Read Acts 13:1-5
- They prepared in advance to be sent out.
– “The separation is in the preparation.” Russell Wilson said during the Seahawks championship run. They weren’t surprised to win the Superbowl, even if everyone else was. They said, “Why NOT us?!”
– Paul and Barnabas positioned themselves to be selected and sent out. (Read verses 2 and 3 again) They were preparing in advance for the work that they have been called.
– Because they had already prepared, they didn’t have to decide. Their decision was already made.
– The bible doesn’t describe them saying, “I need to pray about it.” Or “Let me see if I can afford it.” Or “Maybe after I get out of debt I will be ready to answer the call…”
– They were prepared, and were separated and sent out.
– FF example: I never liked training on low frequency stuff. Tech rescue, etc… but you have to be prepared if it ever happens… 2 perspectives on being ready:
- FF said, “I guess I’m just confident that we will figure out something. We always have.”
- LT used to come up with outlandish scenarios and spend an hour coming up with a plan…
– But then… plane crash onto a soccer field during a tourney, train derailed over rush hour traffic, 3 houses on fire at once, “Snowmagedon” so only 2 P/M make it to CPR call…
– You can’t wait until the “call comes out” to try to figure out what you will do!
– Proverbs 20:4, The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing. (Don’t make excuses for not getting to work now, or you will starve later.)
– Read 1 Peter 5:6-10, because this is excellent instructions for being spiritually prepared.
– The enemy will attack you. Do you know his schemes, and how to resist them?
– You will need encouragement. Do you know where to find it in the scriptures?
– Example: Sheryl, floor of hallway needing a verse and I couldn’t think of even one!
– You must be prepared in advance, because you know these things will come!
- You should expect hardship.
– Up until this point the followers of Christ had been beaten, disowned, and even killed. Peter had been imprisoned, and James was just murdered by King Herod. They all knew the cost.
– Practice fasting, denying your fleshly desires, praying for those who persecute you, forgiving immediately… these kinds of things will prepare you to endure the hardship to come.
– “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
– God will allow fiery trials to refine you like gold. You must learn from them, or they are wasted.
– 2 Cor. 12:10, (Paul’s words) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– Example: Missionaries I met in India… 50 years of ministry to the spiritually dark territories. Just jungle and forests back then, 8 years before the first native convert, miracle of the cup of water…
– Right out of the Bible Institute in 1966, he headed straight to northern India, “in search of that land where the name of Jesus was unknown.”
– A hostile country full of black magic and superstition, fear and idolatry. Very hard soil!
– “On a cold Saturday evening, two men twisting my arms behind my back and another on trashing me, shouting, abusing and warning me never to come back to the remote village where we had gone to conduct an evening service with a few brethren who had recently accepted the Lord, I was reminded of Paul saying, “and again I say rejoice”.
– Now training native people to be sent out to minister to their own people groups!
– No funding or support, threatened with death, 8 years before the first fruits… but constantly encouraged by the words of the Apostle Paul, because Paul knew what it was like to struggle.
– 2 Tim 4:5, But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
– Obedience is better than sacrifice!
– The “cost” of your calling does not define its worth.
– Obeying the Lord in the small things will train you to be ready to obey in big things.
– You do not have to go to India, or prison, etc…. Just obey what God has called YOU to!
- You need to start preparing NOW!
– Prepare yourselves now by knowing you enemy and his schemes: The Bait of Satan is offense.
– Being offended was a huge struggle for me, until Pastor Kevin told me about this book. Now I can see it when I really haven’t forgiven someone.
– I would get offended with people based on perceived offense, but you are not allowed to even be “righteously offended”!
– Example: Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, lost everything even his future, wrongly accused and jailed, forgotten, betrayed… then becomes the 2nd most powerful in the land.
– Once in power he could have had them all killed or banished them all. He could have let his brothers starve and say, “I didn’t do anything to them. They got what they deserved. They suffered the consequences of their own behavior.”
– Joseph said, Genesis 45:8, “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God;”
– If Joseph hadn’t been in authority, the whole family may have starved to death.
– These were the Patriarchs, including Judah, as in “tribe of Judah”, as in the lineage of Jesus. If he let his brothers die out of revenge… consider the consequences of his offense!
– God is bigger than the enemy’s deception. God is bigger than the devil’s ability to stop His plan.
– No demon or man can stop God’s plan for you, but YOU can disqualify yourself!
– Offense of any kind creates division, and the enemy uses that to destroy God’s people.
– John Bevere said, “Offended people still may experience miracles, words of utterance, strong preaching, and healing in their lives. But these are gifts of the Spirit, not fruits. We will be judged according to fruit, not gifting. A gift is given. Fruit is cultivated.”
– Check your heart condition, not your production. Fruit comes from obedience.
– Prepare yourselves now by knowing God’s word:
– Col 3:12-13, 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
– One who holds an offense has forgotten what Christ has forgiven them of.
– According to scripture, 2 things need to happen:
– Matt 5:23-24, Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
– This is right after Jesus tells them if they are angry with their brother they are in danger of judgement, just like a murderer is.
– This verse is talking about physically bringing your gift to the alter, but also clearly saying that when you being your “gifts and talents” as an offering to the lord, to serve him, first be reconciled to your brother.
– Do we need to talk about forgiveness more?! Both are true, forgive and seek forgiveness.
– Proverbs 19:11, The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
– James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We resist the devil by not becoming offended.
“In other words, a believer who chooses to delight in the Word of God in the midst of adversity will avoid being offended.” John Bevere
– Prepare yourselves now by fasting, praying, and listening to the Holy Spirit.
– This isn’t just some ancient bible story. This is a model of preparation for YOU!
– This will affect every part of your ministry. God will not use the disobedient, because then who will get the glory?
– When the world has your arms twisted behind your back and is trying to make you quit…
– Are you ready for this?
– Do you recognize the enemy’s schemes?
– 1 Peter 5:8, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
– Lions looks for those who are weakened, injured, not prepared to flee.
– Be strong! Be prepared!
– prayer –