Sunday, June 17, 2012

From Acts to Revelation: Part 31 - The Church in Antioch

From Acts to Revelation
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

What has happened in Acts so far;

We have seen the ascension of Christ, and the instruction given to the Disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. Once the Holy Spirit came, the Apostles began to preach the Gospel as Christ had instructed them to do.

The church began to grow, and Jerusalem founded the first church, or body of believers.

Many were coming to the Lord, accepting Jesus as the Christ and Messiah promised in scripture. But the message was only preached to the Jews.

After Stephens death, the followers of Christ fled to Judea and Samaria, taking the Word of God with them, where even more came to the Lord through the message being preached.

Peter, given a message and vision from God, began the process of taking the message to the Gentiles, which he delivered to Cornelius, the first Gentile to accept Jesus Christ, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

After returning to Jerusalem, the Apostles agreed that God wanted the same salvation message they were preaching to the Jews, to also be given to the Gentiles.

Today we see the Gospel message spread throughout Phenice, Cyprus and Antioch, preached to both the Jew and the Gentile.

Is this desire to share the “Good News” of Salvation through Jesus Christ, still alive today in the church today? If so, how has the Holy Spirit led you to share this message?


19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

a.      The Word of God begins in Jerusalem
i.       Stephens murder causes God's people to flee Jerusalem

ii.    They run to Samaria and Judea, taking the Word of God with them

iii. We now see them spread the Gospel into surrounding areas

iv.   Phenice (Lebanon), Cyprus and Antioch (a city in Syria)

b.     Until God spoke to Peter, and gave him the vision, the Gospel had only been preached to the Jews.
i.       Now, the gentiles were receiving the message of the Cross!

c.      vs. 20 tells us that the message was being preached to the Greeks (Gentiles)
i.       We also see in vs. 20, that they were preaching the Lord Jesus, not about keeping the Law of Moses.
d.     The Lord was with them (those preaching the Gospel), and many believed.
i.       vs. 21 lets us know that God was pleased with the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles.

a.      News of this returned to Jerusalem, where the first Church resided
i.       This was the acting headquarters, where the Apostles worked from

b.     Led by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles sent Barnabas to Antioch

c.      Barnabas witnessed first-hand the conversion of Gentiles (vs. 23)
i.       Barnabas is described in the same manner that Stephen was in Acts 6:5

ii.    vs. 24 “He was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of Faith”
a.      Barnabas, described by the Holy Spirit in scripture!

b.     LIT. “because he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit, and of faith, and a great multitude was added to the Lord.”

d.     Many Gentiles and Jews were coming to Christ
i.       But they needed further instruction for growth!

III.                        SEARCHING FOR SAUL
a.      Led again by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas traveled to seek out Saul
i.       This took place in 43 A.D., about ten years after the crucifixion

b.     Barnabas returned to Antioch with Saul where they taught for one year together
i.       This begins the teaching of the New Covenant as it had been given to Paul by Christ!

c.      It was here, in Antioch, where the disciples of Christ were first called “Christians” by the world
i.       A title which they accepted (Acts 26:28 & I Peter 4:16)


Is this desire to share the “Good News” of Salvation through Jesus Christ, still alive today in the church today?
ñ It seems that not many would cross the street to share the Gospel, let alone, travel to a foreign city to give the message.

ñ We need to be listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us.

ñ God has a mission for each one of us...doing what God instructs us is “Obedience”

ñ Not doing what God instructs us is “Disobedience”

ñ Where are you right now in your relationship with the Lord? Are you in obedience, or disobedience?

If you are listening, how is the Holy Spirit leading you to share this message?

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!