1. Intro: We are actually going back to the beginning of the time of persecution. Before we were following Paul's narrative with his conversion up until God's message to Peter to go to the Gentiles. Now we are going to be looking at Paul and Barnabas as the missions to the Gentiles really reach out from their home base in Antioch. Today we are going to be covering a few different things
1. Barnabas and Saul in the early church at Antioch.
2. The early church being visited by prophets and their response.
3. The death of James and capture of Peter by Herod.
4. Peter's miraculous release from Jail.
2. Acts 11:19-26
1. Subject: Barnabas and Saul in Antioch
1. Barnabas called to Antioch
1. Some men were speaking and preaching Jesus to the Hellenist.
2. The hand of the Lord was on them, and many believed.
1. It is necessary for any work to be done through the power of Jesus.
1. John 15:1-8
3. Barnabas was from Cyprus
1. Spoke Greek and understood the culture.
2. The church in Jerusalem very naturally chose someone who would be effective for ministry there.
1. Barnabas had already been an effective witness for them in the report and introduction of Saul.
2. Barnabas searching for Saul
1. Barnabas had already heard Paul teach
1. Acts 9:27
2. Barnabas wasn't trying to be something that he wasn't. He was an encourager and you can lead to some degree through encouraging because that is needed. Barnabas also understood that the people needed to grow through the teaching of the word of God.
3. Acts 11:27-30
1. Subject: Response to the Prophets
1. A prophet in those times were in this sense an office and a group of people within the Christian community that would share God's predictive word.
2. God sent word through prophets and the believers responded in faith.
3. Remember how important it is to be willing to listen to God's word, either through our own study time or even through others (backed up by scripture and in context).
4. We have two signs of a mature fellowship:
1. Responding in faith to God's word
4. Acts 12:1-4
1. Subject: Herod martyrs the early church
1. Herod kills James the greater and takes Peter captive
5. Acts 12:5-19
1. Subject: Peter is freed from jail.
1. Peter expected it to be a vision.
1. This wasn't a hindrance to Peter but he wasn't used to God leading this way. He expected it to be a vision.
2. The believers praying didn't had enough faith to pray but not that Peter would actually be delivered.
1. This is interesting because God doesn't have to wait on our faith to answer prayer.
6. Conclusion: We may be struggling with what God wants us to do and why he has given us the likes that we have. We may wonder why our life situations are the way they are, but remember that God has gifted each one of us beyond our understanding to be able to minister to people in the way that He knows is best. Also, how we respond to how God is working in our lives right now is a great test or check of maturity. The two ways in our text today that showed great maturity from the church was:
1. Receiving God's word
2. Responding appropriately through giving.