Scripture: Acts 12:25-13:12
As we have studied the Book of Acts so far we have been learning more and more about the Holy Spirit. When Jesus, God the Son returned to heaven God the Father sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon the believers in Jerusalem and He empowered them to speak in different languages and praise God. As we have studied Acts we have seen how the Holy Spirit gave believers the power to be brave and teach the Good News about Jesus despite difficulties.
Our message today continues to talk about how the Holy Spirit is involved in the lives of followers of Jesus or as we learned in Acts 11:26 believers were first called Christians in Antioch.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Acts 12:25 to 13:12. Barnabas and Saul had taken gifts from the believers in Antioch to the believers in Jerusalem because the prophet Agabus said there was going to be a severe famine in the land.
After done with their tasks, Barnabas and Saul left Jerusalem and returned to Antioch. they joined the other Christians in a time of worship, prayer and fasting. What is fasting? Fasting is removing food from your life for a time so you can focus more clearly on God and what He wants you to do.At Antioch the Christians were praying and fasting because they wanted to know what God wanted them to do. Let’s read Acts 13:2– “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Holy Spirit speaks to the hearts of believers.
Let’s look at what we learn about the Holy Spirit from this verse. “The Holy Spirit said.” What does this show you about the Holy Spirit? He speaks. The Holy Spirit speaks to the hearts of believers. As we read God’s Word, pray and worship with other believers we learn to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice speaking to us.
God prepared a work for each believer to do
As God had a work for Barnabas and Saul to do, He has prepared a work for each believer to do. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus He prepares us and leads us to the work He created in advance for us to do.
The Holy Spirit would be the One who told them where to go. The Holy Spirit would be the One who tell us where to go and what to do in our lives.
Obeying God’s Plan and Sharing the Good News with others
What do you think Barnabas and Saul felt like as they set out on this missionary journey? Barnabas and Saul had been sent by the Holy Spirit to do the work God had planned for them. It must have been a time of excitement knowing they were obeying God’s plan for them.
Barnabas and Saul obeyed God’s plan and shared the Good News with other people.
From this story we saw a remarkable example of how the Holy Spirit works. Paul and Barnabas had no idea that they would be able to have a hearing before the governor of the island, Sergius. But that man, prompted by the Holy Spirit, though he was a pagan Roman, sent for Paul and Barnabas, and asked them to speak to him the words of truth. You can never anticipate how the Holy Spirit is going to work things out. But Paul and Barnabas came and began to preach to the governor.
What happened the next? God’s enemy Satan will do whatever he can to keep people from being saved. He knows the power of God’s Word and if people hear it they will be taken from his kingdom of darkness and sin and be rescued into God’s Kingdom of light and righteousness.Sergius had a man working for him named Bar-Jesus. He is a sorcerer and a false prophet. He is trying to keep Sergius from believing in Jesus.
Do not fear Satan as we have the power from the the Holy Spirit
Filled with the Holy Spirit Paul had wisdom to recognize what Bar-Jesus was up to. The Holy Spirit gave Paul the power to speak the following words: You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? Bar-Jesus immediately became blind.
As believers we do not have to fear Satan. We have God with us through the Holy Spirit. Satan is God’s enemy and if we allow God to control our lives we will be able to speak boldly and powerfully as Paul did when Bar-Jesus tried to stop God’s work.
As Sergius hears God’s word being taught by Paul and Barnabas and sees God’s power to blind Bar-Jesus he answers God’s call. Verse 12 said he believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
What a great story we hear today. Let us summarize the points we talked about:
•Holy Spirit speaks to the hearts of believers.
•God prepared a work for each believer to do
•Obeying God’s plan and sharing the Good News with others
•Do not fear Satan as we have the power from the the Holy Spirit
In a similar way God calls people today. His Holy Spirit speaks to the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls. Some of us have answered the call to be saved. When God calls us to be saved, He is not done talking with us. He wants to talk with us every day. We need to pick up our Bibles, open them and allow God to speak as we read. God has called each believer to a work He has planned. When we stay in a right relationship with God day after day we are in a place that when God clearly shows us what He wants us to do for His Kingdom we will hear Him and answer yes just as Paul and Barnabas did.
Let us Close in prayer – Dear heavenly father, thank you for sending holy spirit to dwell in us, speaking to us and leading us to do the work you plan for us. May we follow you and be your good disciples. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray.