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Scripture Reading: Acts 11:21-26

The Faith is Defended and Extended

(Acts 11)



1.  The inclusion of Gentiles in the kingdom of God was completely consistent with Christ’s teaching, Matt. 8:10-11; 21:43.

2.  Resistance is answered with facts/truth that could not be contradicted.

3.  The gospel spreads in Gentiles regions, so much so that Gentile Christians freely give to help relieve Jewish brethren in time of crisis.



  A.  Peter’s Conduct is Challenged, 11:3.

  B.  Peter Answers with a Deliberate and Detailed Narrative, 11:4-18.

    1.  An orderly rehearsal of the events, 11:4.

    2.  Peter preached saving words to lost souls and God confirmed this as legitimate, 11:14-17.

  C.  The Brethren are Satisfied, 11:18; cf. 15:8-9 (Gal. 3:11-12, 26-27).

  D.  A Pattern when a Dispute Arises (cf. Jude 3).

    1.  When in doubt, ask! 11:3; cf. 1 Ths. 5:21

    2.  When questioned, give a Bible answer, 11:4; 1 Pet. 3:15.

      a.  Deliberately, thoroughly from God’s word, 1 Pet. 4:11 (Rom. 4:3).

      b.  Trust God’s word to give a sufficient answer, 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (7).

    3.  When answers are given, compare them to the truth (God’s word), 11:18 (1 Jno. 4:1; 1 Ths. 5:22). Draw conclusions based on truth and not assumptions, prejudices, malice, selfishness...sinful motives.

    4.  Accept and conform ourselves to the revealed truth of God, 11:18.

        -Humble ourselves before God (they became silent). Acts 17:12



  A.  Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, 11:19.

    1.  Persecuted Christians traveled northward, preaching (8:4).

      a.  Phoenicia: Present-day Lebanon.

      b.  Cyprus:  Island in Mediterranean Sea of coast of Phoenicia.

      c.  Antioch: Capital city of the province of Syria.

        (1)  3rd largest city in Roman Empire. (about 200,000 pop.)

        (2)  A melting pot between the East and the West.

        (3)  Commercial hub; celebrated for its idolatry, luxury and vice.

    2.  The dispersed Jewish Christians had preached the gospel only to Jews, 11:19 (unclean, unaccepta­ble, Acts 10:27-28; 11:2-3).

    3.  Remember, much of this work was going on at the same time Philip was preaching in Samaria (Acts 8), Saul was preaching in Damascus, Arabia, Jerusalem and Tarsus (Acts 9); and Peter was preaching at Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea (Acts 9-10).

    4.  Now a significant shift: Hellenist Jews preach to Gentiles, 11:20.

  B.  Many Gentiles Converted to Christ, 11:21. (turned to the Lord)

    1.  Preaching “the word” (11:19) is preaching “the Lord Jesus” (11:20), which converted both Jews and Gentiles, cf. Eph. 2:17-18.

    2.  Note: Believing and turning are two different things, cf. Jno. 1:12; Acts 10:35.

  C.  News Spreads and Jerusalem Church Sends a Worker, 11:22-24.

    1.  How a church works in evangelism: Send a preacher (dependable, faithful).

    2.  Barnabas: Rejoiced (11:23), Responded (11:23), Reinforced (11:24-26a); Remained (11:26b).

      a.  Retrieves Saul from Tarsus, 11:25 (9:30).

      b.  Whole year: Edifying the church and preaching to the lost, 11:26.

    3.  Disciples called Christians first in Antioch (11:26): Followers of Christ (of, pertaining to, belonging to).

      a.  Called: “to be called or named” (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures).

      b.  Identified these disciples with the Hebrew Messiah (the message they were preaching and the faith they were living).

      c.  Most likely named such by the Hellenists (Jews would not choose a word that associated Jesus’ disciples to the Christ, Acts 24:5; 28:22).



  A.  God Tells the Christians of an Approaching Famine, 11:27-28.

    -Days of Claudius Caesar (A.D. 41-44): Famine from A.D. 44-48.

  B.  Good Will Produces Free Will Giving to Relieve their Brethren in Judea, 11:29.

    1.  Notable that Gentiles took the initiative to relieve Jews, Gal. 3:28Eph. 4:4. One in Christ, with common faith and love.

    2.  Spiritual blessings occasioned material relief, cf. Rom. 15:26-27.

    3.  Note: Relief was for Judea brethren, not only Jerusalem, 11:29.

    4.  Sent to the elders (in Judea) by Barnabas and Saul, 11:29; 12:25 (Acts 26:20).



1.  The gospel made dramatic advances in and around Antioch as Gentiles heard, believed and obeyed the gospel of Christ.

2.  The persecution continues, though, and Acts 12 brings our attention back to that reality, as well as to God executing His justice upon an evil man.



By: Joe R. Price

Posted: July 16, 2013