Acts 13:1-12 Worship, Prayer, and Fasting as Precursors for Missions

Meditation for PreparationObserve carefully the definiteness of this declaration as to the activity of the Spirit: “The Holy Spirit said.” He made known His will to these people, so that they had neither doubt nor uncertainty in their minds. Moreover this is not the picture of a Church choosing men to be sent forth on missionary enterprise. This is not the picture of a Church discussing the fitness of men for the doing of any particular work. There is a sense in which it would be perfectly accurate to say that the Church had no voice in the selection of these men. The choice was not left to the Church. The choice was based upon a prior fact in the activity of the Spirit.

The activity of the Church was to be that of submission to the Holy Spirit, not an independent activity. Their freedom and their authority as they went were to be gained through their absolute surrender to, and obedience to the Holy Spirit. “There is one body, and one Spirit.” The Spirit is the life of the body; the body is the instrument of the Spirit. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God; the body is the assembly of the saints. The Spirit works through the assembly; but the assembly has no power to move save under the inspiration and impulse of the Spirit. There is one body, and the body must cooperate with the Spirit in separating its members for particular service. “There is one Spirit’ and that Spirit must direct, control, suggest, choose, elect, equip, all who are to do its work.

The activity of the Church is declared in the words, “They ministered to the Lord, and fasted.” These men in Antioch, not the prophets and teachers only, but the whole Church, were engaged in this sacred ministry to the Lord. Ministering to the Lord is the function of a worshipping people. They recognize that work is not everything, but that worship is a prime and fundamental necessity. The Church in Antioch had not lost the art of worship. The outcome of worship is always readiness to obey the Spirit when He sends us forth to work. The Church is an institution for worship, its members minister to the Lord, and then they are sent forth to be of service. Worship and work are always intimately associated. If we try and work without worship, we shall disastrously fail.

The attitude to which the Spirit can reveal Himself is that of worship. “They ministered to the Lord, and fasted.” The word “fasted” indicates a special season of spiritual exercise, in which the Church, His body, is separated from all activity save that of ministering to the Lord. To a Church in that attitude the Spirit can speak, and the Church will not mistake His voice.

When the Spirit had spoken, the work was done decently and in order. They fasted and prayed, this time for the men who were to be separated; and they laid their hands on them. Then they let them go.

G. Campbell Morgan

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 13:1-12. Notice the church engaged in worship, prayer, and fasting as precursors for the work of missions. Where can our church grow in these areas? Where can you grow?

Posted on: October 17, 2013 - 8:57PM

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