reaching the world (specifically the Gentiles) for Christ. The Lord sent persecution to that church to give them the proper “push” in reaching lost souls.
We see, however, a different, I say, a “Divine,” push taking place here in the church at Antioch. As these men were ministering to the Lord with fasting, the Holy Spirit set apart two of them for the purpose of preaching beyond the regions of Antioch. In light of that calling two things happened:
- The church recognized that calling, laid their hands upon them and sent them away.
- The Holy Spirit authenticated the work and sent them on their way
The idea expressed here is that the work seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and He sent them into that work. Saul and Barnabas were propelled forward by that divine push.
Missions is one of those areas of Christian living wherein God expects obedience, but it is not the only area of service. The work of God began in the hearts of Barnabas and Saul as they ministered to the Lord and fasted. If the whole truth be told, God, I am sure, could have said, “As they were reading their Bibles, attending church faithfully, tithing, and leading Spirit-filled lives, the Holy Spirit separated them.” They were walking in the light they had; they were obedient.
It is in all areas of the Christian life that we need that same “divine push,” that Heavenly impulse to “give what we cannot keep, to gain what we cannot lose.” The Holy Spirit will propel us on to greater works in evangelism and service if today He may prevail in our lives to “push” us into those things that are most foundational to the Christian experience.
It is said in Galatians 5:16-17, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. According to Paul, the Spirit is prodding, pushing and motivating us today. Let’s allow Him to win in our lives so that He may propel us into greater works for God’s glory and His wonderful name.