bible open on table with notebook near bookshelf

Being Used By God

How do you know that someone is truly called by God? In this post, we are going to look at two people in the Book of Acts, who were truly called by God. Additionally, we will look at a few signs to look for in someone that is being used by God. At the end of this teaching, I am also going to dig deep into the term Apostle in hopes to bring some clarity.

The Need for Boldness Today

Starting with Acts 14:1 we see that the Apostles Paul and Barnabas were in Iconium speaking in a Jewish synagogue. If you look in the Amplified Bible, it tells us they both spoke with boldness and power. How did they have this boldness and power? It was because they were Baptized in the Holy Spirit. They spoke with boldness and power because they had the Holy Spirit working through them. Therefore, their ministry was powerful and bold, even though it faced much opposition. This is the way the church today needs to be! Additionally, in Acts 14:1 it tells us that many Jews and Greeks accepted the message of the Gospel. In the Amplified Bible, it tells us that they confidently accepted Jesus as our savior.  I am not sure how we can possibly get true conversion today if the average church in America is weak and dehydrated from the Holy Spirit. In America’s church today I see many people who say they have been born again for so many years, but no evidence of it, you cannot tell them apart from the unbelieving world. Therefore, we need bold and powerful preaching in our churches today! Many people are going to go to hell when they die, and it is truly sad!

Facing Opposition

Acts 14:2 goes on to tell us the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against Paul and Barnabas. This is what will often happen to people who are truly being used by God, they will have people oppose them, they will often face opposition regularly. One way to know for certain that someone is being used by God is that they are facing opposition regularly. God never promised that this walk would be easy, and He never promised that the work of ministry would be easy. In fact, Jesus even warned us that we would face rejection and even persecution.

Signs and True Salvation

In Acts 14:3 we see that God allowed signs to follow Paul and Barnabas as they continued ministering to the people in Iconium. Verse three specifically tells us that God granted signs and wonders to be done. I think it is safe to assume that these signs were healings, miracles, and deliverances. Jesus told us in Mark 16:20 (NKJV), “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.”. God will allow signs to follow those who are truly seeking Him. God will use a minister who regularly spends time with God in the prayer closet, rather than a minister who only reads the Bible when they are preparing their Sunday sermon. Someone who is truly being used by God will have bold teaching that cuts the heart of the sinner, and even corrects the believer. This type of preaching is what should bring true salvation and conversion. We should not be concerned about the number of people we get to say the sinner’s prayer, we should be concerned about the number of people who are truly saved and converted. This is something that is lacking in the church today, which has resulted in much carnality in the church today.

Division and the Enemy

Continuing Acts 14:4 tells us that the city of Iconium was divide, some sided with the apostles, and some with the unbelieving Jews. The enemy’s work was at hand right here, because there was division. The enemy loves to divide churches and families. I would like to encourage you that when you start seeing division happening in your church or family, make sure your first action is to start praying rather than letting your flesh get the best of you!

Grace and Opposition

In Acts 14:5-7 we see that there was a violent attempt to harm and stone the two Apostles. However, both Paul and Barnabas became aware of this and went to Lystra and Derbe to continue their ministry. As I have said before they did not let the opposition get the best of them. Whether you are in ministry or not, you will face opposition. It might be from people, circumstances, or even your own health. We cannot let circumstances stop us from doing what God has called us to do, along with praising Him and staying in the Word. In fact, this past week, I was dealing with some tooth pain, which in my opinion is one of the worst pains you can get. I do not like dental pain at all, however, I knew that I could not let that dental pain stop me from getting into the Word, and spending time with the Lord. So, whatever it is you are going through, do not let it get the best of you. Each time you deal with opposition and push through it by leaning on the love and grace of God, you will be more prepared next time.

Apostles of Christ

Lastly, I would like to get into something a little deeper. I would like to bring some clarity to the term Apostle. We see the term Apostle used in the New Testament several times. You may have even noticed that some people today might refer to themselves as Apostles. When using the term Apostle today, we need to be careful of our meaning behind it, because there are two types of Apostles. The first type of Apostle were the ones who were an eyewitness of the resurrection of Jesus, these are called Apostles of Christ. These ones are limited because these only refer to the 12 and Paul. 1 Thessalonians 2:6 (NKJV) tells us, “Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.”.

Apostles of the Church (TODAY)

The second type of Apostle we find in the Bible are the ones who are considered Apostles of the Church. They obviously were not eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 8:23 (NKJV) tells us, “If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.”. These types of Apostles are also noted as sent ones of the church. Today we do have people who operate in the office of an Apostle, even though they are not eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus Christ. These people bring a big impact on our church today, and I feel that God will be calling more people to fulfill this rule to be Apostles of the Church today!

Final Thoughts

So, I want to challenge you to ask yourself, is God calling you to do something that you have been holding off on? Maybe this is doing more evangelism in your community, or volunteering at your church. Maybe God might be calling you to the five-fold ministry? Lastly, are you prepared to put time aside and truly seek His Face? By doing so are you ready to face some opposition? I encourage you to take some time this week and ask God to show you what He is calling you to do at this point in your life.