Earlier in our biographical study of Paul’s life I suggested another outline from the one we’ve been using. All we’ve studied thus far could be placed under the first point of the alternative outline, his preparation for ministry.
Though we have considered some of his forays into ministry, his real work began when Barnabas and Paul were sent out by the church in Antioch on what now is known as his first missionary journey. This would be the second point in the alternate outline: his launch into ministry. A lot of time was spent bringing Paul to where he was ready to push out into virgin territory and plant new churches. Barnabas and Paul were engaged in active ministry in Antioch when one day the leaders were worshiping and fasting. The Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
This became the formal launch of Paul’s ministry. They first went to the island of Cyprus where Barnabas grew up. Paul was recognized as the leader almost immediately and from then on led the charge into new unreached regions. It was tough, but they pressed on planting churches in a number of cities. Though fruitful, they experienced persecution and hardships. Returning to Antioch they reported, “Mission accomplished.” The foundation was laid but much work lay before them.
After participating in the first church council in Jerusalem they were ready for a second missionary journey, or were they? Find the answer in Acts 15:36-41.
“How ready are you to do what God has in mind for you?