Mission team formed, sent, start
God’s plan in action
God’s plan in action
God’s grand plan has been given, empowered, sent, now it will expand as we continue our look in “Witness to the world: Book of Acts.”
God’s plan delivered and empowered to apostles (Act1:8)
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.”
In a quick review where we are so far, where were they to be witnesses according to (Act1:8)?
Witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the remotest part of the earth.
God’s plan demonstrated and born in Jerusalem (Act2:1-4; 46-48)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
In Acts2-1-4 you see it demonstrated by the sound (wind), by the sight (tongues of fire) and the words (speaking in tongues)
Then you see the results
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Question: What were the results of the demonstration of God’s plan being displayed (v.48)?
They were praising God, had favor with all people
The Lord added to their number . . . those being saved.
(Transition) when there is good that goes on we know oftentimes there is trouble that comes to try to take away the good and we see some of that in (Act3-7) But we see God setting up things for what happened next in (Act8:12)
God’s plan goes out (Act8-12)
Great persecution happens that brings scattering
Scattering brings evangelism
Evangelism brings converts
Converts bring need for more help
Help provided brings us to where we will start today.
God’s missionaries being called, and sent (Act13:1-12)
Tonight we are going to look at:
The calling and anointing, sending (Act13:1-4)
The first stops on the way (Act13:5-12)
(Transition) up to this point the focal point of Acts has been in Jerusalem, the local church, we have seen it go out and grow, but still Jerusalem was the key as was Peter more prominent than anyone else. Here in Act13 and following we will see the location change and the person of focus change. Antioch is now going to be the launching place and Paul the vehicle used for the launch and the Holy Spirit as the power, Jesus and the Gospel as the very important cargo in the powered vehicle that is being launched from Antioch.
Jesus called, the called became apostles. The Spirit called and now a mission team is being formed for the gospel call to reach out even further. What started in Jerusalem (Act1:1-8:3) has spread to Judea and Samaria (Act8:4-12:25) now is going to be going further after Barnabas and Paul returned from Jerusalem (Act12:25)
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.
Paul, Barnabas come back from Jerusalem after delivering help during the famine, come back with John Mark in tow to Antioch of Syria for now comes a time of calling and sending them out to further the gospel message.
1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were ministering to 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, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
First, we know there was a church there (Act13:1, 11:19-21)
Passage tells us in 13:1 that there was a church
This is the church that was established by those from Cyrus and Cyrene; confirmed by Barnabas, instructed by Paul that you can read in Act11:19-21 and actually following that too
Next we know there were certain prophets and teachers (Act13:1)
Prophets bring the word of God (forthtelling) - they help lay the foundation for the church
Teachers help ground the church in the word and the doctrines of faith. You may note down 2Tim2:2 as a scripture to look up on your own.
I will come back talk about the prophets and the teachers more in just a minute, but first what were they doing.
We can know also that the prophets, teachers were serving, fasting and praying (Act13:2-3)
There “certain” prophets and teachers were busy at work in the church that was established there. We do not know the content of their prayer but can make some safe assumptions about the prayers and reason for fasting because of what transpires.
(Transition) So who were these certain men? Scripture tells us (v.1) let me give you a little information about them.
These certain prophets, teachers (v.1)
Barnabas: A Cyrene (Act13:1, 4:36-37, 9:27, 11:30)
We know Barnabas who was from Cyrus, he was a man filled with the Spirit (Act4:36-37)
Stood up for Paul before the apostles in Jerusalem (Act9:27)
Traveled with Paul back to Jerusalem from Antioch (Act11:30)
Simeon: Nick named “Niger or black” (Act13:1; Lk23:26)
We do not know much except the nick name “black” or Niger. Now this could be the same Simeon who helped carry the cross of Christ (Lk23:26)
It is assumed that he came from Africa because of the nick name “black”
Lucius: A Cyrene (Act13:1; Rom16:21)
He is a Cyrene, who maybe the Lucius noted from North Africa in (Rom16:21)
Manaen: Associated with Herod (Act13:1; Mt14:1-10)
Herod the tetrarch who is the one who ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded (Mt14:1-10) This is Herod Antipas
It is said this may even be an adopted brother of Herod
Saul: Of Tarsus (Act13:1, 11:25, 8:1-3)
From Tarsus in Cilicia, a Roman citizen
A former persecutor of the church not a proclaimer of the gospel
The call of the Holy Spirit (Act13:2)
While they were ministering, praying, and fasting (Act13:2)
The Holy Spirit calls to them, speaks up (Act13:2)
Then when the Holy Spirit called, they responded with more prayer, laying on of hands and the sending
Fasting, praying, laying on of hands, and the sending the on their way (Act13:3)
A couple of little quick notes before pressing on the the mission at hand.
There is diversity in the church now, not only Jews, Samaritans, there are Gentiles. There is diversity in race, culture and society, the prophets and teachers noted were from North Africa, Cyprus, Cilicia and Palestine. One raised with royalty another as a rabbi.
Churches today should be diverse, welcome diversity. To embrace our oneness with Christ (Gal3:26-28)
(this is not on your outline but I want to give you this passage
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Churches should practice synergy: The working together of two or more things to produce a result greater than the sum of the individual parts (maybe check out Ecc4:9-12; Mk6:7; Lk10:1) Barnabas practiced this (Act11:25-26). The Holy Spirit uses synergy (v.2, 4) to send them out.
