Updated: May 11
David Platt preached the final message at the Cross Conference in Louisville, KY, Dec. 30, 2013.
The first five minutes are crucial and important in that he said,
“I am not challenging you to go to the Middle East tomorrow”
“I am calling you to communicate your vision for missions to your local church.”
Go and ask your pastor/elders/spiritual leaders to pray for you and be willing to submit to their leadership in training and growing in a local church context.
It was a long and intense message, and David Platt actually memorized and quoted Romans 1:1 all the way to chapter 9:4 in answer to the question what is the message that we are to take to the nations.
Acts 13:1-4 (NASB)
13 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
Notice several things:
1. It was a local church. (verse 1) (at Antioch, the church that was there.) God’s method of working in this world is through local and biblically sound churches. If you claim to be a Christian, and yet, if you are not a member of a Biblical local church, you need to do all you can to seek to find one and join it. (Hebrews 10:25; Matthew 16:16-18; 18:15-20) Are you are member of a Biblical local church?
2. They were under leadership. (verse 1) (prophets, teachers – other passages speak of the elders/overseers of the local church and that their main mnistry is teaching the people – teaching, Shepherding/pastoring – Titus 1:5-7; 1 Timothy 3, I Peter 5:1-7; Acts 20:17, 28, Acts 14:23. People should first learn to be submitted to local church leadership before they go out on mission or new ministry or seek a pastorate. Are you subitted to leadership in a local church? Are you encouraging to the leadership, or do you always find your heart criticizing them and questioning them?
Notice also Acts 11:26 – Barnabas and Saul were already serving in the local church at Antioch. They did not run off and say, “God has called us” (even though they were already called specially by God – Saul in Acts 9, later recounted in Acts 22 and 26). The pattern is to learn to be a disciple with God’s people in a local church.
3. “While they were ministering to the Lord” (verse 2) – while they were worshiping – the Holy Spirit spoke and guided them.
4. The Holy Spirit spoke while they had a life of regular worship and a special time of fasting and prayer. (verse 2)
5. The church leadership confirmed them and sent them out. (verse 3)
6. When a Biblical church sends missionaries out, the Holy Spirit sends them out. The Holy Spirit works through Biblical local churches. (verse 4)
So, no Christian should say “God has called me and I am just going go without a local church and leadership confirmation and commissioning to approve me”. That attitude is wrong. The same principles here for missionaries applies to those who believe that God is calling them to go into pastoral ministry and evangelistic and apologetic ministry in their own culture.
You cannot be a Christian and say, “It’s just me and Jesus and my Bible in the woods” or “at home”, etc.
If you dont’ have a Biblical local church, you need to work hard at finding one you can join and be a member of and serve the Lord and apply all the “one another” passage to your life.
From Here to There website and book. Check it out and look around. This book walks you through steps to start taking and how to keep your vision alive for missions.
Here are some good books to start reading to develop your vision for missions.
See here for our article on “How can I help my church become more effective in missions”.
See also here – “Can I just start doing things?” (in the local church) (for misssions)
If a Christian believes that God is calling them into ministry, whether it be to the pastorate, or evangelism or apologetics or missionary – the same principle in Acts 13:1-4 applies – you must be a member of a local church and submitted to leadership and serving there first and then the church leadership must approve of you and formally send you out to do your ministry. When a biblical local church sends, the Holy Spirit sends. If you don’t serve and submit to one another and leadership in a local church, the Holy Spirit is not sending you; it is your own personal desires.