"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Separated and Called

Bobservations Column:
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In our reading today, we learn of more gifts of the Holy Spirit, beyond what are listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Ephesians 4:11-12 says “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

As with other gifts of the Spirit, the gifts each have their own role within the Body of Christ. And just as 1 Corinthians states, the Holy Spirit gives gifts to people severally as He sees fit, according to His purposes.

We see this in our study today within the Church of Antioch. the Church leadership is identified by names, and then we read that the Holy Spirit speaks to them and Paul and Barnabas are separated out to a specific work of God’s choosing. If Galatians 2 identifies James, Peter, and John as the “Pillars of the Church” at Jerusalem, then clearly those named are the leaders of Antioch. They were men of varied backgrounds, and social strata, but all were of one mind in Christ. They ministered to the Lord and fasted, and the Holy Spirit used them to launch Paul and Barnabas into a life of spreading the Gospel.

Each of Antioch’s Leaders were themselves aware of what happens when you go out and spread the Gospel; all were part of Antioch’s Spiritual awakening, and church growth. Willingly, they went out and started a church, and once established, God sent one of their own out with Saul (Paul) to take the Good News even further than they had, to the ends of the Earth.

Paul and Barnabas were filled with the Spirit, and surely the Spirit gave each of them multiple Spiritual Gifts, to accomplish their mission. And if we want to be used by God? 1 Corinthians 12:31 says, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. “ This “more excellent way” Paul mentions is apparently another of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: the Gift of Agape’. It is not a love that comes naturally, neither can it be feigned. It is God’s love for us that we are called to share with the world: from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth. 

“ And now abideth faith, hope, and (agape’), these three; but the greatest of these is (agape’). "

~ 1Corinthians 13:13

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