Calvary Road Baptist Church



A sermon preached by Dr. Samuel Rai at Calvary Road Baptist Church, Sunday evening, April 24, 2016


In this study we shall look at Acts 13: 1-13, where we are given a seven­ fold picture of the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church, the body of Christ (Ephesians 1: 22-23).

The Book of Acts is rightly ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit’; that is, His activity in and through the church. In the four Gospels we see Him operating through the perfect human body of the Lord Jesus. In Acts, however, we see Him working through the mystical body of Christ the church. In the Gospels we have the record of ‘all that Jesus began both to do and teach’ (Acts 1:1) during the three years of His public ministry; but the book of Acts records all that He continued to do from the throne, by the Holy spirit, through the church.



1.   Act of the Holy Spirit is to initiate or form the church.

Notice the words in verse 1 – ‘The church that was at Antioch’ How did the church begin? When we speak of the church we mean that invisible organism consisting of all truly born again believers. The Holy Spirit forms the Church (Acts 15:14-15); but what is true of the church, that is, a local assembly of Christians. Whether in Antioch of anywhere else, the initiation of the Church or a church is not the work of man but of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 11:19-21 we see how the church at Antioch started: the ‘Word of God’ was preached, and as people heard it the Holy Spirit worked. Those who believed were born again, and at once there was a church - Matt. 18:20. The church is not a religious meeting but a company of born-again believers. Do you belong to such a company?

2.   Act of the Holy Spirit is to bestow upon the church.

Verse 1 tells us that in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, but many other gifts were operative as well. There is no such thing as ‘one-man ministry’. In every true church initiated by and administrated by the Holy Spirit many gifts are in operation. One man, or several, may be set aside for the position of leadership, ministry and pastoral oversight, but this does not constitute ‘a one man-ministry’. Look at First Corinthians 12, and notice verse 4, 7, 8-10, 28. Every believer has some gift, and when the Holy Spirit is honored and obeyed many gifts are in operation. What are your gifts? Are you at His disposal for Him to use you in the way of His choice?


3.   The Holy Spirit is to unite believers together in one living fellowship.

Only He can do this! He takes men and women of different temperaments, nationalities and social positions and makes them ‘all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28). This is a miracle! Compare the names mentioned in verse 1. Barnabas was a Levite; Simeon was a black man; Lucius was a Gentile; Manaen was brought up with Herod in the royal court; and Saul was a Hebrew and Pharisee. Only the Holy Spirit could unite these different men where, naturally speaking, there was variety and diversity.


4.   The Holy Spirit is to call out His Chosen instruments for special services.

While every member of the body of Christ has some gift, some are called by the Holy Spirit and set aside for specific and particular ministry- which is always missionary in its emphasis. In verse 2 we read that ‘the Holy Ghost said...’ - and the whole objective of the intervention of the Holy Spirit and of His calling of these two men was that of evangelism. He still calls men and women in the same way today. His call must always precede our going, but, thank God, His call is easily recognizable, for it is specific, personal - He calls by name, as He did Barnabas and Saul. Is God calling you to some specialized ministry in your own land or overseas? Look up Hebrews 12:25.


5.   Act the Holy Spirit is to equip and send forth those whom He chooses and calls.

Look at verse 3 and 4. Barnabas and Saul were not subjected to any official ‘ordination’. The laying-on of hands was an act of identification on the part of the local church; it is significant to notice that ‘they sent them away’ (verse 3), and that they we also ‘sent forth by the Holy Ghost’ (verse 4). Here is the administration of the Holy Spirit and the co­ operation of the local church. It is possible to be sent by a church, a denomination or a candidate’s board only, though this need not and should not be so. When He sends, He equips. He gives all necessary (Second Corinthians 12:9; James 1:5), and guidance concerning the places in which testimony is to be given - Seleucia, Cyprus....


6.   Act of the Holy Spirit is to overcome opposition.

In every Spirit-born work there will be opposition. Wherever the Holy Spirit working the Devil is also work. We have an example of this in verses 6-11. Satan sought to hinder through a certain sorcerer, a false prophet' (verse 6), Who ‘withstood them, Seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith’ (verse8). The Holy Spirit dealt with this situation, however, and He did it through Paul (verse 9-11). Paul did the speaking (verse 10), but he was not only the Channel (verse 9). How much better it is, when problems arise in Christian work, to let the Holy Spirit solve them! We often write letters, hold councils or committees, and there are reasoning and misunderstandings. If only we would learn to wait upon God and to ask Him by the Holy Spirit to drive out the Enemy! He promised to do it.


7.   Act of the Holy Spirit is to accomplish His Great work of saving souls.

Verse 12 tells us that ‘when the deputy saw what was done’, he ‘believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord’. Satan always over-steps the mark if we know how to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in times of difficulty and crisis; and more than this, the Holy Spirit even uses the Devil's efforts to accomplish his purposes and His primary purpose is always the salvation of souls.

Thus, we have seen a glimpse of the seven- fold ministry of the Holy Spirit in the church. Let us honor Him and place ourselves utterly and always at His disposal so that He may do His gracious work in us and through us.

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