Summary: The fact that no one has done it, doesn’t mean it cannot be done.

It takes me back almost 2.5 years ago when we planted the church in Manila. We were anxious. We did it because we believed that this was God’s direction. Yet, we didn’t quite know what to expect. It is a big step out of our comfort zone. But, as a Church, we pushed some walls down. The fact that no one has done it, doesn’t mean it cannot be done. The fact that you have not done it does not mean you cannot do it. Say to the person next to you, “I’m glad you tried! ’AS PEOPLE OF FAITH And a PEOPLE WITH A BIG GOD, WE NEED TO ENGAGE OURSELVES AND OUR FAITH INTO A NEW OF THINKING AND BELIEVING AND ACTING. We hear it all the time, “with God, things are possible.” Exactly right, and God will literally pull us closer to Him to get it into our faith system.

Go with me please in Acts 13:1-3, (1) Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) (a ruler who depended on Rome for his power to govern a Roman colony), and Saul. (2) While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for work to which I have called them.” (3) so after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

The church in Antioch has prophets and teachers. Prophets and teachers are distinct offices that support the ministry of the church; a very important office in the church/body of Christ. These are people are trusted to hear from God for the people and are given by Christ to the church. These Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) Saul who is a Jew (Paul).

Ephesians 4: 11-13 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (12) to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

So What are these people doing? V2) they were worshiping the Lord and fasting. - they gathered together in one place worshiping God and fasting and praying (v3) and so the Holy Spirit instructed them to take a step of faith that no one had ever done before.

THE CHURCH IN ANTIOCH – As a bit of background, let’s quickly talk about the spiritual climate at that time. Chapter 12 indicates that it was a time of severe persecution. In C.11:2, James, the brother of John was put to death with the sword (11:2). He was persecuted and martyred for his faith. In (11:4-18) Peter was arrested and jailed at Herod’s command, but the church was earnestly praying. The Lord answered and Peter miraculously got out of jail by the angel of the Lord. Herod was struck by an angel of the Lord for his blasphemy and arrogance. He was eaten by worms and he died days after (12:23).

And at the same time, a season of evangelization. The Word of God was spreading and flourishing (12:24). THEY WERE HAVING A REVIVAL! God was bringing spiritual fruits in all they do. It seems like God put a birthing unit in heaven where spiritual babies were popping non-stop. And that was during unlikely times. When Christians were getting killed, new believers were entering the door of the church!!! Their Evangelistic efforts were on overdrive and people were getting saved. It was a difficult and exciting time for the church.

Internal Risk - Because the word was spreading within the region, the church in Antioch with its mix of Gentile believers may have felt a great need for God to send the gospel to the Gentiles around the world. A good observation would be that the WORD/GOSPEL had outgrown its area. It might have reached its saturation point and had to rip its borders apart to allow the spread to continue. If not, the word would hit a plateau. It will stop spreading, and the excitement can potentially die over time. It seems that they were praying and fasting how to go about this mission – or at least God’s will for their church.

The character of the church! I look at the character of the church in Antioch. They were resilient during troubled times. They had good reason to retreat, be complacent, to pull the plug out, and shut down because their lives were on the firing line, but, no, they were persistent in prayer and fasting during those times. They took the hard call, pray and fast, fast and pray. We don’t know how long and how they fasted but what was clear was the fact that prayer and fasting were not a big deal to them. An indication that it was a normal part of their lives as an individual and as a church.

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