Living Faith – April 21, 2018
Introduction: Following Jesus -> Paul’s Journey -> Antioch (3rdlargest city in Roman Empire, first place where disciples called Christians, base for Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journeys)
Big Idea: What do I do when I become a Christian? (next steps / original meaning -> living faith)
Scripture: Acts 11:19-30 (CSB)
Acts 11:19-24 (CSB)
Now those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. News about them reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord.
Point One: Overcome Prejudice
- Jewish Christians began by only reaching out to other Jews (but the Good News is for everyone – ancient Israel)
- One of the biggest obstacles in the early church was racial/ethnic bias (ancient religions were bound to each civilization)
- The disciples in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to check out reports of Gentiles who were becoming Christians (grace of God transcends boundaries)
- The prejudice of the early church could have slowed growth (but the disciples were in tune with the Holy Spirit – we need to overcome this obstacle today)
Acts 11:25-26 (CSB)
Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
Point Two: Learn Patience
- Barnabas goes to Tarsus to find Paul so he can help him teach and lead the church in Antioch
- Paul waited for about six years in his home town after receiving his call before he is called upon to help
- The connections and relationships we build can have lasting impact (but it takes time)
- Antioch would become the home church for Paul and Barnabas’ various missionary journeys
Acts 11:27-30 (CSB)
In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine throughout the Roman world. This took place during the reign of Claudius. Each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers and sisters who lived in Judea. They did this, sending it to the elders by means of Barnabas and Saul.
Point Three: Look Out for Each Other
- Once things were up and running in Antioch, prophets from Judea came predicting famine
- The growth in the church allowed them to organize relief efforts throughout the Roman Empire
- Churches today are far too isolated (prayer, community service and disaster relief are our sacred duty)
- Throughout Acts, money is raised for relief efforts, missionary support and to meet people’s needs (family)
- How can we make sure we don’t limit our outreach to ‘people like us’?
- Discuss a time during your faith journey when you had to learn patience
- What can we do better to support those who are in need?