How did you become part of Christ’s kingdom? Who did God use to tell you the gospel? Do you know who told the person who told you? Some people might be able to answer that, but most probably can’t. Want to keep going? Who told the person who told the person who told you? Hmmm… now it gets pretty fuzzy, doesn’t it?
Yet, with rare exception, there has been a chain of God’s people telling the gospel to people who also became God’s people. If we could trace this chain of “gospelizers” back far enough, you know where it would take 99% of us? It would take us back to Antioch. You see, it was in Antioch that the gospel broke into the pagan Gentile world. It was in Antioch that people who had no connection at all to Judaism and the Bible of the Jews (the Old Testament) first heard the gospel and became followers of Jesus Christ.
Join Pastor Larry McCall in Acts 11:19-30 as we look at this history-changing paradigm-shift of taking the gospel to outright pagans in Antioch. It was led by ordinary people, people’s whose names are lost to everyone but God Himself. Our extraordinary God used ordinary people to accomplish an extraordinary result. It’s encouraging to think about. It reminds us that we serve a great and gracious God!
1. The gospel went to the Gentiles through some unnamed heroes of the faith (11:20-21). These were “ordinary” people who had the hand of God with them. The end result? Extraordinary fruit! If you feel like an “ordinary” Christian (not an orator), how might you be used to take the gospel to someone? Anyone in particular on your heart that the group can pray for?
2. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement.” He seems to be marked as a person who looked for God’s grace in people’s lives rather than someone who looked for people’s shortcomings. Have you had an encourager in your life at some point? How might you be an encourager?
3. Read Hebrews 13:7. We can learn from godly people who are no longer with us (like Barnabas). Have you had a mentor who has influenced you in your walk with Christ? Have you been impacted in a special way by a Christian biography? Spend some time praying to be an encourager to other believers, especially younger believers?
4. There are other lessons in this passage about Christian generosity. There are churches that could use our help right now, especially in countries where persecution is rampant: CAR, Pakistan, northern Nigeria and others. It would be good to pray for the persecuted church and to pray for ideas on how we might help them.