Do you mind if I ask some questions?
Reading my Bible this morning, my thoughts seemed to lock in on Barnabas, the Infant Body of Christ, the significance and value of relationships in the Body, and how all that affects our present day Body.
How do we compare with our “Baby Pictures”?
So, if you don’t mind, I’ll ask some questions after I share a few scriptures that started my thoughts on this spiritual journey. My questions are not intended to be critical of anyone or any organization, past or present. I am only trying to wrap my mind and heart around that which the Lord is telling me. So here goes.
Remember, I’m just asking.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” – 1 Tim 4:1 NKJV
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:” 2 Tim 3:1 NKJV
“Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 11:19-30 NKJV
“And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.” Acts 12:25 NKJV
“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said,”Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.” Acts 13:1-5 NKJV
“in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Rom 15:19 NKJV
I notice several things from the above scriptures.
1. Paul writes of perilous, hard to deal with, pressurized times to come. They may be far away, or we may have already stepped into them. Either way, the time will come.
2. Even when the Church, the Body of Christ, was a “newborn”, it was still a Body. Parts joined together, each part supplying what other parts needed (1 Corinthians 12). It didn’t have to wait until it was an adult body to effectively minister as one unit. Sure, there were growing pains, lack of maturity at times, but still a body. A body that turned its world upside down.
3. The body was flexible enough to quickly and easily go through “open doors” of opportunity.
4. There was such unity in the infant body, the Jerusalem body sent Barnabas to Antioch to help the new believers become established. There is no mention of the apostles “verifying” the “planters” credentials or experience.
5. Barnabas sensed the Spirit’s leading to go find Paul, and bring him to Antioch to help with the ministry.
6. Ministry Teams developed and were sent, commissioned by Holy Spirit filled leaders.
7. The Gospel was preached to the whole world as God worked through the “Baby Church.”It seems to me that though the church was an infant, all the little parts, baby parts, worked as one. Imagine what a MATURE BODY could do!
Okay, now my questions.
1. Does today’s church have the unity to work together?
2. Is there ONE focus?
3. WHEN perilous times are in a full roar, does the church have the strength of its relationships to carry on?
4. IS the primary means of ministry based on established, proven relationships?
I’m just asking.
5. Does the church have the flexibility and speed necessary to go through an open door as quickly as it opens? Or must there be a whole list of requirements completed before taking a step?
6. How much of their giving went to actually promote the gospel, take care of the body, and minister to the community?
7. How many “ministers” were “professionals”?
8. Which organization was the “credentialing body” for those who were scattered as a result of persecution?
I’m only asking.
9. Should we be satisfied with how things are?
10. How many parts of the body are supplying what the other parts need?
11. How can churches justify spending millions of dollars on buildings, land, and salaries?
12. What is a “successful church”?
Yep, still only asking.
13. What does “fully preached” mean?
14. Do leaders have trust in other leaders to pray together, hear the Holy Spirit speak together, respond as one to the Spirit’s leading, and jointly promote the new ministry (and support it)?
15. Why does it take so long to “send people” to the “field”?
16. Could “sent them away” have a double meaning? Such as, “they bought them a boat ticket…”?
Only 5 more questions.
17. What if a prophet came to our churches with a word from God saying, “This is going to happen, so please receive an offering for other parts of the Body”? How would we respond?
18. Is our faith in God or our building fund/savings account?
19. Can we recognize, discern, the actual voice of the Spirit of God?
20. What drives our “ministry efforts”?
21. How much influence and impact are we having on our society? How much should we have?
Okay, I’m finished.
May the Lord help us answer these questions as we wait on Him.