The Beginning of Missions

Barnabas and Saul Blaze a Trail for All Missionaries

Acts 13:4-13

July 3, 2022

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.     Introduction (Acts 13:1-3)


A.   Acts 13:1-3  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 Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

B.   In the church in Antioch, 2 men were singled out to go on a special mission


1.    Barnabas and Saul

2.    Like the original James Bonds

3.    Not a secret mission, but a very important and dangerous mission none-the-less


C.   Called by the Spirit of God to do this work


1.    Not called by money – like most people feel called into some career because can make a lot

2.    Not called by popularity, excitement, ease, fun, etc

3.    But by the inescapable, small, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit:


a.     The same Holy Spirit that called Moses to face off with Pharaoh, and lead Israel out

b.    The same Holy Spirit that called a shepherd boy named David to be king of Israel

c.     The same Holy Spirit that called Jonah, and wouldn’t let him get away

d.    He called these two men to do some special work


D.   These men were called to basically do five things on their mission…


1.    As found in Matthew 28:19,20, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

2.    To go wherever people were who had not heard of Jesus
Will YOU go? We go out every Saturday at 1pm – come with us!

3.    To teach them about sin, and its consequences, and how to be saved from the coming wrath
Are you up to teaching the Gospel?

4.    To baptize new believers
We will have a baptism on July 10th

5.    To train them to stand and not crumble under persecution and pressure

6.    And then leave them as a new church, and go on and start all over somewhere else


E.   Sent by the Church of God, and by the Spirit of God


1.    Acts 13:3,4 … And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost...

2.    That is all they needed – not government approval; just a Call, and a good sending church


II.   Message


A.   Go West! (Acts 13:4,5) So off they went!


1.    Acts 13:4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

2.    Deciding the Will of God from Seleucia


a.     They travelled a few miles to the nearby port city of Selucia

b.    There were so many directions, so many options – where are they supposed to go?

c.     Go west!


1)    Jerusalem was doing fine

2)    Antioch now growing

3)    They decided to go west

4)    This generally is the direction that the Lord leads the work of the Gospel throughout history – from the East, throughout the West, returning back to the East, just before the Rapture

5)    But… you almost cannot choose a wrong direction – just GO!


d.    Sailed 150km to the island of Cyprus


1)    Not in search of a holiday

2)    But looking for an opportunity to preach to someone about the resurrection


3.    While on the island of Cyprus…


a.     Acts 13:5  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

b.    200 km long, end to end, and only 50 km wide


4.    They Preached the word of God first in the city of Salamis


a.     They kept going west through the entire island to the city of Paphos (120km)

b.    This act was so different – people talked about politics and war and religion, but here were two men talking about a resurrection!

c.     It caught people’s attention

d.    Words they had never heard before

e.     “Thus saith the Lord…”


5.    John Mark is with them


a.     That prayer meeting back in Acts 12 in John Mark’s home, really affected him for good!

b.    John Mark was NOT called to be a missionary

c.     But he was interested, burdened for souls and wanted to be a help – minister! AMEN!

d.    Mission work needs all kinds of people and helpers

e.     He came along to help Barnabas and Saul in any way he could


B.   A Spiritual Confrontation (Acts 13:6-13)


1.    Barnabas and Saul encountered a sorcerer – wizard – a spell-caster (Acts 13:6)


a.     Acts 13:6  And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:


1)    They had NOT gone very far into Missionary work when the devil confronted them head-on, and tried to stop their ministry

2)    A sorcerer means a wizard – the name, Elymas means WIZARD

3)    Not a magician, but the real deal

4)    An ancient ‘Harry Potter’ – but REAL

5)    These sorcerers were everywhere – very popular then, and now


b.    This sorcerer was demon possessed, had supernatural powers, channelling voices from another dimension, and producing powers from hell

c.     A false prophet


1)    Constantly spoke about future events – government leaders rely on people who claim to be able to tell them about the future!

2)    There were constant earthquakes on Cyprus

3)    Claimed to be able to SEE what was ahead, and what Sergius should do as governor


d.    A Jew – not a good one either

e.     His name was Bar-Jesus


1)    Same as, O’Jesus, McJesus – Hebrew for, The son of Jesus – “the son of salvation”

2)    What a blasphemous name – claiming to have the same power of salvation Jesus had


f.     An influencer of a government official named, Sergius Paulus


1)    Spiritual advisor, Counsellor

2)    An Ophra Winfry of the day

3)    Probably very highly paid counsellor!


2.    Sergius Paulus was Watching (Acts 13:7,8)


a.     Acts 13:7,8  Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

b.    In the middle of all that was going on was a lost man named Sergius Paulus watching!


1)    A prudent man – a sensible, cautious, thinking man

2)    ‘Deputy’ means, appointed governor over that area of the island – like a TD

3)    Thank God he was spiritually hungry - Interested in what Saul and Barnabas was speaking to everyone about

4)    There always are people watching, listening – make sure they hear the Gospel


c.     But Elymas, like all liberals, withstood, and tried to block their freedom of speech and their attempt to give Sergius the Gospel


1)    Elymas OPPOSED Barnabas and Saul’s preaching – stood up and interrupted them

2)    Lied about them – slandered them

3)    Mocked them

4)    Desperately wanted to turn Sergius’ HEART away from wanting to hear something that would give him FAITH in Jesus!

5)    That demonic spirit is still around today, isn’t it?


C.   Saul Confronts Elymas (Acts 13:9-11)


1.    Acts 13:9  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

2.    Acts 13:10  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

3.    Acts 13:11  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.


4.    This is when “the rubber meets the road” so to speak – when two worlds collided, and only one will be able to remain stranding…

5.    In spite of all his faults as a new Christian, Saul was two things…


a.     Un-afraid of demon possessed people – even though they are the most terrifying kind of people to be around he stood toe-to-toe, facing off with the only real enemy the Christian has – the devil

b.    Saul was burdened about the soul of a lost, pagan, Gentile man named Sergius Paulus. More worried about one man’s soul than about demons, and dark-powers, and the dangers of confronting them. If Saul didn’t handle with this influencer, Sergius Paulus would end up forever lost


6.    It is at THIS POINT that SAUL’S name is changed to PAUL


a.     Acts 13:9  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

b.    Saul was his Hebrew, Jewish name all his life up until now – a good name

c.     But from now on, he is going to be known as PAUL - his Latin, Gentile Christian name!


1)    ‘Paul’ is a good name because it means ‘LITTLE’ – a humiliating name

2)    Not Megalo / Mega – ‘BIG’

3)    His name changed probably because of this encounter with Sergius PAULUS…


D.   How Does ‘Paul’ Overcome This Oppressive Spirit? (Acts 13:9-11)


1.    He was Filled with the RIGHT Spirit


a.     Acts 13:9  Then Saul, …filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

b.    This is why most Christians crumble when dealing with demons


1)    They try and do God’s will in their own ability, and in the strength of their flesh

2)    And they will fail – and when they do, they get bitter and quit


c.     Paul knew the importance of walking in the FULNESS of the Holy Spirit

d.    Ephesians 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit

e.     Completely yielded to the Spirit of God, and dependant upon HIM!


1)    Praying constantly for God’s help

2)    Crying out for wisdom, strength, courage, joy, so he could do God’s will


f.     Because THEN and only then can you and I effectively wrestle and beat our enemy!

g.    So, next time you are in a heated argument with your parents, or wife, or your husband


1)    MAKE SURE YOU HUMBLE YOURSELF and GET FILLED WITH THE RIGHT SPIRIT – Not pride, or anger, or selfishness, or defeat…

2)    And then go back to them and make things work in the power of the SPIRIT!


2.    Wrestled the demonic-spirit IN Elymas


a.     Acts 13:9  Then Saul, … set his eyes on him… - EYE TO EYE, TOE TO TOE

b.    Paul is the one who wrote in Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

c.     Spirituasl wrestling is a very different way of dealing with our enemies than with physical weapons

d.    Sought to tear down Satan’s dominion by…


1)    Praying against Elymas’ plans, and words, and against his dark powers

2)    Persistance - Resisting Elymas’ efforts to shut he and Barnabas up – just kept preaching.  FAITHFUL EFFORT IS MORE THAN ENOUGH


e.     As a matter of fact, Prayer and Persistance are MIGHTY forces in the kingdom of God (2Corinthians 10:4,5)  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

f.     Married men… do you PRAY FOR YOUR WIFE?

g.    Married ladies… same question

h.    When there is a fight, or a conflict, WE MUST wrestle for our families in prayer, or we for sure will lose them!


3.    Exposed Elymas


a.     A Bible believer knows what is going on in the world, and in the human heart


1)    This Book is like an X-Ray machine

2)    It exposes what is in the heart of every man, women and child ever born

3)    It exposes what George Soros is planning, and where the entire world is headed

4)    It exposes the forces behind the removal of cash from society, the joining together of all the world’s religions, and the unification of the entire world under one unelected government! We Bible believers have known all this for 2,000 years!


b.    Paul exposed just how DARK this man was on the inside - Probably a very nicely dressed man, but wicked on the inside


c.     Acts 13:10  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?


d.    Exposed as a LIAR – full of lies, like Satan in genesis 3 had been


1)    Remember when Satan acted like such a friend of Eve

2)    And then LIED to her that she and Adam would NOT surely die if they disobeyed God?


e.     Full of mischief – he was causing hurt, and mayhem, and damage


1)    Most of politics today does nothing but cause deeper trauma and problems

2)    Almost all the decisions of our government for the past 50 years or more have created a society that is currently EATING itself


f.     A child of the devil – what a way to talk – controlled by Satan


1)    Jesus also talked like this

2)    John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.


g.    An enemy of everything that is right


1)    It is amazing to me how almost everyone in politics today is the enemy of Marriage, of childhood innocence, of freedom of speech, of Christianity, of morality, of punishments fitting a crime!

2)    Demon-possessed people hate good things – want to turn off the lights


h.    As perverted, a perverter of right ways of living


1)    So, we have Homosexuality splashed across our TV’s and newspapers

2)    People are praised for living together instead of getting married

3)    Teachers PERVERT young children in schools

4)    Don’t get angry at ME when I expose the stuff today in Disney, HBO, and music, etc!

5)    THAT is what I am called to do, as much as it is to preach the Gospel!

6)    Elymas’ are running Disney, the government, the schools and even churches!!!


4.    Paul Judged Elymas – “I judge you and sentence you to a consequence…”


a.     Acts 13:11  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.

b.    Took it one step further

c.     Paul sentenced this man to some consequences for his choice to be this way

d.    By the power of the mighty hand of the Lord Jesus – not by his own power

e.     Didn’t condemn him to hell – he already was condemned to hell

f.     No. He pronounced BLINDNESS on him for a season – for a while


1)    It was fitting, because SAUL had also been judged with blindness on the road to Damascus in Acts 9!

2)    Evidently Paul thought it would do Elymas some good, like it did him!

3)    This blindness would show everyone that Elymas was NOTHING compared to the power of the Lord Jesus

4)    So, No matter how powerful your enemy may be, Jesus is greater!


g.    It humiliated Elymas – he will have to rely on other people to take him to the toilet

h.    And, it may have even saved his soul when the blindness lifted!


5.    We need to do all this with every temptation, and every demonic attack that we face


a.     An example… When tempted to get angry for all the wrong reasons…

b.    Expose that anger as being from hell – that goes for you ladies too!

c.     Expose it as being a LIE that it will actually do any good – it won’t
James 1:20  For the wrath of man worketh NOT the righteousness of God.

d.    Expose it as being destructive – believe that it will ruin your life, your marriage

e.     Expose it as perverted pride of the devil

f.     And then condemn your anger to darkness where it belongs – Don’t allow it to have any of your attention - Send it back to darkness where it came from!

g.    This works when tempted with lust, depression, covetousness, with complaining…


E.    The Results of the Conflict (Acts 13:12,13)


1.    It Convinced Sergius of the Rightness of the Doctrine of Jesus (Acts 13:12)


a.     Acts 13:12  Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

b.    Not just of the power of Jesus, but of His words!!!

c.     Sergius becomes convinced


1)    That Jesus is Lord of everything – above all – not just a man, or a prophet

2)    That Jesus is alive

3)    That Jesus should be feared – and not demons

4)    And that Jesus should be followed


d.    Sergius BELIEVED no longer in Elymas, but in the Lord Jesus – AMEN!

e.     That is why we must confront the spirits of this age to win souls! REPEAT


2.    But it also Scared John Mark (Acts 13:13)


a.     Acts 13:13  Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

b.    Spiritual warfare is a real battle

c.     And it was all-too-much for John Mark

d.    So, he leaves – he returns back home to Jerusalem – he quits

e.     John Mark was considered at this point as a failure

f.     But he didn’t remain a quitter

g.    Mark will yet do great things for His Lord – he just needed some encouragement, and a good reason to try again


1)    I think it was here that John Mark saw that Gentiles like Sergius Pauls (who had no Bible) needed to read for themselves what Jesus did and taught, and it motivated him to start to record his own Gospel record, whichn we now know as the Gospel of Mark

2)    In a few chapters, Barnabas will come along side and encourage John Mark and that is all it will take for young John Mark to get back serving the Lord Jesus!


III.         Application


A.   These men (Barnabas and Saul) really ARE on a Mission


1.    Trusting God’s calling, obeying the call, and depending upon the Holy Spirit – not concerned with their own abilities or in-abilities, but only GOD’S abilities

2.    Trail-blazing – being examples for other Missionaries that will follow (including me) – no missionary is the end, always only the beginning!

3.    Trouncing any spiritual enemy in their way – not being defeated by the devil, but pressing on anyways!

4.    Winning and Training souls to live free in Christ, everywhere they went!

5.    THAT is the work of a Missionary

6.    And I believe it is the greatest work ever attempted


B.   Spiritual Warfare is Real


1.    1Peter 5:8,9  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

2.    Don’t be surprised to encounter very powerful opposition, and spiritual oppression every time you decide to do the right things, and do the will of God – Duh!


C.   Be Confident of Victory


1.    The reason why most Christian live defeated, discouraged is they quit trusting God’s and became discouraged with their own lack of power!

2.    Man! Did God shrivel-up and die? NO!

3.    These promises are still true!


a.     1John 2:14  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

b.    1John 4:4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

c.     1John 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.


D.   Keep Going, Christian – we have only just begun! Thyere is so much of this island here that does not know the Jesus, their only Saviour!

E.   If you have never even started, today is the day to start


1.    Take a Gospel tract and give it away

2.    Open your mouth and tell someone that you are a born again Christian

3.    And, Watch the devil rise up and fight you – but it will be okay!


4.    But if you have never been saved, own up to what is in YOU


a.     Psalm 139:23,24  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

b.    Sin – you are a sinner, lost, without hope

c.     You are someone who needs to be SAVED

d.    And Only Jesus can do that!

e.     Are you convinced YET that Jesus is more powerful than your past, and your sins, and the darkness you have lived in all your life?

f.     Let Him save you… ask Him to save you now!