I have been reading Acts since my last blog for Now is the Time. I have been dwelling on a few things and want to share them with you. I can’t say there is a theme or even three points but as an evangelist I believe that God brings forth revelation at an appointed time.“Now is the Time” to share these simple thoughts.
The testimony of Saul’s conversion on the road to Emmaus was supernatural, yet prior to this he was known for his fervent execution of the Law and persecution of people of the “Way”. The first time we hear of Saul is at the stoning of Stephen; the witnesses laying their garment at his feet (Acts 7:58) and his approval of Stephen’s death (Acts 8:1). Saul the persecutor, (Acts 8:3; 20:22) taught by Gamaliel, an eminent Pharisee and freeman of the city. His fervent persecution of followers of the Way (9:1-2), was tireless. Little did he know of the “Power” of the risen Christ. God had a plan to change this man, to supernaturally speak. God’s timing was perfect, for Saul the road to Emmaus was his time to experience the Grace of God, that unconditional forgiveness
Imagine God whispering to Ananias in Damascus, giving him all the details of where to go, who to ask for and what to do. I was thinking that Saul’s reputation could have influenced Ananias to be more like Jonah (Acts 9: 10-18). The difference was that Jesus had preached the Kingdom of God. That repentance was the way to have communion with God. Ananias was under a different covenant. Both Saul and Ananias heard the voice of God, one was rebuked the other encouraged. Later Saul would also be encouraged. God was doing a new thing in Saul’s life. His reputation could have stopped his ministry before it had started. Saul may have had a life changing experience but the disciples in Jerusalem didn’t know that (Acts 9:26)! God provided an advocate for Saul, Barnabus. For Saul, this was the turning point, his “Now is the Time” moment. Saul was encouraged by Barnabus, but it still took an attempt on his life by the Hellenists to convince the disciples (Acts 9:29). Nothing or no one will hold you back from what God is calling you to, this is your “Now is the Time”. Look around you, who has God placed close by to be your advocate?
In between the conversion/commissioning of Saul and the travels of Peter is a verse that speaks of peace, edification, fear, comfort and increase. The disciples had commissioned Saul, he spoke boldly and the Holy Spirit was free to be and to do. This is thought provoking, what can be learnt? Why was this verse in this position? Lord, what are you saying to the church today? Positive thoughts please... “Now is the time” to rise up, speak peace, edify the saints, walk in the fear of the Lord and allow the freedom of the Holy Spirit. Alleluia!
Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (Act 9:31)
I have recently been released from an evangelistic charity. It was a time of challenge, a time of questions, a time of sadness and a time of rejoicing. I was challenged by the circumstances that surrounded my release, I found myself questioning my gifting, my friendships, what was I to do? There was sadness at the timing but rejoicing in what was to come. As I read through Acts, I was encouraged by the testimony of Barnabus and Saul. They ministered togethe(Acts12:25, 13: 5) and were commissioned together (Acts 13:3). God’s perfect timing for them.
Two things struck me,
Firstly, Barnabus and Saul had equal standing (Acts 13:2) and were united when they were commissioned. Together they invited “John whose surname was Mark” to go with them (Acts 12:25). Later, John Mark left Saul and Barnabus and returned to Jerusalem. John Mark was not indispensible, neither was his ministry finished. For Barnabas and Silas this was their “Now is the Time” to move into a new season (Acts 15:22)
Secondly, there came a point when Saul and Barnabus separated. The word says “contention became so sharp” (Acts 15:39). Barnabus knew that God was a God of second chances, and more, I suggest that this is where his support of Saul and later John Mark (Acts 12:25; 15:37) came from. Saul was opposed to this, hence the division. I was encouraged to read that both
continued to evangelise the lost and equip the church (Acts 16:5), fulfilling the great commission:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Mat 28:18-20
“Now is the Time” to release the Holy Spirit to be your enabler, “Now is the Time” for you to find your Barnabus, “Now is the Time” for your to edify, equip and empower the saints, “Now is the Time” to take the Gospel to the Saul’s of your generation.
Tina Russell-Mott ( @AgapeTina )