5 day plan

Our Unity, God's favour

Day 1 of 5

Acts 13:1-3

Preparing for the Mission Field

1Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2As 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.” 3Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.

Reflection: Is unity important to God?

The answer is a resounding YES. God puts people together specifically to expand God’s Kingdom for his glory. In this passage, Luke writes of the team of prophets and teachers gathered at the church at Antioch. As they prayed, the Holy Spirit directed them to set apart Barnabas and Saul. Out of the larger group, God intervened to select two people. Why? To do the work to which God had called them. This is the model we continue to use. We meet with fellow Christians to pray, worship and occasionally fast. We are united by our love for the Heavenly Father. Right now, caring for the people closest to us, be it work colleagues, friends, church members or family, is paramount.

How can I ensure that as a team member and as an individual I am ready to hear the Holy Spirit’s urging no matter the circumstances? The teachers and prophets gathered at Antioch were disciplined. We also need to ensure we are healthy within ourselves so we can confidently respond to God’s call.

Prayer: Creator God, in this new time of ‘social distancing’ and self- isolation, how we work with each other and care for each other is somehow more important. Thank you that you have called me to specific work, whether paid or unpaid. Help me to honour those who I work alongside at my workplace, in my church and at home. Help me too, to care for those who have lost their jobs due to the closure of so many businesses.
In Christ’s name, Amen.

Days

Acts 13:1-52

Preparing for the Mission Field

1Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2As 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.” 3Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.

The Mission to Cyprus

4So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5Arriving in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They also had John as their assistant. 6When they had traveled the whole island as far as Paphos, they came across a sorcerer, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (that is the meaning of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith.

9But Saul — also called Paul — filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at Elymas 10and said, “You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery, you son of the devil and enemy of all that is right. Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord? 11Now, look, the Lord’s hand is against you. You are going to be blind, and will not see the sun for a time.” Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

12Then, when he saw what happened, the proconsul believed, because he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Paul’s Sermon in Antioch of Pisidia

13Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia, but John left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They continued their journey from Perga and reached Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, you can speak.”

16Paul stood up and motioned with his hand and said, “Fellow Israelites, and you who fear God, listen! 17The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors, made the people prosper during their stay in the land of Egypt, and led them out of it with a mighty arm. 18And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness; 19and after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20This all took about 450 years. After this, he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22After removing him, he raised up David as their king and testified about him, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my will.’

23“From this man’s descendants, as he promised, God brought to Israel the Savior, Jesus. 24Before his coming to public attention, John had previously proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25Now as John was completing his mission, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one. But one is coming after me, and I am not worthy to untie the sandals on his feet.’

26“Brothers and sisters, children of Abraham’s race, and those among you who fear God, it is to us that the word of this salvation has been sent. 27Since the residents of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize him or the sayings of the prophets that are read every Sabbath, they have fulfilled their words by condemning him. 28Though they found no grounds for the death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him killed. 29When they had carried out all that had been written about him, they took him down from the tree and put him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and he appeared for many days to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32And we ourselves proclaim to you the good news of the promise that was made to our ancestors. 33God has fulfilled this for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm:

You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.

34As to his raising him from the dead, never to return to decay, he has spoken in this way, I will give you the holy and sure promises of David. 35Therefore he also says in another passage, You will not let your Holy One see decay. 36For David, after serving God’s purpose in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed, 37but the one God raised up did not decay. 38Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers and sisters, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you. 39Everyone who believes is justified through him from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses. 40So beware that what is said in the prophets does not happen to you:

41Look, you scoffers,

marvel and vanish away,

because I am doing a work in your days,

a work that you will never believe,

even if someone were to explain it to you.

Paul and Barnabas in Antioch

42As they were leaving, the people urged them to speak about these matters the following Sabbath. 43After the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and urging them to continue in the grace of God.

44The following Sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what Paul was saying, insulting him.

46Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

I have made you

a light for the Gentiles

to bring salvation

to the ends of the earth.

48When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and honored the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. 51But Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.