Summary: Mission is nothing but helping one another to live a healthy, blessed life. First mission is to introduce Christ as savior then to see that person lives with all sufficiency and helping that person to overcome economic crises and other physical needs. Helping to the poor is another mission.
Text: Acts 11:23-30
Theme: GIVE TO MISSIONS
Mission is nothing but helping one another to live a healthy, blessed life. First mission is to introduce Christ as savior to somebody and the second mission is to see that person lives with all sufficiency and helping that person to overcome economic crises and other physical needs. Helping to the poor is another mission. throughout the generation the Churches go through these kind of situations.
1. Remain true to the Lord v. 23
Barnabas v. 22,24: He was a Good man. He was a man full of Holy Spirit and faith. He brought a great number of people to the Lord. He was a man of Sympathy (Acts 4:36-37) and , Broad mindedness (Acts 9:26-27). and Gifted with Exhortation (Acts 11:23) and Trust worthy (Acts 11:29-30). He was fine looking (Acts 14:12), He adapted to missionary work (Acts 13:2) and learned and exercised the self-supporting ministry (1 Corinthians 9:6). He was used as an instrument by the Jerusalem and Antioch Churches.
Evidence of the Grace of God v. 23.a:
This verse gives us the background of the time of persecution in those days. Their faith was ridiculed. Disciples were mocked and beaten and threatened by authorities. People were living with fear of power and rulers. Some even denied their faith and ran away from the truth. It’s true that our life passes to the very extremities, and every cluster swells and reddens and mellows because of its mysterious flow. It is possible for man’s will to frustrate grace.
Barnabas saw the grace of God. He saw the invisible quality in the visible persons. We can’t see the breeze, gravity, trees grow and etc., but can understood and feel them. Where the grace of God is, virtue supersedes vice, holiness displaces wickedness, the liar becomes truthful, the blasphemer turns reverent, the cruel changed into merciful, the selfish upsides as beneficent; God’s grace transforms the lion of violence and vice into the lamb of innocence and uprightness.
Remain true to the Lord with all their hearts v. 23.b:
Barnabas taught them to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. The “heart” is a strange thing. It is like a very complicated machine, which carries within it tremendous powers. If those powers are left to work loosely, without government, without direction, the confusion, the distraction, the misery is incalculable.
But the call was to continue in union and fellowship with Christ, and to be faithful in keeping his truth, and obedient in the practice of it (Adam Clark). With a firm, settled resolution, main object, intention (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:10) in regard to future conduct, be a regular, fixed, determined plan or design in their minds that they would henceforward adhere to God (Albert Barnes). Rather than be a hasty and fickle discipleship.
"Purpose of heart", "Resolute heart", "To make up their minds", "With fixed resolve". This phrase suggests that after an initial joy and excitement in becoming a Christian enthusiasm may wane soon (Matthew 13:21). Constant aim, Deliberate effort, Diligent exercise in our hearts for to be loyal to stick close to Christ(Proverbs 4:23). Only in this way temptations of a morally evil society be overcome.
The glow of the first enthusiasm and the first love must be revived and has to stay firm. Persistency in piety in the pagan world is a great challenge. We don’t promote an abstract and impersonal Christ but a Christ who is real, living, personal and subjective (James Nishbet)
2. Disciples Called Christians v. 25-26
Antioch: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch are three prominent metropolis in Roman Empire. Barnabas was from Cyprus (4:36). Platonists and Pythagoreans had their names from their masters Plato and Pythagorean. It was the customs in the Greek world and hence the Christians were called so.
History: "at the beginning of the reign of Claudius Caesar, ten years after Jesus Christ ascended up into heaven, Evodus, the first bishop of Antioch after the Apostle Peter, and under him they were called Christians before that Christians were called Nazarenes and Galileans.'
They were in the habit of styling each other believers, disciples, saints, brethren, those of the way. The names Galileans Acts 2:7, Nazarenes Acts 24:5, Puritan, Quaker, Methodist, etc., have been given by their enemies as nick names, but this name CHRISTIAN was given in honour of and respect because of their truthful confession of Christ and confrontation with other faiths and consistency of their fellowship. It is an honoured name - the most honourable appellation that can be conferred on a mortal. Acts 26:28, “Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuades me to be a Christian”; 1 Peter 4:16 “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed.”
The name has come to them because of their identical behaviours, identical thinking and identical deeds and doing things accordingly to the master. All the traits, characters reflected their masters. They attended their regular teachings and followed their doctrines. we receive him as chosen Leader, the source of blessings, the author of salvation, the fountain of joys.