The Antioch Church — Expansion
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The Church at Antioch
19 So then those who were scattered because of the [a]persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way [b]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 [c]Greeks also, [d]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 [e]news about them [f]reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off [g]to Antioch. 23 Then when he arrived and [h]witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with [i]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 [j]numbers were [k]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 [l]met with the church and taught considerable [m]numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
27 Now [n]at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate [o]by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the [p]world. [q]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 [r]relief of the brethren living in Judea.30 And this they did, sending it [s]in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
May 5th, 2019
1.) In verses 13-24 we see how the Jerusalem church expanded, after the martyrdom of Stephen, to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but the outreach was to Jews only. Later, others reached out to Greek-speaking people who responded beautifully to the Lord. WHAT SUBCULTURES AROUND US TODAY ARE RIPE FOR THE GOSPEL, BUT MAY REQUIRE US LEAVING OUR COMFORT TO REACH THEM? HOW COULD THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN?
2.) Verses 25-26 show a great ministry by Barnabas as he went north to Tarsus to find Saul (soon to be named Paul) and brought him to Antioch to instruct the new Christians for an entire year. WHY WAS BRINGING SAUL SO IMPORTANT FOR THE ANTIOCH CHURCH AND OTHER CHURCHES? See II Peter 3:15-18. WHO HAVE YOU KNOWN AS A MODERN-DAY BARNABAS? TO WHOM IN YOUR LIFE MAY GOD BE CALLING YOU TO BE A BARNABAS?
3.) Verses 27-30 indicate the response of the young church in Antioch to the famine-related needs of the "mother" church in Judea. IN WHAT WAYS CAN YOUNGER CHURCHES HELP MORE ESTABLISHED CHURCHES TODAY? WHEN HAVE YOU SEEN THIS HAPPEN? WHY IS PROPORTIONAL GIVING A GODLY AND BIBLICAL WAY TO GIVE? See I Corinthians 16:1-2 and II Corinthians 9:6-7.