Preached by Apostle Aje Pelser, Harvester Reformational Church, Cape Town, 9th December 2018.
Acts 11:19-26 – Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
In the Book of Acts, there were new believers added to the Lord and the apostles decided to send Barnabas to encourage the new believers and impart apostolic grace to them to continue. In this account we see some attributes of Sent Ones that we can apply today to grow the church.
1. First of All Barnabas was a sacrificial giver:
Acts 4:32-37 – Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
2. The sent one’s mission was prompted by Good news of what God was doing in Antioch.
3. He was sent by the Apostles in Jerusalem – he understood the value of being sent, versus ‘went’ out of personal ambition.
4. A sent one rejoices when he discovers God’s grace in others. Deep calls unto deep. We have seen the grace of God work in people from every nation in the world. When the graces combine we call it a divine connection in the spirit. Sent ones are tuned into opportunities for divine connections because when this happens there is a spark and a flow of anointing that builds the church. IN this case, even more believers were added to the church in Antioch.
5. Sent ones strengthen purpose of heart to continue in the work.
6. Sent ones exhibit the fruit of goodness. Galatians 5:23.
7. Sent ones are full of faith and the Holy Spirit. In fact they ate controlled by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the Spirit are called sons of God. Romans 8:14.
8. Sent ones cause people to be added to the Lord.
Acts 2:42-47 – And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
9. Sent ones seek out those with potential for the kingdom – Barnabas went off to tarsus for the purpose of ‘hunting up’ Saul as the one translation explains. When he found him, he brought to Antioch.
10. Sent Ones cause gathering together of the assembly.
11. From this gathering there arises teaching for a time – in this case a year. Giving a year to the Lord in Bible College sets the course and purpose of your life. It changes the point of departure for every action and decision you will make, because you have now decided to seek the Kingdom of God first, and His righteousness, His right way of doing things. Then all the other things you need will be added to your life – or your will then have the capacity to handle the next phases and provision that God will give you wisely.
12. The value of the sent one, is that the church is given an identity in the community. I remember the first time we sent Apostle Andre to India and he gave the Pastors Ordination certificates, how they danced with them and shouted, “Now we have an identity.” In nations where Christianity is a persecuted minority, the relations with Harvester International Ministries helped their community to see that they were a legitimate faith with contacts elsewhere. It changed their life. The term Christian means: ‘little Christ’ and was at first a mocking name, and it stuck and became what we are called today. People see Christ in you the hope of glory!
Sent ones are necessary to stir up the Body of Christ to good works, to empower them with the anointing of the Holy Spirit to live out the purpose of the Church, setting an example to the community of citizens full of goodness, faith and the Holy Spirit. Sent ones are not scared to hunt down those with potential and bring them into the fold where they are accepted and can develop their gifts to grow the church.
We are sent ones!