Bible In One Year-Day 314 (Sunday, November 10, 2013)
Commentary: Acts13-16. To be called is different from to be chosen.
Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
When you are called, you work with others for the assignment on ground. But to be chosen is to be separated from others for another specific assignment. This assignment is quite different from what is on ground. It could be to a set of people, to a nation, or to an authority. When you are called, you are called to join a group to accomplish a task. Your duty could be duplicated; i.e. two of you could be doing the same thing. This is not so when chosen; in this case, you are assigned a job which has not been carried out in the manner you are to do it before.
Saul was first called into a church where he worked with some Prophets and teachers. After some time, he was chosen for a specific assignment, i.e. separated from a usual work for another unusual work.
Acts 13:1-2 “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. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
He was faithful in his calling in ministering to the Lord. This shows that he was in love with the Lord. Without the love for God one cannot be faithful in ministering to the people. You must love the Lord with the whole of your heart before you could take up His work faithfully. Your service to the people hangs on the relationship you have with the Lord; this is the cross.
Notice that Saul was picked by the other side of Jesus which means Jesus owns ministry and He alone could assign work in His vineyard. There was no bitterness, rancor or dissatisfaction where he was. As at that time, though he had a gift, he was not given a ministry. The gift he had was for the work of the church and not to start a different church. His fasting was for more of God’s grace to do the work. It was His faithfulness that qualified him to be chosen by the same Spirit that gave the gift for the work of church. Because he had to go for a higher assignment, a greater grace was given to him just like the other apostles before him.
To receive a gift is not the same as to receive a ministry; and to receive a ministry is not the same as to receive a church. When you receive a gift and you decide to break off to start a ministry, you might not be able to stand the trials of the ministry because God’s grace is not there. Ministry is for a dispensation; to bring revival to the church, community or nation and it is to pave way for the expansion of the church and strengthen it. It does not last but wears out with time or as that person ages. If a ministry is converted to a church without the leading of the Holy Spirit, it will lose the supply of the Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not unruly.
The church, on the other hand, is established by God himself. It lasts for as long as the Lord comes, i.e beyond the life of the vessel used to found it. The church is strengthened by various ministries. It is an operation and a vision given to and headed by Apostles and prophets. Even after their death, the church grows the more. As a matter of fact, the explosion of the church is greater after the death of the vision carrier than when alive.
John 12:24 “Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
The church exploded beyond imagination as the apostles were being killed one-by-one.
The gift, ministry and the church are distinct but inseparateable because they are handed over by the Holy Spirit, the Lord and God the Father which are not separateable.
MLB 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “There are distinctive gifts of grace, but the same Spirit, and there are distinctive ministries, yet the same Lord. There also are varieties of things accomplished, but the same God does all the energizing in them all.”
From this scripture we see that gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, ministry is by the Lord and operations by God. When you receive the first gift, a measure of grace is attached. As you move to the ministry level, a greater grace is given to meet the demand of that level.
Acts 4:33 “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”
Faithfulness with the gift can move you to the level of receiving a ministry. Saul, a very learned person, submitted his intellectual knowledge at the feet of Jesus, embraced the gift of grace and remained faithfull after receiving it. He fellowshipped with his colleagues and ministered to the Lord only and not for self gratification but in humility. He was sent out by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:4 “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed to Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
Not too long he got into ministry work that he encountered the first ministry problem in the person of Bar-Jesus.
Acts 13:6 “And when they had gone through the isle to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:”
Saulof Tarsus couldn’t have dealt with this principality with the gift of the Spirit, but with the authority of a ministry. No gift is listed that binds a demon into a person; what we have is to deliver a person from demonic possession. But because it was the Lord that called him into ministry, he invoked the hand of the Lord to deal with the evil.
Acts 13:9, 11 “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him, … And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”
With the gift of the Spirit he could look intently to discern but with the hand of the Lord he could blind the sorcerer. You could have a gift as a package of initial grace, but you need to sacrifice and be faithful to obtain a higher calling into ministry. You don’t choose it, but the Lord decides that.
Gifts have their problems, ministries have and the operations have theirs. When you remain within the calling, you are covered under the grace for that position. You become a tempter when you go beyond your bound. But any trial that comes your way within that place you are called into would be judged. The other side of Jesus gives as He wills.
1 Corinthians 12:11 “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
Let us seek for the old path where we could find rest. Let us listen to the trumpet’s sound, wherewith we could escape the calamity to come. Our reading for today is Acts17-20. Keep the fire of burning and alive.
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries