God Is Still Calling Men to Serve Him
June 26, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Acts 13:1-3)
A. Saul and Barnabas are back up in Antioch
B. Both had taken financial help from the new Christians in Antioch to the Christians in Jerusalem because of the famine and the economic hardships there
C. But they couldn’t wait to get back up to the church in Antioch
1. Nothing wrong with the church in Jerusalem – they just weren’t needed there
2. There was something refreshing and exciting about a small church – there was so much that needed to be done
3. Remember, churches are supposed to be active places of service – not places where people do nothing!
D. So, back up north they went, travelling 300 miles by foot! All so that they could be a part of turning the world upside down with the Gospel!
E. And it is there that they hear… not “the call of the wild”, or “the call to war”, but the call to serve the Lord
A. The Church in Antioch (Acts 13:1) - Luke now focuses on this second church
1. Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch ...
2. Antioch was a fully functioning, New Testament kind of church, equal to Jerusalem
a. With its own pastor and church leadership
b. It didn’t need Jerusalem to control it, like denominations do
c. Just a commitment of those assembling there to obey the Bible
3. God is not interested in:
a. Only mega churches like Jerusalem had become, with its tens of thousands of believers
b. God loves new churches, small churches, loads of churches, everywhere
c. It is not wrong to have a lot of people in a church
d. But it becomes wrong when it can’t see the rest of the world needing Gospel preaching churches like this one
B. Certain Prophets and Teachers (Acts 13:1)
1. Acts 13:1 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.
2. These men were gifted men in the church in Antioch
a. Notice: no priests, popes, canons
b. Just Prophets and Teachers
3. Both kinds of men had one purpose – to write down, preach and teach New Testament truths that are now in our Bible!
4. Five men are listed here:
a. Barnabas from Cyprus – he was the star Christian
b. Simeon of Niger in central Africa, just north of Nigeria
c. Lucius of Cyrene – could be Luke, the author of Luke and Acts, but not sure
d. Manaem of Galilee– a very well known part of Herod’s evil family, who had gotten saved, and was now serving the Lord Jesus now, and not politics!
e. Lastly, Saul of Tarsus – saved and serving in a new, small church!
f. It is interesting that this is a mix of different cultures, different languages, different nationalities – and yet were Christians, serving together in one church!
g. Not a Cypriat Church, a Nigerian church, Cyrenean church, or a Jewish Church
h. Just THE CHURCH in Antioch!
5. What were these men doing?
a. Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers…
b. Using their gifts – not hiding them, ignoring them, abusing them
1) Busy – God does NOT use lazy people
2) Spiritual gifts – it is great when someone uses their talents, but God gave you a gifting, to do something of eternal value – find out what it is and use it
3) These men were preaching, teaching, writing, answering questions, helping people grow in their faith and confidence in Christ!
c. Being faithful in the church there
1) Not sporadically attending
2) Not split between the Church in Jerusalem and Antioch – they were committed to THIS church
3) Antioch was their church home
d. Working with a team – not loners
1) Like a hospital works, like a sports team works, like a fire dept works – as teams!
2) People who work together to help people get forgiven, get strong, get serving
e. Ministering to the Lord, doing His will - Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord…
1) Matthew 25:34-30 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
2) Romans 12:10,11 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord
a) When you are kind, and affectionate to each other, who are you showing kindness to most of all? The Lord Jesus!
b) When you prefer others above your own wants, who are you honouring most of all? The Lord Jesus!
c) When you are hard working and not lazy, who are you serving? The Lord Jesus!
d) When you are passionate in your spirit about the Gospel and church and the Bible, who are you serving? The Lord Jesus!
3) Colossians 3:23,24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. NOT your employer, your neighbour, your brother or sister!
f. And not just praying, but Fasting Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted
1) They were regularly ignoring meals, so that the time could be devoted to praying
2) FASTING is a powerful weapon against Satanic powers
3) And a powerful way to tear down walls between us and God, so we can hear Him
4) Christian men need to be able to ignore their stomachs for a day or two or three, and instead spend that time fasting, so that they are closer to God than to food!
