The Church at Antioch Acts 11:19-30

Church on Mission   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Peter had just been given a vision and a message from Jesus that the Gospel wasn’t just for the Jews. In the Old Testament God’s primary voice to the world was the Children of Israel. As we moved into the book of Acts, God changed his primary voice to the Church.
When the church first started its primary outreach was Jews reaching Jews. They had a lot of the same mindsets, but here in Acts 10 and 11, the Lord showed Peter that the Gospel is for everybody.
Here the word is going to get out through a man named Barnabas and he was going to enlist Paul to help him as well.
This morning we are going to see the gospel continue, the reason for sending of Barnabas, and the giving church.

The Gospel Continues vs. 19-22

We see that the Gospel continued during and after the persecution of Stephen
Remember Stephen was the first martyr and Saul, who now goes by Paul was there and consented unto his death.
Acts 8:1-4 tells us that the persecution was heightened after the death of Stephen and because of that the church was scattered through Judea and Samaria and while they were scattered the gospel was still being preached.
Acts 8:1–4 “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
The scattered believers had made it as far as Phenice, Cyprus and Antioch
Phenice was a city that ran about 40 miles along the seacoast, it would’ve been the great thoroughfare between Phoenicia and Syria in the north and Egypt and Arabia in the south. This is the way Phillip the Evangelist would’ve taken.
Cyprus was an island off the coast of Syria. It was one of the chief seats of the worship of Venice.
Antioch was 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It had a population of around 200,000 and was the third largest city in the Roman empire.
All of these cities were places that the Christians went to escape the persecution that was happening in Jerusalem.
I like what one commentator said “They were “scattered abroad” says the Holy Spirit. Satan overreached himself. By scattering the burning coals of Christian witness he made it possible for fresh fires of to spring up elsewhere.”
Remember what Peter and John said in Acts 4:20 said;
Acts 4:20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
This wasn’t just the attitude of the Apostles, but everyone in the early church. Do we have that same mindset?
Everywhere the scattered church members went, they found some Jewish people and shared the Gospel with them. The problem with this is they were leaving out a whole other people group.
As the Gospel was being spread abroad some of the men of Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and spoke to the Grecians in that city about the Lord Jesus. Peter had unlocked the door for the Gentiles in Caesarea, here in Antioch that door was pushed wide open.
Notice the Bible tells us the hand of the Lord was with them.
When we go and tell others about Jesus, His hand is on us. When the hand of the Lord is on our witness, mighty things happen.
We know that news would have spread fast and I’m sure some of the men heard about Peter and the Roman Centurion, They heard how Peter went into a group of the gentiles and shared the Gospel and the Holy Spirit fell on them like He did us on the day of Pentecost and they were gloriously saved, and it brought them to a fork in the road, if Peter can go to the Gentiles, why can’t we?
Because the hand of the Lord was with them, a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
That is the power of the Gospel, it turns us from a life following sin to a life following Christ.
Has the Gospel changed your life this morning? If not it can, you must place your faith and trust in what Jesus did on the cross, as he paid the debt for our sin, he was buried in a borrowed tomb and three days later he arose, defeating death, hell and the grave. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
We see the tidings (news, or account of events that happened) made its way back to the church at Jerusalem.
Remember how the Jerusalem Church had reacted to Peter when he got back from sharing the gospel with the Centurion and his family and friends in Caesarea. They were upset that he had met with a group of non-jews and Peter told them about the divine appointment that the Holy Spirit had set up for him. He told them how the Holy Spirit fell on them and proved that it was a true conversion. They had been satisfied with this answer as we see in verse 18 of this chapter, but here we see they sent Barnabas to Antioch to investigate.

The Reason for Sending Barnabas vs 23-26

We were introduced to Barnabas in Acts 4:36 where we learned that he sold off a parcel of land that he had and he brought the money from that sale and laid it at the feet of the Apostles for them to use for the church.
Here we see him as a man sent from Jerusalem to Antioch. Look what he sees when he gets there;
He saw the grace of God
The Bible tells us to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)
If Barnabas came to our church today would he see the grace of God?
When he sees the grace of God in the church, he exhorts them or encourages to keep their eyes on Jesus
Like the writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
If we want our church to grow in grace, we must keep our focus on Jesus.
The description of Barnabas
He was a good man
Look what Jesus said about a good man in Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Would people describe us as “ a good man or woman”?
He was a man full of the Holy Ghost and faith
A man who is full of the Holy Ghost is empty of self
Spurgeon said this “Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are as ships without wind. We are useless.”
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
If we want God to use us we must be empty of self and full of the Holy Spirit, which will enable us to live a life full of faith. This is the secret to Barnabas’ ministry in Antioch.
When Barnabas got to Antioch the Lord continued to add to His church.
After Barnabas spent some time in Antioch, he went to Tarsus to look for Paul
The greek word used for the verb to seek was the same word used to describe Mary and Joseph looking for Jesus after they left him behind. Finding Saul would have been no easy task, but when he found him, Barnabas brought Saul back to Antioch to continue the work there.
In verse 26 we find the church celebrating their one year anniversary, where not only were they winning souls to the lord, but they were teaching them as well.
This is probably the most neglected part of the great commission. The church collectively have done a pretty good job at winning them and baptizing them, but often miss it when they come to the teaching them part.
Here we find a great example of living out the churches mission which is found in Matthew 28:18–20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
At the end of verse 26 we see that the disciples earned a new name, which is Christian.
This certainly wasn’t a term of endearment, but was rather a derogatory term. It meant they were acting like little Christs, which for a Christian should be a compliment.
When people look at us do they see us acting like christ.
Spurgeon saiid this “There are some people who need to wear a label round their necks to show that they are Christians at all, or else we might mistake them for sinners, their actions are so like those of the ungodly.”
As believers we should be like Barnabas and the Christians found in that early church because they were acting so much like Jesus that people called them Christians.

The Giving Church vs 27-30

There was a Prophet that came from Jerusalem to Antioch and told them there was going to be a great dearth or famine throughout the world and then the Bible tells us that famine came in the days of Claudius Caesar which ruled from A.D. 41-54 and history tells us that there were many famines during his reign.
Look at the churches response to the famine found in verse 29 - 30
The disciples gave what they could to send relief to the brethren that dwelt in Judea. In the midst of the famine the church at Antioch was still a giving church.
They gave what they could and it was delivered to the elders in that church.
We should be a giving church
Giving never takes the place of the Gospel, but we should be givers, not just of our treasures, but of our time and talent as well.


In order for the church to stay on mission we must keep the preaching of the Gospel as the priority. The gospel is for every person like Oswald J. Smith said “ “Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”
If you have never trusted in Christ as your saviour, today is the day. Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again three days later to pay the sin debt of the world. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Will you trust him today?
Believer hows you walk with the Lord, can people tell by how we live that we are a Christian, its impossible to do in our own strength, come this morning and ask God to give you the strength to live the christian life
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