Sending Out Missionaries (Acts 13:2–3) - Radical

Sending Out Missionaries (Acts 13:2–3)

“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.”
-Acts 13:2–3

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, “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. They are people who are sent out from the church to spread the gospel and to plant the church where the church doesn’t exist.

Acts 13:2–3 Reminds Us of God’s Design for the Local Church

I see this in the Church at Antioch. Then I look at the number of churches in North America, I look at the churches all around the world, and I am certain 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 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 it has not yet gone.  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. Along with 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.

Acts 13:2–3 Reminds Us to Ask God if He is Sending Us

I would just encourage you to, with your local church, ask this 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. 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.

Prayer for Missionaries

God, we pray for Antioch-like sending in every single one of churches. Additionally, we pray that you would give us hearts attuned to you in worship. Our faces seeking you and fasting and praying. As we do, we pray that in each of our churches. We pray, God, that you would send out workers, laborers to go from our local churches into places where the gospel has not yet gone.

A Prayer for Clarity

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. Lord, we pray that you make it clear if you’re sending any one of us out to spread the gospel. So that we may plant the church where the church does not yet exist. We pray that you would send out multitudes more missionaries like you did in Acts 13:2–3. 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 just pray that even as people are praying this that you would do a work in peoples’ hearts. A work like you did in Saul and Barnabas in Acts 13:2–3. And we pray 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. Finally, 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.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

Less than 1% of all money given to missions goes to unreached people and places.*

That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Let's change that!