5) Fasting is done not by super spiritual people, but by those of us who are inadequate, and need help preaching, teaching, soul-wining, serving – we are so often overwhelmed, and need God’s help, that only fasting opens up!
C. It was from these men, that Jesus is going to call 2 men, not to be apostles, but Missionaries – men on a mission
1. The Bible word is evangelist – evangelisers
a. 2Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
b. Gospel workers
2. Men who will go anywhere and start churches - preaching to everyone, and getting anyone to decide to follow Jesus, and then from the new believers, form another new church
3. Going from town to town, and city to city, country after country, starting what we have here – a Bible believing church full of committed believers in Jesus Christ
D. The Holy Spirit Spoke (Acts 13:2)
1. Acts 13:2 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.
2. How did He speak?
a. Not like on Mt Sinai – booming thunder
b. But like 1Kings 19:9-12
1) 1Kings 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
2) 1Kings 19:10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
3) 1Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
4) 1Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
3. Who Heard Him?
a. Everyone in the church – not just Barnabas and Saul – they all knew it
b. Not just the pastor, or the elders, but everyone knew the Holy Spirit was speaking
c. Evidently this church really had a soft heart and good ears to hear from God
4. Does the Holy Spirit speak to us today?
a. Most definitely – I have heard the Holy Spirit call me to preach, and encourages me
b. Through these words right here – if you won’t hear this Book, you won’t hear His voice
c. I hear the Spirit of God when I am reading my Bible – talking to ME
d. I hear Him speak to ME when I am listening to someone preaching – to ME
e. I hear Him when I seek godly counsel from a friend
E. The Holy Spirit Calls – “I have called them” (Acts 13:2)
1. Acts 13:2 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.
2. People are NOT called by the pastor, or by parents, but by the grip of the will of God, and by the influence of the WORDS of God in this Book!
3. These men had a calling already…
a. There is no one in this church that is not already called by God!
1) First, to follow Jesus – turn from sin and follow Jesus - salvation
2) Then to serve people in a church, and love the people in their church – THAT is everyone’s calling
And lastly, they were called to
preach and teach the Gospel to the world –
going out soul-winning like we do on Saturdays at 1pm
b. It is from men fulfilling their calling already, that God calls to go further into His will
4. The call of the missionary is to go a little further than you have already gone
a. Most Christians go a little of the way into the Christian life, and then gets comfortable, and then stops – SHAME – no depth, no cost, no sacrifices
b. But that is not what Jesus asks of us – to just come a little of the way
c. He said “Follow me” – a continuous journey – Jesus said “I am with you all the way”
d. And Jesus calls SOME to leave father, mother, sister, brother, employer, friends, home, country, job, retirement…
e. Called to come away from where you are, To go where no one has heard before
1) God never calls a person in sin to do something except to come OUT of it and be separate
2) But He calls good men to come away from whatever they are doing – even if it is good, to do something better!
5. He actually commanded – He did not ASK these men to volunteer, He named them!
6. Called them to continue to work together as a team – not alone!
7. The church set them apart
a. Acts 13:2,3 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate [UNTO] me Barnabas and Saul… And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
b. Put them on a track to go wherever God was calling them –
c. Placed them into the hands of God
d. Supported by their constant prayers and personal sacrifices for THEM
e. We are in a war – a spiritual war - and everyone needs to do their part!
f. Just because you are not called to be a Missionary, or a Pastor, or Teacher…
g. Every Christian
1) Have your own Personal walk with God – listening to the voice of God, obeying
2) Committed to your church – being here and serving here (yes, serve your company, your family, your team, but serve he as well!) growing this group!
3) Burdened about souls right here – soul-winning here
4) Giving tithes here, and extra money to Missionaries as they serve wherever they are
5) Ready to send more Men on a Gospel Mission
F. The Responsibility of Every Church (Acts 13:3)
1. Acts 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
2. To encourage people to use their spiritual gifts (Romans 12:5-8)
a. To not let you be comfortable doing nothing and just sitting there
b. But growing in your faith and abilities to help others grow
c. Everyone here who is born again has been gifted to help someone else to grow
One body / many individual members, dependent upon one another
(Romans 12:5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one
members one of another.
