READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l A story is told of someone who fell into a village well. To rescue him, someone had to go down to the well, secured by a rope while several others had to hold on to the rope as a lifeline. The story illustrates the rescue effort in outreach which requires the community to hold on to the lifeline. The missionary goes to the perishing, supported by the church which sends him and keeps the lifeline.
The church in Acts 13 was pondering how to fulfill the Great Commission (Mt 28:19,20, Acts 1:8) as they have been operating as a local church and there was little time to rescue the perishing before Jesus’ return. After fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit spoke to them to set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work.
Re-organising for the Great Commission
The five leaders at that time were all lay elders with their own vocations, families and duties to fulfill. The Holy Spirit led them to re-organise their thinking to include full time missionaries in their ministry modelled in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the tribe of Levites were set apart to do the work (Deut. 10:8) supported by the remaining 11 tribes. The Levites were not allocated land but they and their families were supported by the 11 tribes who were allocated land (Numb. 18:5-26). The church can likewise support those in full time ministry through their offering. However, it is more than giving of money and prayers. The church must come together to play their role to hold on to the lifeline. We are all co-labourers in the Great Commission.
Giving Our Best for the Great Commission
The call to the church to set apart Barnabas and Saul is a call to set apart your best for the Great Commission. Barnabas is a highly regarded church leader who mentored Saul when he was a new convert. They were the “A team” in the church.
Are we giving God our best or is our best reserved for our own agenda, leaving God only our leftovers? When we ask God for His plan for us, do we think in terms of the Great Commission that work is translated? The best could be:
-a lay person in the market place where he is most effective in the Great Commission. There may be the unique places/persons only you can reach.
-full time Christian ministry.
What part of the rescue effort do we play?
-time to go and share
-talent to make impact
-treasures to support, bless and invest for the sake of the Great Commission.
Your Plan For me in the Great Commission?
As intentional disciples, let us take the next step to seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33) and ask whether we stay or go. May the Lord help us to discover our part and give us the willingness and courage to fulfill our part in the Great Commission.
(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What are some problems/fears I have about going to the missions field(for short or long term)?
- Besides our traditional methods for missions, by what other creative ways can we go & reach the nations/perishing for Christ?
- In my present state & station in life, what does it mean for me to give my best for the Great Commission?
- What are the gifts I may contribute to further the Great Commission (Mt.28:19,20)?