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The Call Of Barnabas And Saul (13:1-3)

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Notes & Transcripts
Today we are going to pick back up with our study of the book of Acts. We spent a long time in this book last year but then stepped away from it for a while to cover some other things that I felt God was telling me we needed to talk about. But now it’s time to get back into this history of how the church began. Now we’ve got quite a bit of the book left and there is a lot of stuff to talk about in the section of the book that remains, so I don’t know if we will be able to finish it before my transfer this summer, but we’re going to get as far through it as we can in the time we have remaining. And then maybe the chaplain that follows me can pick up and finish out whatever remains.
So we need to remember where we are.
INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION
1. In , Luke described the commission Jesus gave to His apostles...
apostles...
Acts 1:8 CSB
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
a. What - To be witnesses to Him
a. To be witnesses to Him
b. Where - In Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth
2. Thus far in his historical account, Luke has described how the commission was fulfilled...
commission was fulfilled...
a. In Jerusalem -
b. In all Judea and Samaria -
3. The rest of Luke's account focuses on the ministry of the apostle Paul...
Paul...
a. Saul of Tarsus, former persecutor of the church, now apostle to the Gentiles
Gentiles
b. It’s in this section of the book of Acts where we truly see the gospel taken "to the end of the earth"
the end of the earth"
Now if you’ll recall, we finished up the last message that we had in with the story of Peter being rescued from prison, yet again, and then Herod’s death because he did not give glory to God and then Barnabas and Saul and John Mark return to Jerusalem. We pick up at the beginning of chapter 13
Barnabas and John Mark (), with a special call by the Holy
Acts 13:1–3 CSB
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.
[His first journey began soon after returning to Antioch of Syria with Barnabas and John Mark (), with a special call by the Holy Spirit...]
Spirit...]
I. THE CALL OF BARNABAS AND SAUL
I. THE CALL OF BARNABAS AND SAUL
A. THE CHURCH IN ANTIOCH...
1. Started by men from Cyprus and Cyrene, by way of Jerusalem -
11:19-21
Acts 11:19–21 CSB
19 Now those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
2. Strengthened first by Barnabas alone, then later by Barnabas and Saul -
Acts 11:22–26 CSB
22 News about them reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord. 25 Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul, 26 and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
11:22-26
3. Blessed with a number of prophets and teachers -
3. Blessed with a number of prophets and teachers -
Acts 13:1 CSB
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
a. Barnabas, a Levite from Cyprus -
b. Simeon called Niger ("black"), presumably a black African, possibly Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus' cross cf. ; , or possibly the Ethiopian official that Philip baptized in -
possibly Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus' cross - cf. ;
23:26;
c. Lucius of Cyrene, also from North Africa - cf.
d. Manaen, brought up with Herod the tetrarch (this was the same Herod who is referred to as Herod Antipas, he was the man who killed John the Baptist and who tried Jesus) - ;
who killed John the Baptist and tried Jesus) - ;
e. Saul, from Tarsus in Cilicia - ;
B. THE CALL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT...
1. Came as they worshiped the Lord and fasted -
Acts 13:2 CSB
2 As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
2. The Spirit told them to separate Barnabas and Saul for the work He had for them -
2. The Spirit told them to separate Barnabas and Saul for the work He had for them -
He had for them -
3. With fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands, they are sent on their way -
on their way -
Acts 13:3 CSB
3 Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.
[And so Barnabas and Saul are "sent out by the Holy Spirit" (). As we continue in the book of Acts we’ll follow them as they make their way to the island of Cyprus. But for today, allow me to share some observations from these few verses we’ve focused on this morning.]
Our next study will follow them as they make their way to the island of
Cyprus. But for the rest of this study, allow me to share...]
II. SOME OBSERVATIONS
A. THE DIVERSITY OF THE CHURCH...
1. Note the racial, cultural and social diversity of the five prophets and teachers
prophets and teachers
2. Two from North Africa, one from Cyprus, one from Cilicia, one from Palestine
from Palestine
3. One was raised with royalty, another was wealthy, another a rabbi
rabbi
4. Isn't this the way churches should be? - cf.
Romans 10:12 CSB
12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him.
; ;
3:26-28;
Galatians 3:26–28 CSB
26 for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. 27 For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.
;
Colossians 3:11 CSB
11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.
5. Churches should reflect our oneness in Christ, not our society's divisions (e.g., white churches, black churches, Hispanic churches); unless language differences are too great
5. Churches should reflect our oneness in Christ, not our society's divisions (e.g., white churches, black churches, Hispanic churches); unless language differences are too great
divisions (e.g., white churches, black churches, Hispanic
churches); unless language differences are too great
B. THE PRINCIPLE OF SYNERGY...
1. Synergy: the working together of two things to produce a result greater than the sum of their individual effects
greater than the sum of their individual effects
2. Two (or more) working together can accomplish more than their working separately
working separately
3. Jesus believed in the principle of synergy -
Mark 6:7 CSB
7 He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
;
Luke 10:1 CSB
1 After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and he sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go.
