Please help us to marvel at your grace. Give us hearts for people far away, people very different. The Lord Jesus plants a church in Antioch Jesus is the lead church planter and missionary. It is His church! v19-21 Everyday Christians speak the gospel, and people turn to Jesus. Antioch, in Southeastern Turkey. 3rd largest city in the Roman world (behind Alexandria and Rome). Melting pot: Jews, Greeks, Syrians, Phoenicians, Arabs, Persians, Egyptians, Indians. The city was the 'abode of the gods' according to one classical writer (Bock, 413). Commercial and intellectual centre. v19. No one but Jews. But v20 remarkable - generous. Note the total absence about a separate giving of the Spirit etc; it is assumed that the Spirit was given when they believed, now post-Cornelius. v22-26 Barnabus encourages and equips this brand new baby church v22 did they send the B team? v22-24 when the Jerusalem church hears, they send Barnabus. At each stage of gentile expansion, they have had caution/concern - although they welcome it. Not until Acts 15 is it 'put to bed' officially. v23 he was overjoyed because he saw God's glory [do you know this? cf 3 John] No one else is called 'good' in Acts. cf Joseph of Arimathea in Luke 23.50 . 'We...see Barnabus, the encourager, at his best. He encourages the grace of God to be manifest in himself and others. He knows that this will require perseverance and solid character as well as a willingness to go the extra mile for others, as he does for Saul. Indeed, character is more important in a believer than anything else, including "getting results". Character and encouragement also have the capacity to bring others on board and let them serve because there is no jealousy, again pictured by how Barnabus works with Saul. In this it is Barnabus' humility that stands out. v26 generous in ministry and mentoring [I can think of people who have been generous to me and it made all the difference] v27-30 The Antioch church cares more about the Kingdom than their own tribe Prophets seem to be a little more fluid? Agabus comes down. Foretells the future, like the OT prophets. Whereas NT preachers proclaim and apply the evangel. Didache seems to imply itinerant ministry of prophets in the early church. Claudius was Caesar of Rome from AD 41-54. He succeeded his cousin, who was murdered - and he hid behind a curtain. Several famines in his reign. Probably we're talking AD 44-48 sometime. Agabus will return in Acts 21 and predict Paul's arrest. v29Daughter church gives to mother church. 'A final note concerns how one church came to the aid of another here. Today many churches are interested only in their own ministry or in using their facilities and resources for their own efforts. It is sad to see large-budget churches that give very little to missions or do very little for other believing communities in need in their own area when they easily could. We must be careful that the desired pursuit of excellence in ministry to our own does not leave us neglecting others whom we could help with a little more self-sacrifice. Other churches, reflecting the character of this Acts 11 community, are engaged in actively helping others as they are able, as part of the perspective of their own ministry. In a world where everyone looks out for number one, this kind of selflessness is itself a great testimony to the power and witness of the gospel to change people.' See the glory of God: He calls people to Himself, and then He works brotherly kindness and love in this church. He makes people lovers of God and lovers of others. FCF: Self-interested tribalism? It hinders mission since it hinders relationships and conversations, cf v19-21. It hinders maturity since it resists giving and investing in others, giving away power, cf 22-26. It hinders the Kingdom since it hinders generosity, cf 27-30. The evidences of Christian self-interest are everywhere. Lack of missional living, relational courage. Lack of giving of time and money to people and causes where you won't get it back. Lack of giving, lack of church partnership with needy churches. Won't show up to pray or be trained but will show up to a family values seminar playing off fear and sensationalism. Won't go to churches with weird people. Tribalism is nothing new, and utterly does not belong in Christianity. It is what we are saved out of. So deeply rooted to like or dislike people based on their similarity to us. But the gospel makes us love people because they are people. Remember the Good Samaritan? Even our ethnic enemy we love. Read the OT and quickly you see tribes fighting other tribes. Travel the world and this is what you see. People who hate other people even though they don't really know why anymore. We choose this way of living, even though it comes naturally. You choose not to pursue certain relationships. You choose to live in a bubble. You choose not to pray for people you don't know. But Jesus comes, setting aside His rights. And calling us to do the same. He, unlike us, chose to be born. He chose to come to us. Remaining what He was, He became what He was not. The Creator becomes a Creature - that should tell us something about how to live. The unnamed scattered believers are shaped by this, speaking the gospel as they go. Barnabus is shaped by this, searching out a man who maybe feels like he's in a silo [cf Moses in exile]. The Antioch church gets this, sending aid to brothers and sisters, many of whom they wouldn't have known. Look at Jesus' use of time, energy, resources, relationships. Any self-interest or tribalism there? Lord you were rich beyond all splendour, yet for love's sake, became so poor. This comes to a climax in His death. He lays aside His rights and privileges in order to give His life for us. Remember that interchange with Peter where He says He could call 12 legions of angels anytime He wanted? So that we would love Him and His rule, His agenda, more than our own. If you are in Jesus by faith, then the old self-interested you HAS DIED. And NOW YOU LIVE to God, in Christ, led/empowered/guided by His Spirit. Living under His rule. In Jesus, we become generous. The answer is not 'go and be more generous', but 'come and learn who Jesus is and what He has done and what is means to be in Him'. Generous is the natural result. I praise God that TCC is a generous church. Not because it means blessing for others. But because I see it flowing from knowing who Jesus is and what is means to be in Him. Built into generosity is risk, sacrifice, and the possibility of loss and waste. Investing in people and they disappoint. Giving to others and they squander. Speaking well of people who turn out not to live up to your kindness. That, in no way, makes generosity less glorious or right. Haven't you squandered Jesus' grace? Didn't he heal 10, only though 1 came back to say thank you? We give because the gospel makes us givers. We would speak to people about Jesus, because we love Him more than our self-love of not rocking the boat or getting into awkward conversations. We would invest in other people to build them up, build the church up, because we love Jesus and His glory in the church more than our own pedestal. We would give generously to bless and care for others, since we love to show the compassion of our Lord. Are we a church-planting church? Are we ok with failure? Do we own this mission ourselves? Are we an Antioch church - more concerned about the Kingdom than our empire or our tribe? Repentance and faith: Change your mind about conversations with people, relationships, time, money. Are they controlled by Kingdom minded investment? Are you willing to make a loss so that the Kingdom makes a gain? Not just willing, but joyful? Do you really know that God holds and cares for your life, in Jesus? He watches over you in Him; and so you are free to spend yourself for others? Do you really believe you're part of a global, historic, family - the body of Jesus, the people of God? Does your time, lifestyle, conversation and so on demonstrate that? Give us hearts that truly love your Kingdom and your fame. Where hearing of your rule extending around the world makes us thrilled. Where giving ourselves away for your sake is a delight and our whole philosophy of life. Make us a church like Antioch! Other features: Acts 29 video. PrayerGram prayer Lord's Supper: Remember that our needs have been met by Jesus' gift of Himself. Since He holds our lives, we can give ourselves for others and for His Name's sake. Look again at His gift to you. Ask Him for power from His Spirit to live generously. This meal is also a foretaste of the heavenly banquet to come, when all our losses will turn into gain. And all our tears become shouts of joy.
