In the church at Antioch, as we find it in Acts 13, there are men committed to local ministry. As we read, we observe the Holy Spirit prompting them beyond!
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Acts 13 and 14
- Jesus’ final command to every disciple was to go and make other disciples
- To preach the gospel, to baptize, and to teach
- This is called the “Great Commission” for a reason, it is our preeminent mandate
- In the church at Antioch, as we find it in Acts 13
- There are men committed to this work locally
- But in the first four verses of the chapter, we observe the Holy Spirit prompting them beyond
- As they are selected, then sent by Him to be missionaries
- Obedient disciples, a local church, and God’s call
- “Sent Forth” from Acts 13 and 14 today
- As the church grows and matures in the book of Acts
- Near the middle of the book
- We find the church at Antioch…
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
- There were men in the church at Antioch that spoke and taught
- As they spoke and taught, they were ministering to others and seeking the Lord
- The church was seeking the Lord too
- And they come to realize that God had called Barnabas and Saul to a specific work
- Their talents were to be used, not only in Antioch, but far beyond
- So, they made the first trip that God wanted for them
- And they preached the word of God immediately – in obedience to Him
- It goes to the Jews first…
16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
23 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
30 But God raised him from the dead:
31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
- The forgiveness of sins, through faith in Jesus – the promised Messiah – is presented
- And the ministry that Paul had begun in Antioch was now reaching Cyprus
- It is a message for all men
- God is using His missionaries to proclaim it
- But that didn’t mean smooth sailing…
44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
- The whole city came to hear, but some rejected
- They envied Paul and Barnabas, speaking against them
- But God’s message would still be heard
- And would find an audience for which it was always intended – the Gentiles
- As Paul quotes Isaiah 49:6 “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
- Praise the Lord, some believed…
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
- Gospel proclamation continued
- The Gentiles were glad (we should count ourselves among them)
- And some believed
- The message making its way throughout the region
- But persecution also grew
- When it did, the missionaries, though they had been expelled
- Were filled with joy
- News of this ministry – and the souls saved – came back to Antioch…
24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.
- In all their travels, Paul and Barnabas preached the word
- They were faithful in their work
- And they came back to report at their sending church
- This is the pattern