Thursday, January 15, 2009
Spiritual Warfare and Missions
Prayer: Lord please reveal to my heart your desire for my life. I want to obey and serve You, and I know part of that obedience involves praying for those who plant churches and do mission work at home and abroad. And Lord, send me where You want me to go, that I might fulfill Your perfect will in my life. In Jesus Name, AMEN. Please read Acts 13:1-12. A missionary in China had been showing the people the foolishness of idols, and was preaching salvation through the Lord Jesus to them. One old man said "Stop and tell us, for we cannot find the door." Paul said "How shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent." At the time of the writing of the above passage Antioch had become the center of operation. Paul is the central figure. Note the call of Paul and Barnabas for the work of the gospel. First is was a divine call. The call came from the Holy Spirit. He chooses spiritual Believers. Paul and Barnabas were ministering unto the Lord. This would include prayer, exhortation and fasting. Fasting was not practiced by the disciples while the Bridegroom was with them. But fasting abounded when He was taken away into heaven. Paul was well prepared for mission work (Galatians 1:18; Acts 11:23-26). Second, it was a personal call. Barnabas was older than Saul. This was not an occasion for envy or jealousy but rejoicing. I have seen the Lord call men and women at all ages. I was the moderator at an ordination for a man who was 60 years old. That was 25 years ago and he is still preaching the Gospel and he grows more excited about the Lord's work as he ages. I also know a 21 year old man who planted a church that is thriving today. Age is not an issue when God calls. Third, it was a call to separation. "Separate me." The Holy uses those who are separated from the world and entirely yielded unto God. Those who remained in Antioch were likewise separated unto the Holy Spirit. God has His place for each of us to serve. A central purpose in the Kingdom of God is the multiplication and growth of Christian churches and we know that prayer is a chief instrument for releasing God's purpose into reality. Paul's desired prayer partners. He said "Brethren, pray for us." (Note I Thess. 5:25; Romans 15:30). Forth, it was a call to work. "For the work where unto I have called them." God never calls us to ease and idleness but to be workers with Him. Everyone Jesus called to be His disciple was doing something. Matthew was collecting taxes, Paul was killing Christians, Peter was fishing. Fifth, it was a call which met the approval of the brethren. The congregation sent them away after fasting and prayer. We as a local church need to recognize and sent forth those who have been called by the Holy Spirit. As normally happens they received immediate opposition from Satan. Sixth, it was a call, followed by mighty deeds. A good indication of God's call is when a demonstration of God's power is evidenced. The Holy Spirit over came the sorcerer. The sorcerer's blindness was only for a season. The conversion of the deputy, Sergius Paulus, came through the power of the Gospel. He was set free from the Sorcerer's influence and brought into the Kingdom of God. Here are five reasons Missionaries need intercession: 1. Missionaries have greater responsibility and accountability (James 3:1). 2. Missionaries are more subject to temptation. They are high on Satan's hit list. 3. Missionaries are more targeted by spiritual warfare. They often minister to a highly demonized culture. 4. Missionaries have more influence on others. 5. Missionaries have more visibility. They may be the only "Jesus Christ" a city or village will ever know. Are you praying daily for the Missionaries God has placed in your life? How you ever asked the Lord if He would be please to send you to another field? He loves to answer prayer.