by Christina Farris
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 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.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation ) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. To be called to a work of God is to be separated from other believers at times. If we look at our church as being our family, because of the believers within the church, then we have to ask why would we need to be separated from them. One thing a believer must learn in ministry is to rely on the Holy Spirit even in times of separation. Any separation is of God for a particular reason. Sometimes it is for his work to be done through a set number of people. These people are often called missionaries in our world today. Yet people have separated for many reason from the church, some in discord and some in anger, but to speak of it in a joyous way would be to do the work of God. Jesus sent his people two by two and the tradition still continued in the church world.
Paul and Barabas in their journey found in paphos a false prophet named Barjesus(Elymas)who was a jew, a sorcer and a false prophet. Saul/Paul as he known, did not cast a demon out of this man, but instead he obeyed the Lord and said the word of the Lord that this man would be blind for a season. He went about seeking someone to lead him. With this came faith of a deputy(ruler of roman government). With this God allow Saul and Barnabas to minister to the gentile nation.
We want to believe that when a missionary goes out only healing, and good things occur with the power of Jesus name and so forth, but it obvious in the case of Barjesus it sounds more like the time period of the wilderness, where false prophets in general were destroyed, but in this case God only made him blind for a season. God has not changed how he deals with false leaders in his temples, or in the city streets. He takes and binds them from causing discord so his message can be heard and believed.
In the bottom passage in the continual scripture study we see Jacob receiving payment from Laban, who understood he was blessed by God because of Jacob. Yet now Jacob had requested him to allow him to go home, and before he does Laban is going to give Jacob a payment for his labor. Jacob begins to separate the weak from the strong from the herd of cows, and flocks of sheep and goats based on their coats. Jacob would need a strong herd for traveling and not weakling. He began to feed them a particular type of branch to the ones that were speckled. The mix bred meant stronger cows, sheeps and goats. Soon Jacob would leave his father in law, because he had a strong herd.
The church needed by the weaklings in faith, those need milk and strong meat to eat to grow and to mature in faith. The strong in faith need to be separated to produce more growth in the spiritual church. Time of separation can be positive because it means more church growth, and separation can be negative experience if only new to faith are trying to do the work of the strong alone. God the same God from Old Testament to New Testament, he often takes the weak and makes them strong. Strength of faith is not always knowledge. It about trusting God to provide and to give words one needs to speak. Saul background of faith in Judaism probably help him in his walk of faith in Christ. He was not young in faith only young in Christ. How I know he was young he was still being called Saul and not all the time Paul. It important to note that Saul name was changed for a purpose to protect him in his travels for he had once persecuted the church that he now worked for, meaning Christ's church. Paul and Barnabas would spend most of their career traveling as far as we know, but they would be refreshed by the fellowship of the church world.
Just because one is outside a church does not make them not a believer in Christ, separation for strength to go forward in ministry to the people outside the church. If you ever spend time in a church you will understand why God sometimes moves people in and out of the church. If you leave yourself you know why as well, it not always because of disagreement. Jacob soon departure was suppose be of discord, but discord would happen when he leaves without saying good by with the best herd. Yet that not posted here,
If we want a strong group of Christians to do the work of the Lord one needs strong people of faith and knowledge of the word of God. God can use anyone to be his witness, but if we want someone strong in faith for teaching, preaching, praying and witnessing, we need strong warriors of faith versed in knowledge of the word, the things of God and personal testimony of faith. Testimony alone will include one's own faith but it does not teach another about faith before the evidence or proof of the work of God in one's life. Paul would go about teaching the gentiles about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit after the evidence and witness of faith came about with the curse that was on Barjesus life for a season. No doubt it was enough to set a fear in the deputy and then the people. The doctrine of the men of God astonished him. Yet it would cause Paul to continue in his travels as well to spread the Gospel of Jesus.
Another purpose of miracles of faith is to increase the strength of faith in a person's life. Yet it never the only thing that strength faith, there must be strong doctrine too. One can not go forth without strength of the Lord by two's or small group of people. You need knowledge and wisdom of God to go with you. There is a singer right now his goaled is to have worship in as many cities as he can across our nation. His background a minister child. He more of a praise and worship guy, then a preacher of doctrine. Most would consider him a type of evangelist, but the problem still stems they need the churches to back this man and bring those sheep he fostering in to learn the word of truth and knowledge of God's word. I can not remember his name, but I thought how often evangelist can fill a church but seldom can keep it that way, because they do not have a call to teach stronger things of faith or meat and milk of the word together. It makes it easy for the wolves to steal the sheep, unless a strong minister comes in to do that work, the evangelist can not on his own.
Jacob can been seen as a wolf, because as he took payment from Laban he cared nothing about the herds and flocks of Laban, only what he would take from him. The evanglist enters a town preaches and gathers, but unless good preachers, teachers know how to use this talent, many sheep are running around with no solid food. It also leaves a group of weak sheep who will follow any doctrine and the evangelist is like a wolf because he cares nothing for the sheep left behind unless he gathers church leaders into the work he is doing. It not enough to set up a worship time, you need teachers to help those coming to Christ. Our land is cover in believers and unbelievers that need to be taught the ways of God and not just the element of just belief in Christ. God calling his people to teach, preach and pray outside the church through this pandemic, and time of church crisis in our land. Do not use this time we have as wasted of retreat, but use it how to multiply the church of good Bible believing folks. What a lesson Jacob was leaving behind for Laban. What a lesson during this pandemic God is giving his people about the strength of faith in the church world. Those that will remain are the people of faith and those that leave are weak ones, the ones the wolves try and claim.
Dear Heavenly Father, you desire strong people of faith not just the simple one night conversion of faith, but people that learn to trust in you and to do the work of the Gospel and not just be a pew sitter or running around wild like wild horses. All marked by your Spirit, and taught by Spirit but not all with the knowledge of your word. Teach I pray Lord your word to those of faith in you, teach them by your Spirit through the tools provide online, offline, through books of knowledge and simply reading your word. In Jesus precious name, Amen.
Continual Scripture Study:Genesis 30:25-43 KJV
25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.
29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.
30 For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?
31 And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock:
32 I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.
33 So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.
34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
35 And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
36 And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.
39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.
41 And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.
42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.