Did God Set Me Up?

  1. Message: In Acts 13 the church is fasting and praying and the Holy Spirit tells them to send out Paul & Barnabas on mission. They go exactly where the Holy Spirit leads them and are invited to speak in a synagogue. The leaders and the people received the message well and wanted to hear more the following week, but when the entire town gathered to hear it they are not happy. Once again jealousy rose up, so instead of receiving the message the Jews stirred up persecution against them. Paul and Barnabas told them it was necessary for them to bring the gospel to them first, but since they rejected it, they would turn to the gentiles instead because this is what the Lord commanded.
  2. Command: Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us to do things that appear unsuccessful or unfruitful, but we have to obey without regret and remember that God has plans that we can’t see.
  3. Promise: God’s plans are not unfruitful. Everything he tells us to do has purpose even when we can’t see it.
  4. Warning: If we focus too much on what appears to have been unfruitful or unsuccessful, we will be tempted to hold back our obedience the next time. Paul shook the dust off and continued forward.
  5. Application: I have questioned my direction so many times when I have done things that I believed God was asking me to do, and then found myself in the middle of what appeared to be failure. In this case there was no question that the Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas. When it went awry, they could have walked away feeling set-up, but they didn’t. They became even more bold, shook off the dust and continued forward because they knew God called them there and that result was exactly what God was expecting. This challenges me to stop measuring my obedience by perceived success or failure. God allows certain things to seemingly fail in order to launch other things that are supposed to succeed. He also allows people to hear truth even if they reject it initially, knowing that later on they might look back and remember what they saw and heard. We can’t possibly determine the success or failure based on the initial response. Our job is to deliver the message, the Holy Spirit will work on the hearts. We are not responsible for the outcome. We are responsible for our obedience.

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