Bible Characters Power Point Show
Scripture Reading: Acts 22:17-21
Journeys of the Apostle Paul
(To Syria & Antioch: Sent to the Gentiles)
1. Acts 9:29-30 – Under threat of death, the brethren sent Saul to Tarsus.
2. Acts 22:17-21 – The Lord was sending Saul to the Gentiles.
I. SENT TO THE GENTILES (Acts 22:21; 26:17).
A. Paul Goes Home to Tarsus –Acts 9:30 (Gal. 1:21).
1. Tarsus (Saul’s birthplace) of Cilicia (province of Asia Minor).
2. We are not told what kind of reception Saul had when he went home.
3. Cf. the difficulty of “going home” with the gospel – Matt. 13:53-57 (Lk. 4:24). (Not taken seriously; message not accepted, etc.)
4. Family’s reaction to the gospel is a challenge to our faith – Matt. 10:34-38.
B. In the Meantime…the Gospel is Spreading into Additional Gentile Regions – Acts 11:19-24.
1. Persecution scattered saints – Acts 8:4; 11:19.
a. Phoenicia – Present-day Lebanon.
b. Cyprus – Island in the Mediterranean of the Syrian coast.
c. Antioch – Capital city of province of Syria (3rd largest city in the Roman Empire; melting pot of East & West).
2. Jesus preached to Greeks (11:19-21) – First, they were only preaching to Jews; Then also to Hellenists (Greeks); Lord blessed this work w/ His power (miracles) & many were saved.
a. Preaching the Lord Jesus – cf. Acts 8:5, 12, 35.
b. Note: Believed and turned (Believing & turning are two distinct actions) – cf. Jno. 1:12; Acts 2:37-38; 3:19.
3. Barnabas sent to Antioch by the Jerusalem church – 11:22-24.
a. Right for churches to send preachers to other areas of work (no autonomy violated!) – 11:22.
b. The work of Barnabas in Antioch:
1) Rejoiced in the grace of God – 11:23.
2) Responded by encouraging them to grow & continue – 11:23.
3) Reinforced the gospel work being done there – 11:24-26a. (He labored for the well-being of souls, not personal honor.)
4) Remained active in the work there – 11:26b.
C. Barnabas Found Saul & Brought Him to Antioch – 11:25-26.
1. Spent whole year there & taught many people.
2. Disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
a. Disciple – Learner & adherent to his Master’s teaching.
b. “ian” (“of or pertaining to”) – Christian is one who is of or pertains to Christ (belongs to Christ) – 1 Pet. 4:16. (Christian produced by gospel persuasion, Acts 26:28).
c. Called – A divine utterance, descriptive of one’s business or activity (cf. Rom. 7:3) – Followers of Christ.
d. Name given by God (Isa. 62:2-4, 12); “Christian” proclaims that a disciple is wholly dedicated to the will of Christ in his/her life!
D. Lessons for Us:
1. Don’t be discouraged when people reject the gospel. (cf. Hellenist Jews in Jerusalem trying to kill Saul.)
2. Look for new opportunities for the gospel. (Acts 22:21; 11:19-21)
3. Good & honest hearts still exist & will receive the gospel. (11:26)
4. Christ will bless the faithful work of His servants. (11:21, 24, 26)
5. Disciples belong to Christ, not the world. (11:26)
II. SAUL PREACHES THROUGHOUT JUDEA – Acts 11:27-30; 12:25.
-(Saul still unknown by face in Judea, but that was about to change, Gal. 1:22-23.)
A. Worldwide Famine Predicted by Prophet Agabus – 11:27-28.
-(Happened in 44 AD (reign of Claudius Caesar, 41-54 AD.)
B. Antioch Saints Responded with Relief to the Brethren – 11:29-30.
1. Determined: Purpose of heart (cf. 11:23).
2. According to their ability: Responded per ability.
3. Send relief to their brethren: The church sent to fellow saints.
4. In Judea: Not just Jerusalem (9:31).
5. Sent to the elders: Overseers of the churches in Judea.
6. By the hands of Barnabas & Saul: Messengers for Antioch church.
a. Paul opportunity to become known by Judean brethren.)
b. Fulfilled their service – 12:25.
c. Took John Mark with them back to Antioch – 12:25. (Son of Mary, 12:12; Cousin of Barnabas, Col. 4:10).
C. Lessons for Us:
1. The test of a prophet, Acts 11:27-28 (Deut. 18:22).
2. Ability + opportunity determines response, 2 Cor. 8:12 (Gal. 6:10).
“Had they been characterized by the selfishness of our own age, they would have said, ‘Let us see first how severe the famine is going to be with ourselves and our immediate neighbors; and then, if we have anything to spare, we will send it to our more distant brethren.” (McGarvey, 230)
3. First example of one church cooperating with other churches in benevolence.
4. Be disciples who can be depended on to faithfully serve, 11:30.
5. Training younger men is an important & vital work, 12:25.
Saul has embarked on new fields of labor: Lift up our eyes! (Jno. 4:34-35)