;
4. Barnabas believed in the principle of synergy -
Acts 11:25–26 CSB
25 Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul, 26 and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
5. The Holy Spirit believed in the principle of synergy - ,
Acts 13:2 CSB
2 As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
,
Acts 13:4 CSB
4 So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
6. We do well to support teams of two or more, not just individuals working alone
working alone
C. THE PRACTICE OF FASTING...
We’ve talked about this principle before when we did the series of sermons last year on the Spiritual Disciplines. Fasting is something that is expected and is mentioned fairly often int he Bible.
1. Jesus said His disciples would fast, and taught them how to fast -
Matthew 9:14–17 CSB
14 Then John’s disciples came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one patches an old garment with unshrunk cloth, because the patch pulls away from the garment and makes the tear worse. 17 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Matthew 9:14–17 CSB
14 Then John’s disciples came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one patches an old garment with unshrunk cloth, because the patch pulls away from the garment and makes the tear worse. 17 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
;
- ;
;
Matthew 6:16–18 CSB
16 “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:16–18 CSB
16 “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
6:16-18
6:16-18
2. The church at Antioch fasted -
2. The church at Antioch fasted -
Acts 13:2–3 CSB
2 As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.
3. Elders were appointed with prayer and fasting -
3. Elders were appointed with prayer and fasting -
4. Paul wrote of spouses fasting and prayer during periods of separation -
Acts 14:21–23 CSB
21 After they had preached the gospel in that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” 23 When they had appointed elders for them in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
separation -
4. Paul wrote of spouses fasting and prayer during periods of separation -
5. Fasting in conjunction with prayer is suitable in the life of the Christian and the church
1 Corinthians 7:5 CSB
5 Do not deprive one another—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
the Christian and the church
5. Fasting in conjunction with prayer is suitable in the life of the Christian and the church
D. THE LAYING ON OF HANDS...
1. Used often in the appointment or dedication of service -
;
13:3
Acts 6:6 CSB
6 They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
Acts 13:3 CSB
3 Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.
2. Indicating acceptance and approval of those who have been selected by the congregation - cf. ; ;
selected by the congregation - cf. ; ;
2. Indicating acceptance and approval of those who have been selected by the congregation - cf.
Acts 6:1–6 CSB
1 In those days, as the disciples were increasing in number, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2 The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a convert from Antioch. 6 They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
1 Timothy 5:22 CSB
22 Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
; ;
;
Hebrews 6:2 CSB
2 teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
3. Beseeching God's blessing and protection on those who serve - e.g.,
- e.g.,
4. "...the imposition of hands, accompanied by fasting and prayer, was, in this case, as in that of the seven deacons [], merely their formal separation to the special work to which they had been called. This, indeed, is sufficiently evident from the context. What they did was doubtless what they had been told to do by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit simply said to them, 'Separate me Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them.' The fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands was, then, merely their separation to this work." - J. W. McGarvey, Commentary on Acts, commenting on
was, in this case, as in that of the seven deacons [],
merely their formal separation to the special work to which they
had been called. This, indeed, is sufficiently evident from the
context. What they did was doubtless what they had been told to
do by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit simply said to them,
'Separate me Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have
called them.' The fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands was,
then, merely their separation to this work." - J. W. McGarvey,
Commentary on Acts, commenting on
5. "It was a ceremony deemed by infinite wisdom suitable to such a purpose; and, therefore, whenever a congregation has a similar purpose to accomplish, they have, in this case, the judgments and will of God, which should be their guide." - J.W. McGarvey, ibid.
purpose; and, therefore, whenever a congregation has a similar
purpose to accomplish, they have, in this case, the judgments
and will of God, which should be their guide." - J.W. McGarvey,
ibid.
CONCLUSION
1. Thus Barnabas and Saul are sent out on their missionary journey...
a. Separated and sent out by the Holy Spirit Himself to the task before them
before them
b. With fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands by those left behind
behind
2. Barnabas and Saul will return to the church of Antioch of Syria...
a. It will serve as the point of departure for Paul's three missionary journeys
journeys
b. As Saul, soon to be called Paul (), does his part in fulfilling the Great Commission
fulfilling the Great Commission
Thousands of years later and thousands of miles away, we benefit from the work of those willing to go (and willing to send). May their example encourage us to do our part today in spreading the Gospel...
Thousands of years later and thousands of miles away, we benefit from
the work of those willing to go (and willing to send). May their
Would you pray with me?
example encourage us to do our part today in spreading the Gospel...
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