The early church was growing and thriving even under persecution because of many reasons including: daily prayer, daily communion, fasting and giving. Another secret to their power was the five-fold ministry was being recognized and operational in the early church (apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists as described in Eph 4:11). For those who like to research, Simeon is a great man to research. Most scholars believe he was the same as Simon who helped Jesus carry his cross and then his two sons became very instrumental in the early church. Each one of these men listed had great influence in the early church but came from different backgrounds growing up. God wants to use everyone in His Kingdom, there is so much work to be done and a harvest to be brought in.
2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them." 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.
I love the fact that the early church was built on Jesus, and not all the things that people are building a crowd on today during Sunday services. I’m afraid we have gotten away from what church should be about and how His Kingdom should be built. We have just read that as they were praying, fasting and worshipping the Lord, the Holy Spirit (our helper) gave them direction. Even after they heard from the Holy Spirit they prayed and fasted even more before they ordained Saul and Barnabas to go out as missionaries. We are ALL called into ministry and should be doing the work of the ministry to everyone we meet but this was about sending men into full time ministry as missionaries across the known world. Friend, when you step out like this, make sure you have a true call of God on your life. Too many feel a call, which we all have and think it’s a full time ministry, but you must have a Word from the Lord that comes through fasting and prayer or when the storm hits you will have no foundation to stand on.
I remember when the Holy Spirit called us to The Bridge. It was confirmed by men of God in prophesy which gave us a foundation to stand on when all hell broke loose. Because of that Word from the Lord we were able to stand strong in the storm and to God be the glory for all that has happened since.
4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. 5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.
Once again notice the wording; they were sent out by the Holy Spirit who is the guide of the church (Body of Christ) today, who is preparing the Church (Body of Christ) for the soon return of Jesus.
6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing. 9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, "You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time." Instantly mist and darkness came over the man's eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him. 12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.
We are all called and anointed but you are anointed for the purpose which Father God has ordained. Always stay in the boundary of your created purpose. They were anointed to handle what the enemy would use to stop them, in this case a false prophet and a sorcerer (both bad news). When you are anointed and appointed there is no power of hell that can stop you as long as you remain hungry for more of the Presence of the Lord and humble in the Lord’s sight. We are too dependent on our strength and ability but we must learn to be totally dependent on the Lord and know that through obedience the victory comes.
Prayer Points: 1. Ask the Holy Spirit to confirm the calling He has upon your life and then begin to spend even more time in the Father’s presence waiting for further direction. He is God and He will show us all things.