Why plant churches? The answer seems obvious to some, yet eludes others. (And related questions in response: Aren’t there ‘enough’ churches already? Shouldn’t we just send our money oversees where people need the Gospel more and have greater earthly needs?)
Why do we want to be part of a church-planting network today, and why did the early Apostles plant churches in the first place?
In Acts 13 the Spirit spoke to leaders who were busy worshiping and serving Him. God chose the very best among those serving in the local church to go and make disciples of all the nations. Barnabas and Paul then went on the world’s first mission trip!
What proves from this was that deliberate worship (a single-minded focus on praising God) goes hand-in-hand with a practical method for making disciples and thus planting churches. These are godly ambitions, a work worthy of our time, energy, and resources. Somehow God blesses human creativity when He gets the glory, and Jesus our only Senior Pastor gets to lead His church(es).
Let’s be clear: we are not spreading our name or our brand. Let us embrace and embody the Gospel, preach it well, die and be forgotten so the Name of Jesus will be remembered, and He will prove to be the Hero of this Story God keeps writing.
For our sake He came and gave it all; for the sake of the whole world we shall go and give our whole lives. Jesus created a new people to play an important role in God’s Epic Story.
There is no audio for this sermon.
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Barnabas and Saul Sent Off
13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[a] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 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.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “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? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.