“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
The maturity of a child of God is marked by the realization that we are here for His pleasure, not the other way around.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure, they are and were created.”
The chief aim for a heart rightly related to Him is a singleness of purpose to please, honor, and glorify Him. Too many today are like the ten lepers who benefit from His healing and salvation with little or no thought of offering their lives back unto Him in gratitude. They receive the earnest of His Salvation, they hold fast to His promises FOR themselves, but offer little of themselves in return.
We read in Acts 13 that the people of God at Antioch “ministered unto the Lord”. They gathered unto Him. Their purpose in meeting was not to have a nice worship service or to hear a good sermon; they were fixed upon bringing joy and honor to Him. From this powerful interaction the Lord Himself speaks:
“Separate me, Barnabas and Saul…”
It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to draw and to separate men and women unto the great work of His purposes. As long as our meetings, our times of fellowship, and our interactions are about us we will not see the intervention of the Lord in our midst. In the early Church, God would manifest Himself for their hearts were fixed on Him with no other agenda.
May God bring us to the truth and purpose of His Salvation. It is not about us. it is about us being redeemed from our self-life and our neglect of His salvation. His gifts and His callings are not ours to do with as we please, but to make Him known and worshipped. We often hear the words “My church”, “My ministry”, and “My right” spoken as though we can do with His undeserved gifts as we see fit. But we must remember that we are going to give an account to Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ! There is no greater abomination than to take the Holy things of God unto ourselves.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
The world cannot misuse this glorious name for it cannot take what has not been given to them. This commandment is FOR HIS PEOPLE. For anyone to take His name and use it for their own selfish purposes is a flagrant violation of the first commandment.
The Hebrew word used for vain means the following:
שָׁוְא – šāw’: “A masculine noun meaning emptiness, vanity, evil, ruin, uselessness, deception, worthless, without result, fraud, deceit. The primary meaning of the word is deceit, lie, or falsehood. God used the word to indicate that He punished Judah in vain. The word is used by the psalmist to state that all activities such as laboring, guarding, rising early, staying up late, and toiling for food were useless without God’s assistance.”
Only God’s people can use this name deceitfully and fraudulently and there will be great recompense on the Day of Judgment.
“they ministered unto the Lord!”
How desperately we need Him to interject His presence into our gatherings unto Him. How we need the anointed ministry of God to be sent from the Church; not from some bible school, but from our local assembly! The men sent forth in Acts 13 would not meet the “qualifications” of most churches today. They would not measure up to their doctrinal “statements of faith” for they walked in the power and the wonder of God’s anointing and Life.
Stephen was a deacon of the early church. God’s estimation of a deacon was vastly different from what we consider to be a deacon in our day!
The Church is to exist for Him. She, the Bride, lives for Him. She prepares herself for His return (“prepared as a bride adorned FOR her husband”, Rev. 21:2). Note the words “adorned for her husband”. Her heart is set on Him, not on herself. The love which burns in her heart is for Him alone; she has no other loves or desires. She is not interested in bigger buildings, more celebrity status, or more approval from others. She lives to honor Him.
“As they ministered to the Lord,
and fasted, the Holy Ghost said…”
The Holy Spirit is present where His people are one and harmonized in the pure desire to minister unto Him. When men seek preeminence or meet with ulterior motives God hides Himself from this glorious manifestation.
“…unto HIM shall the gathering
of the people be”
SEE: Devotion and Worship