The Holy Ghost Said
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. ~Acts 13:2
One of our greatest needs as Christians is to discern when the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come as our Comforter and our Teacher (John 14:26). As our Teacher, He teaches us all things, is truth, and is no lie (1 John 2:27). In Acts 8:29, the Spirit told Philip to go near and join himself to the chariot. Here, the Spirit speaks through prompting. In 1 Timothy 4:1, the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith. Here, the Spirit speaks through prophecy. This morning, we see how the Spirit speaks to us about the call to missions.
The Spirit speaks through His workers.
“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.” God uses His preachers and teachers to instruct, inspire, and direct us through the Word of God. God’s men must be prayed up and studied up in order to proclaim the Word effectively. God activates and affirms His calling of men through His Word and His workers. “How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”
The Spirit speaks through our willingness.
“As they ministered to the Lord….” The preacher-teachers and the men of the church at Antioch were fervently serving the Lord. The Greek word for ministered means to serve at one’s own cost. It implies they served the Lord sacrificially. They gladly spent their lives for the Lord. They were like a drink offering, pouring themselves out in continuous, sacrificial service. The word also speaks about their witness. They witnessed of their faith enthusiastically. The greater the intensity a man has in his witness for the Lord, the more sensitive he will be to the Lord’s leading in reaching the lost with the gospel.
The Spirit speaks through our withdrawal.
“…And fasted….” Fasting is when we voluntarily withdraw from eating food for a period of time. The Jews practiced fasting from sunup to sunset often. Fasting enables us to focus less on our fleshly needs so that we can focus on our spiritual need. Fasting is necessary for our heart and mind to be clear as we pray and read the Scriptures. Fasting is necessary whenever a major spiritual victory is needed. Jesus taught, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Ministering to the Lord and fasting go hand in hand and make us sensitive to the Spirit’s voice.
The Spirit speaks through our waiting.
Even though we are not told this in Acts 13, I believe that it can be safely implied that these spiritual men were waiting for the Lord to show them what He wanted them to do next. The church at Antioch was incredibly blessed with five preacher-teachers. I think they all knew the timing for expansion beyond Antioch was pending, and they prepared themselves for this. Waiting is when we pray in faith for the Lord to send laborers into the harvest, even if it means it could include those of us who are praying. I believe that when the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them,” it was not a surprise, but a firm affirmation. The Spirit speaking seals the perfect will of God to the ones being called and to the local church. The Spirit is still speaking: are you listening?
Have a Spirit-enabled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 140-145