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Evidence of a Missionary Church Acts 11:19-30, 13:13

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Evidence of a Missionary Church

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Introduction - Once upon a time there was a church - this church was in a town but the town didn’t even know they were there. The church built a beautiful building and then put a wall around it. The townspeople saw people go in and out but never had contact with them. The Church members did a marvelous job of taking care of each other and helping their own. They sent lots of money to foreign lands to convert the heathen hordes, but never thought about the needs of those people in the town. Eventually the Church grew old and died and the building became a ruin. Was this Church a good missionary Church? They sent lots of money to foreign lands and even went over there a couple times. But, they showed no concern for reaching out to the lost and hurting people around them. They may have preached wonderful messages behind the walls but not in the community. They did nothing that was bold or could be considered a faith filled risk. They showed no true commitment to the teachings of Christ Jesus and they showed no missionary zeal in their Jerusalem. So what kind evidence will a Church with some missionary zeal have?
Well Acts 11: 19-30 provides that information.
Acts 11:19–30 NASB95
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. 27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
According to this passage a Church with missionary zeal will have seven points of evidence:
1. Healthy Local Evangelism
2. Bold Thrusts into new populations
3. Spirit Filled Leadership
4. Sound and Clear Teaching
5. Visible Commitment to Christ
6. Concern for the Poor
7. Personal Involvement in Sending Missionaries
Evidence item number one is:

1. Healthy Local Evangelism

A. Lay Witnesses, Those who were scattered - not the Apostles or the guy called “Pastor” Acts 8:1 says:
Acts 8:1 NASB95
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.
You see everyone scattered away from Jerusalem to escape persecution - except the Apostles.
Map -
B. The Spoken Word (Preaching the Lord Jesus.) This points to the same idea. It was the Lay witnesses who were preaching the Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch. Colossians 4:3
Colossians 4:3 NASB95
3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;
So, what’s the application for this point? - We all need to be bold in our witness - evangelism isn’t just for the Apostles. We all need to be able and willing to preach the word and we all need to pray that we would be given opportunities to preach the word. Is there evidence of healthy evangelism here? Are we seeing a lot of fruit? And the result then was... Acts 11:21
Acts 11:21 NASB95
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
Evidence item number 2 is that we must make:

2. Bold Thrusts into new populations

Acts 11:20 NASB95
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.
A. Previous pattern was to speak only to JEWS - same/same people: in other words all they ever did was talk to there own people in their own context in their own comfortable way.
B. It was a bold move to speak to the Greeks. They had to step out of their comfort zone to speak to them.
So the application for this point is that staying in our comfort zone is comfortable. Boldness is in the area where we don’t want to go, it lays in the dark and stormy areas. Be bold not comfortable...
Evidence item number three is the church must have:

3. Spirit Filled Leadership

Acts 11:22–26 NASB95
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.
A. Barnabas - He witnessed the grace of God, He encouraged them, He went to find help - Saul. He was able to do all that he did for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.
B. Paul - Came to Antioch with Barnabas to teach and help them grow.
The application for this is that no one leader can do the job. There must be a plurality of leaders - no one man should be doing it alone. The leaders must also be united - there can’t be division among them which would cause strife and destroy the Church.
Evidence item number 4 is there must be sound and clear teaching:

4. Sound and Clear Teaching

Acts 11:26a (NASB95)
26a 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;
A. Sound - (Correct doctrine) Sound teaching is true teaching. The gospel of Christ Jesus must not be distorted or twisted. Legalism, works based doctrine, sin is acceptable or anything else that distorts the truth and leads people astray from the truth. Especially teachings that destroy the Church.
B. Clear - (Understandable) Teaching that is clear is easy to understand. Someone teaching everyone as though they are in a seminary would lose most of the people in the church. If it can’t be understood it will be forgotten or not even listened too.
The application here should be plain. If the teaching doesn’t help everyone get God’s word from their head to their heart then there is no purpose for teaching the things of God.
Evidence item number is that there must be a:

5. Visible Commitment to Christ

Acts 11:26b (NASB95)
26b and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Christians - Given a new identity. According to verse 26 it was here in Antioch that the believers first received their new identity in Christ Jesus. That new identity was Christian or as the Greeks said - Christianos -
A Christian is one who worships Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah and the Son of the God of Isreal.
Application - If we have an intimate relationship with Christ and have our identity in Him We are Christians. We share this identity with our brothers and sisters in Christ and will follow His teachings and His ways. What about you? Are you Christianos?
Evidence item number six is:

6. Concern for the Poor

Acts 11:27–30 NASB95
27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
A. When they heard they gave - they had compassion for others in need. We too must have compassion for others in need in our community. The big question is how to do that? What decision can we make that can have a long term impact on the poor in this community. Pray about it - look for the needs in the town and let us know what you come up with. Together we can do far more than we can alone.
B. Such generosity advances missions - Gave what they could - give to advance the mission worldwide. (gave to Paul)
Application - There are many ways to give to advance the worldwide mission of evangelism. There are also a lot of ways we can advance the mission of caring for those in need in our own community. I wonder which is more important?
Evidence item number seven is:

7. Personal Involvement in Sending Missionaries Acts 13:1-3

Acts 13:1–3 NASB95
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.
How can we be personally be involved in worldwide missions?
A. Pray - Prayer is our primary work. We can pray for the Father to send more workers into the harvest field, we can pray about going ourselves, we can pray for those who are working towards going and we can pray for those who have already gone. And we can pray for our involvement in our own community.
B. Give - It all belongs to God. So, we can give some of what God has given us to support others who have gone, to help raise up new workers and to help those in need in our community.
C. Go - We must be willing to take faith filled risks. Going to a mission field full time or even short-term requires a faith filled risk. We can go to places in far away lands, here in the US or we can go across the railroad tracks to those people we wouldn’t normally associate with. Have you taken a faith filled risk lately?
D. Send - Mobilizing devoted disciples is the key to success. We must raise up disciples who are willing to take a faith filled risk and go to other places for the sake of the Gospel.
How are we doing? Are we praying, giving, going and sending?
Closing - So how do you think we are doing? Are we a strong missionary church? Do we have a healthy level of evangelism which is showing fruit through new conversions? Are we making bold new thrusts into areas that we have never been in? Do we have spirit filled leaders? Do we have sound and clear teaching? Is there a visible commitment to Christ here? Are we Christianos? Are we concerned for the poor? And finally, do we have a personal involvement in sending workers?
Think about these things. Do you see them in this church? Do you see them in yourselves. If you don’t what can we do about it? What are you going to do about it.
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