Acts Chapter 13, Verses 2 and 3. Talking about the Church at Antioch says, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ And after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” This picture is describing the sending of missionaries from the Church at Antioch, so you’ve got the Church at Antioch worshiping, fasting, praying together, and in the middle of their worship, the Spirit of God says, it doesn’t tell us how, but somehow the Spirit of God says, “I’ve got particularity work for Barnabas and Saul to go and do for the spread of the gospel beyond Antioch,” and the church says, “Yes,” and they fast and pray and lay their hands on them and send them off. Here in this picture at Antioch, we see a pattern for what God will do throughout his church in the book of Acts and over the last 2,000 years. God, by his spirit, sets apart certain men and women from local churches for the spread of the gospel in places where the gospel has not yet gone. We often call these people missionaries, those who are sent out from the church for the spread of the gospel and the planning of the church where the church doesn’t exist.
I see this in the Church at Antioch, and the I look at the number of churches in North America, I look at the churches all around the world, and I am convinced that this is God’s design for every single local church. Not that every single follower of Christ would be sent out from a local church for the spread of the gospel to places where it’s not gone. God is obviously not calling every member of the Church at Antioch to go out as a missionary at this point in places beyond Antioch, but he is calling a couple of them, some of them to go out. So I want to encourage you when you think about your local church to worship and fast and pray together with your local church and just ask him are you sending out any of us for the spread of the gospel in places where the gospel has not yet gone, and I’m convinced that when churches are doing that, when they’re worshiping, seeking God, and fasting and praying and say “Who are you setting apart from among us?” God is going to set people apart. There’s close to 3,000,000,000 people in the world today right now who have little to no knowledge of the gospel, places where the gospel’s not yet gone and the church hasn’t been planted, and God is by his spirit setting people apart from churches, sending them out.
God, by His Spirit, sets apart certain men and women from local churches for the spread of the gospel in places where the gospel has not yet gone.
I would just encourage you to, with your local church, ask the question of God. “God, are you sending any of us out?” Ask the question in your life. “God, are you sending me out?” Walk through a process in your church where you discern whether or not He is or He isn’t doing that. Let’s just open up our lives in our churches to this reality and pray together that God would sent out multitudes more from each of our churches for the spread of the gospel in places where the gospel’s not yet gone. Let’s pray for that. This is how Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 9. Ask the lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest field so, God, we pray for Antioch-like sending in every single one of churches. In every one of our churches, oh, God, we pray that you would give us hearts attuned to you in worship. Our faces seeking you and fasting and praying, and as we do, we pray that in each of our churches, we pray, oh, God, that you would send out workers, laborers to go from our local churches into places where the gospel has not yet gone.
God, we pray that you would do Antioch-like sending in every single one of our churches. Even as we pray that, we pray for each of our lives and pray for my life and pray for every single person listening to this as we pray together. Lord, we pray that you would make it clearer if you’re sending any one of us out to spread the gospel, to plant the church where the gospel’s not yet gone, where the church has not yet been established. We pray that you would send out multitudes more missionaries like you did in Acts Chapter 13. You would do that today, and you would give us grace, wisdom, strength to obey as we hear your voice and as you set people apart. God, I would just pray that even right now as people are praying this that you would do a work in some peoples’ hearts. A work like you did in Saul and Barnabas in Acts Chapter 13, that you would set somebody apart even right now. Take the gospel where the gospel’s not yet gone, that you would so prompt somebody, some peoples’ hearts as they’re praying right now toward that end. God, that you would raise up churches that are worshiping, fasting, and praying like this, and we pray that from our local churches, you would send people out for the spread of your glory. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.