On The Launching Pad by Jerry Vines

ON THE LAUNCHING PAD
Acts 13:1-4
Dr. Vines 10/12/86
It was a momentous hour in the history of American space travel when our
first space craft was moved to the launching pad. It was carefully placed in
its position. In a little while the engines were ignited and the first space
craft blasted into orbit. All subsequent space exploration goes back and owes
its success to that first initial successful launch. In a similar vein it was
a momentous hour in the history of the Christian church when the Spirit of God
said to the believers of the church of Antioch set apart Barnabas and Saul and
they were sent out as missionaries from the church of Antioch. This is what we
would call the launching of the foreign mission movement in the church of our
Lord. We are coming to the third and final division of the book of Acts. Do
you remember in the first chapter when the Lord said to the disciples that ye
shall be witnesses unto me. He said you are to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in
Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. The first seven
chapters primarily the emphasis has been upon Jerusalem. Witnessing for the
Lord did the disciples in the city and the area of Jerusalem. Then in chapters
8-12 we see the church expanding and they are now witnessing for Jesus in
Judea and Samaria. Now in chapter 13 the Lord says, and you will be witnesses
unto me unto the uttermost parts of the earth. So, beginning in chapter 13 we
have the missionary journeys of Paul which will result in the gospel of Jesus
Christ being planted in the capital of Rome and we see the gospel going to the
uttermost parts -- to the ends of the earth. What we find here is very, very
important. It is the launching of the foreign mission movement. It lays down
the basic principles and the guidelines that all churches are to follow in
taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. We believe we have
a mandate from Jesus Christ. Our gospel of Christ has been given to us as a
sacred deposit. This deposit is to be shared not only with our family, not
2
only with those around us, but the Bible teaches that the gospel is to be
shared to every person in the whole wide world. We have a tremendous
responsibility. We need to learn how the foreign missionary movement is
launched, and to see the basic principles of missionary activity which are in
force in this day.
Notice, first of all, the church of God. The mission movement begins
with the Church of God. We are told in verse 1 that there were in the church
that was at Antioch. We are aware here of a shift of emphasis. We have seen in
the earlier chapters that Simon Peter was primarily the central figure. At
this point in time, Paul becomes the central figure. Jerusalem was the primary
focus of activity, the base of operation in the early chapters. Now, Antioch
becomes the primary center of occupation. Jerusalem was the mother church,
Antioch on the other hand was the missionary church. ...


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