The Church in Antioch
Text: Acts 11:19-30
I. The text of Acts now switches to focus on Saul, who later is known as Paul.
II. The persecution that started with the death of Stephen has scattered Christians beyond the boundaries of Israel. They have gone to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch
A. However, the scattered Christians only spoke to fellow Jews.
B. Except in Antioch. There some from Cyprus and Cyrene began to teach Greeks.
1. Hence, this became the first congregation founded with both Jews and Greeks.
2. It grew rapidly
III. Word of the new congregation reached the church in Jerusalem and Barnabas was sent to give them aid.
A. Remember Barnabas had the nickname “son of encouragement.” He was the perfect man to help with a new work.
B. He lived up to his name. After arriving, he was filled with joy at the work that was accomplished and began to encourage them further to remain true to the truth.
C. The congregation continued to grow and Barnabas realized that he needed help.
IV. Barnabas left to fetch Saul, the man he introduced to the church in Jerusalem. Saul at this time was in Tarsus, his home town.
A. Saul returned with Barnabas and they worked together in Antioch for an entire year.
B. The church grew greatly and had the honor of being the first place where the disciples were called Christians.
1. It is noteworthy because it fulfilled a prophesy in Isaiah 62:1
C. Other came from Jerusalem, included prophets.
1. One, named Agabus, told of a worldwide famine that would come.
2. It was fulfilled in the reign of Claudius.
3. Jerusalem was especially affected by the famine and brethren from Antioch sent funds to Jerusalem to relieve the brethren there.
a. Saul and Barnabas were chosen as the messengers for this gift.