“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'” Acts 13:2 NASB
We now embark with the Apostle Paul on a missionary journey, thirty plus years of service to Jesus.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Paul would help plant numerous churches in various countries, preaching the gospel and making many disciples.
We are told in Acts 14, Paul and his team would return to the churches he planted, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them in the faith, and appointing elders after fasting and prayer.
We are blessed to have the many letters Paul wrote to the churches that make up a major portion of the New Testament.
Through the summer we will read through all the letters Paul wrote in some chronological order, trying as closely as possible to match Paul’s writings in the order they occurred.
In Acts 8 we read how Paul persecuted the church.
In Acts 9 we read of Paul’s dramatic encounter with Jesus – the one he had been persecuting.
Later in Acts 9, we read how God used Paul to share the gospel to the Jews, though he would meet with much resistance.
In the coming chapters we will see how Paul sets up the church at Antioch as his base of operations and how God will use Paul to share the gospel with the gentiles, as promised in Acts 9.
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’” Acts 9:15-16 NASB
In this passage, we see how the the Lord assures Ananias that Saul is His chosen instrument to carry His name before the Gentiles, kings, and the people of Israel.
We will see how Saul becomes Paul, apostle to the uncircumcised and to kings (Governors Felix and Porcius Festus, King Herod Agrippa II, and possibly Nero – the roman emperor).
We will read of his ministry to both Israel and the Gentiles and of his many sufferings at the hands of those he was trying to help – Paul lists many of those sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.
Paul definitely responded to the work God had called him to.
As I read through Acts I am reminded of the work Jesus has called us all to:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
As you read through the remainder of Acts, journey with Paul as he goes about the work, even when he faces opposition and times of trials and suffering.
Be mindful of your own journey – the work we have all been called to do.
To the work! To the work!
Until next time… Keep reading!