Summary: Men learning to love
Topical Sermon: Men Learning to Love
INTRODUCTION: Acts 13 and 14 tell the story of Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey. They return to Antioch from their relief mission to Jerusalem to spend a considerable time with the Antioch Church in preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and worshipping God.
In the opening statements of Chapter 13 Luke gives us another glimpse of the profile of those who "were first called Christians at Antioch".
Barbabas was a Jew from the island of Cyprus.
Simeon’s Roman name is given, probably indicating his experience with Roman culture. It has been widely accepted to mean dark skinned.
Lucius hailed from Cyrene in North Africa
Manaen grew up with royalty. His aristocratic background must have been quite an interesting addition to the Church at Antioch.
If we take nothing else from this group of men we must recognize the universal and unifying nature of the Gospel. Only Christ can bring together men of so different backgrounds. In case you haven’t notice men in general are not noted for their ability to exist in harmony with each other.
I am a male carnivore. First, I protect my hunting grounds from other predators of my type. My hunting grounds secured, I turn my attention to others of my species. Rising before the others of my den, I normally begin my pre-dawn vigil with various loud and echoing actions that bring the rest of the pride to their first levels of the day’s consciousness. I’m awake why aren’t you? Though the pride is aroused, it often takes further words and deeds of encouragement to motivate the younger members and their female leaders into effective action. (biting snarling, head butting) As the pride pushes out of the den into their assigned sectors for the morning hunt, I proudly ease my way into an over watch position. The sun now rises slowly and methodically until it reveals the full glory of my presence.
Of course this is the man of the world. A sharp contrast to the glory God can reveal in a true man of Christ. We pause today to consider the difference. Next week we launch into the 1st missionary journey of these men.
Our need to pause at this point in the Scriptures is brought to our attention mostly in reaction to our Thursday Night Bible Study. This past Thursday Night we spent a considerable amount of time discussing the Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. We by no means put the issue to rest but we all grew substantially in our understanding of how we are created in the image and likeness of God.
As men of Christ we accept a burden of leadership and authority not only in our homes but in this church family as well. Our charge is to serve this congregation in the same manner as Christ served this world. We are to serve this church in the same manner as the prophets and teachers listed at the beginning of Acts 13. In general this passage doesn’t appear to tell us much more than they ministered, fasted and fulfilled the roles of prophets and teachers.
My point to you today is that these roles were not accomplished easily. Each of these men, all from vastly different backgrounds, joined hands (and knees) in Antioch to accomplish a vision most congregations will never see. The evangelization of the Greek speaking world began with this church in Antioch. This church had eyes to see and ears to hear the voice of the Lord calling the nations to salvation. This church dispelled the dark clouds of pagan rituals with the Truth about Jesus. This church taught people to worship in spirit and in truth. This church never failed to put its mission first.