The church at Antioch had prophets and teachers including Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene and Manaen who was brought up with Herod and Saul. While they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work He called them. They fasted, prayed, laid their hands and sent them away (Acts 13:1-3). The Holy Spirit leads a multi-racial elder team toward gospel mission through prayer and fasting.
They were sent by the Holy Spirit and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of Cyprus with John as their helper. A false prophet opposed them seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith as he wanted to hear the word of God. Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, said the false prophet was full of deceit and fraud making crooked the straight ways of God. The false prophet became blind and the proconsul believed when he saw what happened being amazed at the teaching of the Lord (Acts 13:4-12). Declaring truth through prayer defeats evil spirits so people can believe the gospel.
Paul and his companions came to Perga in Pamphylia and John returned to Jerusalem. On the Sabbath in Pisidian Antioch, the synagogue officials invited Paul to speak. He explained how God led Israel out of Egypt, put them in the wilderness 40 years, destroyed seven nations in Canaan, distributed their land as an inheritance in 450 years and gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. After asking for a king, God gave them Saul for 40 years and raised up David, a man after His heart who would do His will. From his offspring according to promise, God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John proclaimed a baptism of repentance. Those who did not recognize God or the prophets put Jesus to death, but God raised Him from the dead and He appeared to many witnesses. The apostles preached the good news of God's promise in raising up Jesus in contrast to David who died and underwent decay after he served the purpose of God in his generation. Through Jesus' forgiveness of sin is proclaimed so everyone who believes is justified, which is impossible through the Law of Moses (Acts 13:13-41). Proclaiming the historical message of the Bible enables people to understand the gospel.
People begged Paul and Barnabas to speak these things the next Sabbath. Since many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, they urged them to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:42-43). Presenting the Bible chronologically creates spiritual hunger so people embrace the grace of God.
At the next Sabbath, nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God. The Jews were filled with jealousy and began contradicting what Paul said. Since they rejected the word, Paul turned to the Gentiles since the Lord placed him as a light to bring salvation to the end of the earth. They rejoiced, glorified the word of the Lord and those appointed to eternal life believed. The word spread through the whole region. The Jews aroused women of prominence and leading men of the city in persecuting Paul and Barnabas to drive them out of the area. They went to Iconium and the disciples were continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:44-52). The gospel spreads through Spirit-filled disciples in the midst of persecution.
Here are questions to ask yourself for involvement in a world-changing ministry:
1. Are you involved or submitted to an elder team seeking direction from the Holy Spirit?
2. Are you declaring the truth through prayer when God opens up opportunities to share the gospel?
3. Have you been equipped to the proclaim the historical message of the Bible so people can understand the gospel?
4. Are you presenting the Bible chronologically to create spiritual hunger so people embrace the grace of God?
5. Are you equipping and mentoring Spirit-filled disciples in the midst of persecution so the gospel can spread?