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What a mixture of folks the Lord brought together there in Antioch! There was Barnabas, a Levite from the island of Cyprus, Simeon or Niger (a Roman), Lucius of Cyrene (from what is now modern Libya, Manaen who was a foster brother of Herod Antipas (He is best known today for accounts in the New Testament of his role in events that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth) and Saul (of Tarsus, former persecuter and now a preacher of the Gospel)
c. The behavior of the church
Act 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
They were called Christians here and in only two other places in the NT. The reason for this title as opposed to Galileans, or Nazarenes is not given but we can assume that it was given to them on account of their behavior. Their conduct was similar to that of Jesus who was the Christ!
II. The Practices of a Great Commission Church
a. It was service oriented
This was a church that was regularly involved in “…ministering to the Lord…” This word means that they were teaching, preaching, praying, fasting and other things that we normally associate with Christian service. These believers weren’t lazy or apathetic. They were serious about church!
b. It was Spirit led
Notice that “…as…” they were doing the aforementioned things the Holy Spirit gave direction. So often we make plans and then ask God to bless them when we ought to be patient and He will reveal His will to us!
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
c. It was surrendered to the Will of God
There was no hesitation on the part of the church even though it meant that they would be depriving themselves of these two great men of God, there contribution to the work there in Antioch and their fellowship. There willingness to give up these men of God for the greater good is noteworthy.
The First Billionaire
ILL: The very first person to reach the status of billionaire was a man who knew how to set goals and follow through. At the age of 23, he had become a millionaire, by the age of 50 a billionaire. Every decision, attitude, and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth. But three years later at the age of 53 he became ill.
His entire body became racked with pain and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. An associate wrote, "He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him." His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year.
That year passed agonizingly slow. As he approached death he awoke one morning with the vague remembrances
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