Monday, March 21, 2016

3 results from presenting the Gospel

Read Acts 13.

The church at Antioch became the launching point for taking the Gospel to the rest of the Roman Empire.  Its leadership reveals a multi-ethnic and diverse congregation.  This was definitely did not have the homogeneous make up of the church in Jerusalem.

Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus.
Simeon's Latin nickname, Niger, means black or dark.
Lucius was from an area in present day Lybia.
Manaen was politically connected and a "lifelong friend of Herod" Antipas.
Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, had been a Pharisee and persecutor of believers in Christ.

Only God could have put this group together.  Their unity was based on their mutual faith and commitment to Jesus.

Sending out the team of Barnabas and Saul was not just an opportunity they planned.  It was a calling, or summons, of the Holy Spirit after much prayer and fasting.

Their first mission took them to through Barnabas' home territory of Cyprus.  Almost immediately they are met with demonic opposition.  It is at this incident that Saul became known as Paul for the first time and appears to assume the leadership.  As a side note, John (also known by his Latin name, Mark, the writer of the second Gospel and a cousin of Barnabas) went home.  From Cyprus, the missionaries journeyed to and preached in Pamphylia.  Then, they went further north to Pisidia in the larger area known as Galatia.

When Paul preached, it resulted in three responses:
1. The Gentiles rejoiced "glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."
2. The Jews rallied influential leaders and the people to persecute Paul and Barnabas.  They were driven out of town.
3. "The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

Faithfully serving God in the face of opposition is turned to joy when we get to see lives changed for eternity.

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