What is the New Testament

What is the New Testament’s pattern for commending a person for the work of the Lord?

Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for their work (Acts 14:26). The details of that commendation give us a New Testament precedent to follow. The leaders of the Antioch assembly fasted (13:2) due to a spiritual burden. The outcome indicates they were burdened about the spread of the gospel "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (1:8). The Spirit identified the men He had called for that work (13:2). The leaders continued their waiting on God through prayer and fasting. The assembly then expressed its identification with Barnabas and Saul when the leaders laid their hands on these two. The assembly had not acted on its own but was the vehicle through which the Spirit worked, for the two were "sent forth by the Holy Spirit" (v 4). Their later report (14:26) in Antioch implies they were accountable to the assembly.

In summary, an assembly’s commendation expresses its concern for the work of God. The Spirit of God uses the assembly to send out those whom He has called and now intends to use in the field. Assembly leaders guide the assembly’s concern for the work of God and for specific areas of labor. This should characterize every assembly, whether or not suitable young men are part of that assembly.

D. Oliver