Summary: To help church members define four key reasons for Christian Education in the Church.
Sermon Text: Acts 11:19-30
Topic: Christian Education
Probing Question: Why should a church be educating people?
Key Word: reasons
Subject: reasons a church educates people
Aim: To help church members define four key reasons for Christian Education.
Sermon Title: The Best of the Best
Top Ten Lists. The best hockey players. The best football players. The best performers. The best dressed. Now can you imagine what a top ten list for churches would look like. Who would it include? Would their be any contemporary churches on the list or would they all be from the New Testament period?
One church that would definitely be on the list would be the church at Antioch.
Antioch is an excellent example of a church that had a heart for educating its people. The passage in Acts 11 gives us some key reasons why the Church needs to be involved in Christian education.
To Evangelize the Lost
19 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.
20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
Many were scattered because of the persecution and spread the message of the gospel to whereever they went. However, the message was often given only to other Jews. At Antioch we see the gospel shared with the gentiles and with great results. The men of Cyprus and Cyrene were enthusiastic about their faith and put into practice what they had learned with incredible results.
I recently read a story about a missionary in Africa who gave a Bible to an African man. When it was given to him, the man hugged it close and expressed great appreciation for the precious gift of God’s Word that the missionary had given him. But when the missionary saw him a few days later he noticed, much to his dismay, that the Bible looked like it was already falling apart, & that many of its pages were missing. The missionary asked him, "What happened? What did you do to your Bible? When I gave it to you I thought you considered it to be a treasured possession." The man replied. "Indeed, it is a very precious possession. It is the finest gift I have ever received. It is so precious that when I returned to my village I very carefully chose a page & tore it out & gave it to my mother. Then I tore out another page & gave it to my father. And I tore out another page & gave it to my wife. Finally, I gave a page of God’s Word to everybody who lives in my village." We may smile at that, but what a testimony! The message of God’s Word was so wonderful to him that he wanted to share it with everyone he knew!
Evangelism happens best when Christians are enthusiastic.
To Encourage the Saved
22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch.
23 Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;
24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.
When I look at this passage I can see God’s hand at work. God could see the need to send a man such as Barnabas to this new Church start. The first thing Barnabas does is rejoice and then he encouraged them. Barnabas saw God at work and could see the possibilities (the potential) of this new gentile church.
Charles Osgood told the story of two ladies who lived in a convalescent center. Each had suffered an incapaciting stroke. Margaret’s stroke left her left side restricted, while Ruth’s stroke damaged her right side. Both of these ladies were accomplished pianists but had given up hope of ever playing again.
The director of the center sat them down at a piano and encouraged them to play solo pieces together. They did, and a beautiful friendship developed.
What a picture of the church’s needing to work together! What one member cannot do alone, perhaps two or more could do together-in harmony.
Encouragement happens best when Christians can see the possibilities.
To Equip the Saints
25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul;