Read: Acts 15: 22 – 35
“It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul” – v.25
Being involved in the mission ministry is not for the few good men alone. It is not limited to our pastors, to our elders, to our workers, to our teachers and to our volunteers. Each and every one of us should be informed and involved how we can be a part of the mission ministry.
I’ve learned a long time ago that in the advancing Kingdom of God there are three ministries we can choose to be involved with, either we can be the Preachers, the Providers, or the Prayer warriors. We must learn, understand and know which one we are being called. We cannot be not-involved, for we are mandated, we are instructed and we are called to fulfill the great commission.
Are we willing to answer God’s call and be part of the great commission? Or to put it differently, Are we willing to be open to God’s will for our life?
In today’s scripture, there are three things the early Christians did to get involved in the mission ministry. They equipped the representatives, they exhort the representatives and they empower the representatives of the Kingdom of God.
I. Equip the representatives – (v.22-23) “Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren. To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:”
After hearing the report from Paul and Barnabas about their missionary journey and the conflict that transpired on the churches, the apostles and the elders gathered and discuss what resolution and action to take.
When they had have finally came with a resolution, notice how they equip their representatives.
- They send them happily – (v.22) ‘Then it pleased the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch.’ Just like the early Christians, sending missionaries should involve everyone. Not just the pastors, not just the council, not just the elders but also with the whole church. And we don’t just send them, we must be pleased, we must be happily helping, in sending them. So how do we further equip the representatives of the Kingdom?
- They send them with qualified representative – (v.22) ‘Then it pleased the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas, namely Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.’ We make sure that the church is well represented by people who are already equipped in leading a group. That they have experience in leadership, counseling and administering to people in need. That they have a track record of service for the Lord. Otherwise we are sending a mediocre representative for the Kingdom of God. But how do we qualify if we don’t read the word of God, if we are not consistent with our bible study, and if we neglect our prayer life? Finally, we equip the representative of the Kingdom
- They send them as one – (v.23) ‘They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren.’ The early Christians are willing to associate themselves with the representative they have sent. They are telling the brethren in Antioch, that ‘as one’ they are sending these representative.
Now consider for a moment if you are that representative, how would you feel when you know that you have the Pastor’s blessings and the elder’s training? Just how would you feel if you have the whole church supporting you?
It takes a whole church to send a missionary on the mission field. Are we that kind of a church?
The second way we can be involved in the mission ministry is.
II. Exhort the representatives – (v.25-27) “it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.”
If we cannot be a part of those who will equip the representative of the Kingdom of God, we should be able to exhort them. How do we exhort fellow brethren? The bible is filled with various suggestions on how we exhort our brothers in Christ. Here we see how they exhort the fellow representatives.
- They confirmed their joy – ‘it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.’ They are genuinely happy to send them these representatives.
- They recognized their sacrifices – ‘Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The church knows how much these men of God had suffered and they boasts on it.
- They validate their identity – ‘We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.’ The church had sent people who will confirm what Paul and Barnabas will tell them. They want to send them the message that these people are not alone in spreading the gospel.
Finally the third way we can be involved in the mission ministry.
III. Empower the representatives – (v.32-35) “Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthen them. And after they have stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles. However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.”
To make the most of our missionary ministry, we must be able to empower these ‘official representatives’ to make decision on their own and of course guided by the principles from the Word of God and from discipline instilled on them.
Since they are empowered see what actions they have conducted that they were able to decide on their own.
- Exhorted the Brethren – ‘Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthen them.’ Since the people sent with them are trained and properly equipped, they were able to make the most of their time by exhorting the brethren, not only with a few words but many words. These have strengthened the brethren so much.
- Remain in the field – ‘it seemed good to Silas to remain there. Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch.’ These men were empowered to make this decision. Since they are the one who are actually aware of the current needs, they opted to stay and remain in the field. Imagine how it could have been if they are not given a free reign to decide on these matters? Do we trust our representatives enough to allow them to make similar decisions?
- Continue the ministry – ‘Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.’ Because they were empowered, Paul and Barnabas made the decision to continue the ministry in that region which resulted on exponential growth of early Christians. Are we allowing our “official representatives to make such decisions?
We are all called to be involved in the advancement of the Kingdom of God. We can choose to ignore God’s call, or we can choose to listen, open our hearts and obey in His call.
We can either be the preacher, the provider, or the prayer warrior but we must make our decision on how we can be involve and respond to the great commission.
Should you decide to answer God’s call and consider being involved in the mission ministry here are some practical suggestion you may consider:
- Choose to Equip – help support the church equipped our missionaries either by giving or teaching them the principles of God’s word.
- Choose to Exhort – pray for our missionaries, tell them that you are constantly praying for them. Encourage them.
- Choose to Empower – Bless our missionaries, tell them of your full support to their authority in the mission field. Tell them that you trust them make the right decision. Allow them to make their own decision.
Whatever you choose to decide, what is important is that you allow yourself to be involved and open to God’s will. Let us share in advancing the Kingdom of God. Open your hearts to God’s will in your life. Pray for His guidance, ask what would be your role, what would be your place.
As part of the body of Christ, we are in many ways are also called the “official representatives” of the Kingdom of God.