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Acts Bible Study: Acts 11:19-24

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Acts 11:19–24 (NASB)
19 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 23 Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; 24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
19a So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch,
Acts 8:1 (NASB)
1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Romans 8:28 (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Genesis 50:20 (NASB)
20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
19b ...speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
The Bible Exposition Commentary (Chapter Eleven: Making Room for the Gentiles (Acts 11))
When the saints were scattered abroad during Saul’s persecution of the church (Acts 8:1), some of them ended up in Antioch, the capital of Syria, 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It was a mega city and highly populated, over 500,000 residents. Some historians refer to Antioch as an economic epicenter. Josephus said the main street in the middle of Antioch was 4 miles long. And this is where God reached large numbers of Gentiles.
Acts 1:8 (NASB)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Matthew 28:19–20 (NASB)
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
Want to see the hand of God at work? Three prerequisites..
Ezra 7:9–10 (NASB)
9 …the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Be faithful to study the Word of God.
Be faithful to apply the Word of God to your life.
Be intentional in sharing the word of God with others.
That’s what was happening in Antioch. It was what Ezra was doing. It is what we need to do.
22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 23 Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;
Acts 11:1–4 (NASB)
1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying,
Acts 11:18 (NASB)
18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
Acts 4:36-37 (NASB)
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 9:27–28 (NASB)
27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.
24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.
Three modifiers to describe Barnabas here...
“he was a good man”
“full of the Holy Spirit”
“[full of] faith”
Stephen has a similar description:
Acts 6:5 (NASB)
5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit...
There is a shift that takes place here. Until now, Jerusalem was the headquarters and the center of the church but after what happens here, Antioch becomes the new center of the church, and that’s primarily because of the numbers of Gentiles that trust in Christ.
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