(Note: Other scriptures referenced: Gal3:26-28; Ecc4:9-12; Mk6:7; Lk10:1; Act11:25-26; Act13:2, 4)
Separated out: Saul and Barnabas were called and separated out for the task at hand. the church can learn from that too. Not all have the same task, calling, just as Tabby and I were sent out from Idalou to Lockett then blessed to transition here, we have even within our fellowship people that God has called out, or called to be separated out, for certain tasks, It should be done with cover of prayer and in this case was fasting, we too may be called to the same.
(Transition) from the return, to the calling, to the separating, and the sending, now we get to the start.
The journey begins
The journey begins
Under the prayer and fasting of the certain prophets (Act13:1-2) to the laying on of hands and sending (Act13:3). All under the guidance, direction of the Holy Spirit (Act13:2) now we get to the journey itself.
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him,
10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11 “Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.
12 Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.
What did you see, what did you notice, what sticks out to you?
Geographical and Biblical facts worth knowing
43 miles S of Asia Minor, 76 miles W of Syria
3rd largest island of the Mediterranean had a land mass covering 3584 sq mi.
Barnabas was from Cypress (Act4:36)
I mentioned the Act4:36 before, but let me give to you now.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement),
Gospel previously preached in Cyprus (Act11:19)
Church of Antioch of Syria was started by men from Cyprus (Act11:20)
As a reminder here are the scriptures just referenced
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.
The mission team will split up in the future and Barnabas and ark will return to Cyprus (Act15:39)
I don’t want to get into reason, or possible reasons for the team split at this time, but do want to give you the scripture so you can see it.
39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.
(Island of Cyrus picture inserted here)
First stop, Seleucia - Port city on the Mediterranean coast, 16mi away from Antioch (Act13:4)
Second stop, Salamias on Cyprus (Act13:5)
This is 130mi SW of Seleucia
Cyprus as known for its copper mines and for ship building, it was an industrial island and was even nick named “Happy Isle”
Question: What can we know about What happened in Salamias (Act13:5)?
They preached the word, they did it in the synagogues, John Mark was with the as their assistant.
This should not be surprising what they did nor where they did it.
Barnabas was more than likely well known there in his home area, starting preaching in the synagogues was typical for Paul, it was his pattern, you can look up other examples (Act17:1-2, Rom1:16)
John Mark, we have seen him before, he was from Jerusalem, his mother was Mary (Act12:12); he accompanied Barnabas and Saul from there to Antioch of Syria (Act12:25) And he was Barnabas cousin, in case you did not know (Col4:10)
(Note: Other scriptures referenced, you may check them out to deeper your study, Act17:1-2, Rom1:16; ACt12:12, 25, Col4:10)
From Salamias to Paphos (Act13:6)
Paphos is abut 90 mi W of Salamias and it is the capital of Cyprus.
The team, the resistance, the gospel, the results (Act13:6-12)
(Transition) now where we know limited on the other stops, we can learn much more when they get to Paphos, so let’s glean from the scripture
Question: Who are the characters introduced to us (vv.6-8)?
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus,
False Prophet named Bar-Jesus (v.6)
7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
We see Sergius Paulus the proconsul, as well s Barnabas and Saul. (v.7)
Question: What did Sergius Paulus want from Barnabas and Saul (v.7)?
He sought them to hear the word of God .
(Transition)Now in (v.8) you see Bar-Jesus is aka Elymas, and he was a sorcerer or magician, but still more we can lean about him from (v.8)
8 But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
Question: why was Elymas trying to oppose Saul and Barnabas (v.8)
To keep the proconsul from the faith.(v.8)
(Transition) Now we get to the actions taken by the Holy Spirit (vv.9-11)
I’m not going to read the verses again, but will put up so we can get information from them.
9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him,
Question: What do you learn from (v.9)?
Saul is known as Paul, He was filled with Holy Spirit.
This is the first time Saul is addressed, identified as Paul. Saul was the Jewish name, Paul was the Greek name, it was common to have two names.
Paul was not acting, responding under his power and guidance but was filled and acting under the power of God through the Holy Spirit.
10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?
Question: what more do you learn about Bar-Jesus from Paul in (v.10)?
Full of deceit, a fraud, son of devil
Paul’s desire is known, not in so many words, repent and turn to the Lord.
Again, this is not surprising when God is working there Satan comes along and tries to sow tares among the wheat (see Mt13:24ff for parable of wheat and tares)
Paul through Holy Spirit discernment can see that Bar-Jesus is son of the devil, Like Jesus said in (Jn8:44).
Question: What was the judgment given, and look closely, who gives it in (v.11)?
11 “Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.
You will be blind because the hand of the Lord is upon you!
(Transition) Immediately this happened and he had to be lead by hand, sound familiar, maybe like Saul after meeting Jesus (see Act9:8); what matters is the result, now look at (v.12) and we will close out in a few
12 Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.
Question: what was the result to that transpired in (v.11) here in (v.12)?
Proconsul believed what he saw, was amazed at the teaching.
(Encouragement slide- Lord Im amazed by you)
(Transition) Does God’s word, God’s teaching still amaze you? Does it bring belief and faith to you? It did to the Proconsul along with many others we have seen in Acts thus far, and many more to come.
A journey starts with a first step, your journey with God started when you accepted Christ, your journey continues, your missionary trip here continues with each step you take. Are you stepping up and out in faith today?