The Church in Antioch 19 m Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists 1 also, n preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And o the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed p turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw q the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord r with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, s full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people t were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to u Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called v Christians. 27 Now in these days w prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named x Agabus stood up and foretold y by the Spirit that there would be a great z famine over all the world (this took place in the days of a Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, b to send relief to c the brothers 1 living in Judea. 30 d And they did so, sending it to e the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
19 Οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες ἀπὸ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς γενομένης ἐπὶ Στεφάνῳ διῆλθον ἕως Φοινίκης καὶ Κύπρου καὶ Ἀντιοχείας μηδενὶ λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον εἰ μὴ μόνον Ἰουδαίοις. 20 ῏Ησαν δέ τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν ἄνδρες Κύπριοι καὶ Κυρηναῖοι, οἵτινες ἐλθόντες εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν ἐλάλουν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς Ἑλληνιστὰς εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν. 21 καὶ ἦν χεὶρ κυρίου μετʼ αὐτῶν, πολύς τε ἀριθμὸς ὁ πιστεύσας ἐπέστρεψεν ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον. 22 Ἠκούσθη δὲ ὁ λόγος εἰς τὰ ὦτα τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς οὔσης ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ περὶ αὐτῶν καὶ ἐξαπέστειλαν Βαρναβᾶν [διελθεῖν] ἕως Ἀντιοχείας. 23 ὃς παραγενόμενος καὶ ἰδὼν τὴν χάριν [τὴν] τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐχάρη καὶ παρεκάλει πάντας τῇ προθέσει τῆς καρδίας προσμένειν τῷ κυρίῳ, 24 ὅτι ἦν ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς καὶ πλήρης πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ πίστεως. καὶ προσετέθη ὄχλος ἱκανὸς τῷ κυρίῳ. 25 ἐξῆλθεν δὲ εἰς Ταρσὸν ἀναζητῆσαι Σαῦλον, 26 καὶ εὑρὼν ἤγαγεν εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν. ἐγένετο δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐνιαυτὸν ὅλον συναχθῆναι ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ διδάξαι ὄχλον ἱκανόν, χρηματίσαι τε πρώτως ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τοὺς μαθητὰς Χριστιανούς. 27 Ἐν ταύταις δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις κατῆλθον ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων προφῆται εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν. 28 ἀναστὰς δὲ εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν ὀνόματι Ἅγαβος ἐσήμανεν διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος λιμὸν μεγάλην μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι ἐφʼ ὅλην τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἥτις ἐγένετο ἐπὶ Κλαυδίου. 29 τῶν δὲ μαθητῶν, καθὼς εὐπορεῖτό τις, ὥρισαν ἕκαστος αὐτῶν εἰς διακονίαν πέμψαι τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἀδελφοῖς• 30 ὃ καὶ ἐποίησαν ἀποστείλαντες πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους διὰ χειρὸς Βαρναβᾶ καὶ Σαύλου.
19. Now therefore those scattered from the persecution born upon Stephen went as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20. There were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who had gone into Antioch and were speaking to the Greek-speakers, gospeling the Lord Jesus. 21. And the hand of the Lord was with them, [and] a great number who believed turned back to the Lord. 22. This matter concerning them having been heard in the ear of the church in Jerusalem, they sent Barnabus to go down to Antioch. 23. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was overjoyed and pleaded with them to remain/abide in the Lord with steadfast purpose of heart. 24. since he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. And a great crowd was added to the Lord. 25. And he went down to Tarsus to search for Saul. 26. And finding him led him to Antioch. They stayed a whole year gathered with the church and taught a great crowd, [and] for the first time disciples were publicly called 'Christians' at Antioch. 27. In those days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28. And one of them by the name Agabus rose up and indicated through the Spirit that a great famine was about to come upon the whole known world (this happened under Claudius). 29. So the disciples, each according to their own means, decided each one to send service/ministry/relief to the brothers dwelling in Judea. 30. And they did this, sending to the elders by the hand of Barnabus and Saul.