Saturday, October 4, 2014

Entrusted to grace

I am striving to make blog posts every other day, but it does not always happen.  Praise the Lord that His grace covers my failings!  My prayer is that His word will continue to bless the lives of those who are reading this blog, and that the readers will be patient with my shortcomings.   

But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord.  Acts 15:40 (NRSV).

A bit of background information is needed to understand what is happening in this verse.  The apostles in Jerusalem sent Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas to the Christian brothers in Antioch with a letter concerning how gentile Christians were to conduct themselves regarding the law of Moses and circumcision.  Paul and Barnabas remained with the Antioch Christians, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord.  After a time, Paul and Barnabas decided to take a trip and revisit the cities where churches had already been planted to see how they were doing.  Barnabas wants to take his nephew, Mark, with them, but Paul does not want to take him.  Barnabas and Paul decide to go on separate journeys; Barnabas takes Mark with him, and Paul takes Silas. 
For modern Christians, the above verse reminds us of our mission as a church today.  It is so wonderful to experience church growth resulting from church leaders who are on fire for the LORD just as Barnabas, Paul and Silas were. But the true mission of the church is not growth, but to make disciples of all nations.  It would have been so easy for the brothers in Antioch to advise Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Mark to stay in Antioch and encourage all of the believers there. They needed encouragement just as much as any other church.  But instead, the believers took a very big step of faith and commended (entrusted) Paul and Silas to grace.  The Antioch believers allowed grace to govern their beloved leaders. By allowing grace to govern their leaders, the Antioch believers allowed grace to govern themselves as well. We will do well to remember that relying on grace to govern the lives of our loved ones means that first we must rely on grace to govern our own lives.