Whether many or few people – we are one church
2) Gifted by grace (Romans 12:6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…
3) Why? To do the will of God!
d. What gifts did God give all of US believers? (Romans 12:6-8)
1) The gift of Prophesy – the gift of preaching the Bible
a) Romans 12:6 whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith
b) According to how much confidence you have in the Bible – I hope you have a lot of confidence in it!
2) Ministry – to serve like a servant – to help people, and meet needs
a) Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering
3) Teaching – focus on teaching the truth of the Bible
a) Romans 12:7 or he that teacheth, on teaching
b) This is the work of Discipleship
c) Of teaching a Children’s church class
d) Teaching teens how to live godly and follow Christ
e) Teaching young married families how to stay sane
4) Exhorting – encourage, carry people further than they think they can go
a) Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, [FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS] on exhortation…
a) Romans 12:8 … he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity...
b) If God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give, with simplicity
c) Not as a show, but with all your heart
6) Ruling – Manage – Lead people to accomplish something great for God
a) Romans 12:8 … he that ruleth, with diligence…
b) Like a coach rules his team, and trains them, and gets them to win games
c) It is hard work managing people, projects, programmes
d) The coach actually works the hardest!
e) Thank God for people who love to work through all the problems and get things done in the kingdom of God!
7) Mercy – Gladly showing great kindness to people who deserve none
a) Romans 12:8 …he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
b) Oh how we need a church full of people who show mercy on a hurting world, and on hurting Christians, who are coming back from the world
e. These are priceless gifts, that the Holy Spirit has given to everyone who believes
The Second thing every church
needs to be doing is:
To build people into team workers
a. Not star players – Barnabas was placed with Saul, later, Saul with Silas, etc
b. I have seen so many men in our own church let all the Bible learning go to their head and draw away disciples after them as if they were the star player
c. They want people following THEM instead of Christ
d. If you only KNEW how different this church, and MY ministry is compared with the charismatic manipulators, and the false Gospel churches – most of you don’t know
e. This is NOT Craig’s church – it is our church – and that is rare!
4. To get people to minister to God – to please Him first, and not themselves
a. Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
5. To listen to the quiet, small voice of the Holy Spirit
a. We make a big deal out of getting everyone alone with God every day, not just Sunday
b. Reading through your Bible, every year
c. Worshipping Jesus NOW, praising Him, obeying Him NOW, not just in heaven one day
d. All of that is so hard with all the noise and the distractions of this age
e. With all the distractions, we are missing HIS voice!!!
6. Take the calling of men into ministry VERY seriously
a. Love church – love fellowships – love preaching – love people – love soul-winning…
b. But yearn MORE for the calling and preparing of men to serve the Lord, and fight the good fight, and stand for Christ! Darkness is at the door ladies and gentlemen
c. That’s why we need to join together regularly in prayer and fasting for MEN
7. And then Send men and their families into the harvest (Romans 10:13-15)
a. Romans 10:13-15 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
b. Like the old times when you only had a few days to gather in all before the rains and storms would come and destroy them
c. THAT is coming, ladies and gentlemen!
d. We have so little time left!
e. Help me prepare men to work the fields, reaping souls – there are too few
f. And gentlemen, MAN-UP, and get into the harvest with me!
III. Application and Conclusion
A. Ireland Needs Men
1. Ireland has grown darker morally – late term abortions are happening, the murder rate, domestic violence rate, mental illness rates are sky-rocketing
2. Cults have increased – buildings are filled with people wanting prosperity, and powers, and happiness, and popularity
3. Atheism has increased – denial of all the evidences for an Almighty Designer and Creator
4. Do we really want to just sit here and do nothing against such darkness, when we have something so good, and so vital for the life of our nation?
5. I was an atheist until someone took the time to answer my questions!
6. But someone had to hear the call of the Holy Spirit and GO
B. This Church needs Men – to help me
C. Will anyone consider the call?
D. And will anyone ANSWER the call today?
1. Oh yes, it will be hard
2. Oh yes, you will lose everything
3. But the Holy Spirit is the One calling
4. And one soul is worth it all!
E. If you have not been born again yet, then YOU need to answer the call to repent and believe the Gospel that will save your soul!