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Acts 11:19-30, 12:25, 13:1-3

Acts: The Story Continues  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:13
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Acts 11:19-30, 12:25, 13:1-3 Intro: New year (resolutions), we tend to get reflective. It’s easy to become dissatisfied with where we’re at in life. Daniel’s sermon last week made a great point: do the next right thing. Time and time again, we see God working through His church this way in the Book of Acts. Our culture = bigger and better, tangible goals, easy to ask “what do you want me to do, God?” Bible has only a few basic instructions about what to physically do (it’s a grand design, timeless), but many instructions on where our hearts should be. Proverbs 16:9 ESV / 118 helpful votes The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:3 ESV / 89 helpful votes Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 19:21 ESV / 42 helpful votes Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Jeremiah 10:23 ESV / 34 helpful votes I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. James 4:13-15 ESV / 16 helpful votes Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” The next portion of acts consists of several different stories of different believers around the region doing the “next right thing” and how God works mightily through that. It jumps around chronologically, from scene to scene. We’ll focus on one story in particular: the story of the church of Antioch. Let’s look for the “right things” that the believers do in this next story in Acts. Acts 11:19-30 19 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[c] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed 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 the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and 25 So Barnabas 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 Christians. 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers[d] living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. Acts 12:25 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from[c] Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark. Acts 13:1-3 13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[a] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. In this passage, we see several “right things” the believers are doing. They correlate specifically to the commandments that God gave us believers in the New Testament. They are: Preaching the Gospel to all Using your spiritual gifts Giving generously to the church Obeying God’s Calling Let’s start by looking at how the believers are Preaching the Gospel to all Acts 11:19-21 19 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[c] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. - Dispersed after church persecution Preached wherever they went to different races, cultures, etc Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - God worked mightily through this: Antioch = megachurch, 500,000 people living there, crossroads, first “Christians” They didn’t start out with the “megachurch” mindset. They just followed God’s command, making disciples. Application: we as believers must share the good news of the Gospel with those around us. It’s not about making a grand plan for revival (that’s God’s job) - it’s about seeing the opportunities that are all around you, every day, right where you’re at. Using your spiritual gifts Acts 11:22-28 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 the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to 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 Christians. 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). - The Church is not just a family or a group of friends. It’s a living body, created to carry out a specific purpose. 1 Corinthians 12:12-19 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even 15 Now so the body is not made up of one part but of many. if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. - Each part must work together to accomplish its purpose. There are many gifts God gives to believers, we can see two specific examples here. Barnabas = encouraging the church Agabus = prophecy Spiritual gifts are not acted upon with a grand future or prideful motive (God specifically condemns this). They are a humble expression of service, done in the present, for a specific, present, purpose. Application: We must recognize the ways that the Lord has gifted us, and use those gifts to serve the church body and others with no prideful motives. Giving generously to the church Acts 11:29-30 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers[d] living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. - In response to an immediate message from the Lord, the church organizes an immediate solution sending their own money to the church in Judea. They were ready to give generously to the church. They did so purely on faith (faith in the Lord, that what He said will come to pass, and faith that He would provide for their own needs when the time came.) Cultural and prejudicial barriers (Gentiles sending aid money to Jews) 1 John 3:16-18 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. - Application: We must be willing and ready to give immediately to those in need, with a faithful heart to God. Obeying God’s Calling Acts 12:25 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from[c] Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark. Acts 13:1-3 13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[a] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. - - We’ve been talking about several examples of “the next right thing”, that is, a general mindset that God has commanded us to have. This should be evident in all of us. However, there are times when God calls specific people to specific purposes. Here, Saul (Paul) and Barnabas are called to a specific task - a missionary journey that would take them through many cities, that would reap great reward, but would also bring much pain and violence against them. God often calls specific people to specific tasks. When He does, we must absolutely obey Him. (Jonah, Moses, etc) Application: We must be ready and willing to answer God’s call when He commands us to do a specific task. It’s easy for us to get hung up on a calling. “What do you want me to do, God?” Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,[b] and to walk humbly with your God? How do we do that? By: Preaching the Gospel to all Using your spiritual gifts Giving generously to the church Obeying God’s Calling
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