The first chapter in Acts tells a story about how God allows provides laborers for His Work.
[Darris McNeely] One of the encouraging things of the work of God, preaching the gospel, by the disciples of Jesus Christ, is that God always provides adequate laborers for those who are needed to do the job of the work within the church of preaching the gospel. There's an interesting story from the book of Acts, the first chapter. We find in the early days of the time of the apostles, in that period between the resurrection of Christ, and the day of Pentecost, Christ had been with his disciples for 40 days, and He finally then made a final ascension to heaven. And there was a 10-day period where they gathered, and they continued to talk, and discuss all that had been done. But there was one interesting action that they had to take. And we read about in the first chapter of Acts because the original 12 disciples had been reduced by one.
You remember the story? Judas betrayed Christ, and then, he went out and hung himself once the fate and what he had done came crashing into his mind. And so, the disciples were down to 11. And we find an interesting story beginning in verse 22 of Acts where we read that they were together talking, and praying. And Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and he said, "Look, we've got to make a change here. We've got to add back in to our full complement of 12." And so, he read to them scriptures out of the Psalms, in a very interesting matter. And they determined that "We've got to replace the one who's gone." He actually read from one of the Psalms that said, "Let another take his office, or take his place."
And so, they set the criteria that the replacement for Judas had to be of those who had been with Christ, and with the disciples from the baptism of John, to His resurrection. They were eyewitnesses of the resurrection. They narrowed it down to two, one named Barsabas, and the other named Mathias. And then, they cast lots upon those two to decide. Ultimately, they appealed to God to decide who would be the one because they knew God was the judge of all the hearts and knew the hearts of men. And the lot fell upon Mathias, and they were back up to a full complement of 12. Now, perhaps they recognize and were led to understand that these 12 disciples were a complement to the 12 sons of Israel, or the 12 tribes. And as they, the church, were now going to Israel, and to the world, they wanted to go with that full number, but they wanted to begin with that comfortable number of 12 that they had always had.
The disciples, we have to realize, were probably, a band of brothers. And they were traumatized by all of the events of the death, and resurrection, the betrayal, those events that led to Christ's death, and resurrection. Judas especially had betrayed, not just Christ, but themselves. And so, they wanted that slot filled, that place at the table.
And I think that that's an encouraging thing for us to realize that when it comes to the work of the church, the disciples that are needed...tells us here that everyone is needed. And that God has always provided, and will provide laborers for the work of the church at whatever capacity, at whatever level. Let another take his place. We prepare ourselves. God will use us. And no one will be left behind in that sense.
It's a beautiful story of how Christ led his disciples to finish out the complement of those who would begin the work of the church. And as we carry that work on today, let's understand that God always does provide laborers, and we are to take care of one another in that way, and to provide for one another as disciples, working in the field of God, preaching the gospel.
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