MacArthur: Acts 13 (Pt. 2)

Set ’em Apart, Turn ’em Loose! Outline notes are below.


I. The church going about its business (vs. 2).

A.    Ministering to the Lord. Greek leitourgeo (li-toorg-eh’-o), official duties at one’s own expense.

1.     Prayer.

2.     Worship.

3.     Serving the less fortunate is also a possibility.

(a)  If you have done it to the least of these… (Matthew 25).

(b)  The church developed a sense of responsibility to the needy.

(c)  Mother Theresa called poverty, “Jesus in his distressing disguise.”

4.     Ministering can mean waiting for the Lord to speak.

(a)  Waiting means available for action.

® Illus: a servant doing nothing but staning at the ready can be said to be ministering to the master. Fire fighters playing solitaire down at the station are doing their job. They are ready to go when called.

(b)  Sometimes Father is inviting us to rest in preparation for work.

B.    Fasting can be a tool for hearing the Lord (waiting for the Lord to direct).

1.     Setting aside the concerns of the world.

2.     Heightens spiritual sensitivity. (May take a couple of days!)

II. The church receives her orders.

A.    The Holy Spirit sets the direction.

1.     Probably not the “audible voice.”

2.     Not from a single source, ie. Agabus in Acts 11.

3.     Probably corporate conviction, where the body has a collective affirmation.

(a)  Different than a democratic vote.

(b)  Sometimes it’s a “coincidental” idea.

(c)  A near unanimous sense of the rightness of a course of action.

(d)  Example: Acts 15 .7; 22;25;28.

B.    The nature of Spiritual direction often extends only to the first step.

1.     Repeats of the pattern of Acts 6, “select from among you…seven men…”

2.     Here, the Spirit says, “set apart for me Barnabas and Saul…”

3.     Note that the direction doesn’t go beyond the “setting apart.”

4.     The response also parallels the pattern of Acts 6.

(a)  They put the persons forward for public recognition.

(b)  They lay hands on them and pray.

C.    Their “step two” appears to have been made by “common sense” (vs. 4).

1.     Starting by the Lord’s direction, they assume His continued direction.

2.     Going to Cyprus seems a logical move.

(a)  Barnabas was from Cyprus.

(b)  Founders of the Antioch church from Cyrene and Cyprus (Acts 11.20).

® Leading by the Spirit needn’t feel supernatural or paranormal. Often the Lord is setting up circumstances in advance so that what seems like common sense is actually what some call God’s “prevenience.”

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