Friday, July 9, 2021

The First Missionary Journey

Friday, July 9, 2021

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. Acts 13:48-49

The First Missionary Journey by Donnie O'Fallon

Acts Chapter 13 is the second division of Acts which deals with the great work of world evangelism. Up until this time the Church had been occupied with the work in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the rest of Palestine. Now we see the gospel beginning to reach out to the ends of the earth.

This chapter brings us to a new start in the Christian Missionary effort. In fact, it is the really the beginning of Christian missions, and in the truest sense, Paul’s first Mission Journey! The world’s first vision of world conquest was not in Jerusalem but in Antioch of Syria, a Gentile city in the north of Palestine. They preached Jesus to this idolatrous, Greek speaking population and they were brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, establishing the first Gentile church. In Acts 11:26 we read, “…and in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” It was there that Paul taught and discipled these new converts for one year. 

In this church we see six ministers, preaching, teaching, and ministering under the anointing and direction of the Holy Spirit. 

·      There was Barnabas the Levite, who sold all that he had and put it into the work of the Lord and ministered in Antioch. 

·      Then there was “Simeon that was called Niger, one of the outstanding men in the New Testament. God’s Spirit was working to break down all barriers, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty.”

·      We then read of Lucius of Cyrene, likely a Gentile. 

·      And then Manaen a Samaritan, probably of Syrian decent, he was nurtured in the corrupt Royal Court of Herod the tetrarch. God saved him, now he serves Jesus in the Church in Antioch. 

·      Last of all we have Saul, the former persecutor of the Christians, a Pharisee, a Hebrew who was miraculously and marvelously converted on the Road to Damascus. With the same zeal he once persecuted the People of God he now Proclaims the name of Jesus, the Name that’s above very Name. 

·      John Mark, a nephew of Barnabas, who for whatever reason turned back during this first Missionary Journey before its completion. Yet God used him later to write the First Gospel, MARK.

There is another verse tucked away, that’s worth noting. In Acts 13:36, the Scriptures record, “For David, after he served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers…” Paul’s first sermon at Antioch, He used Kind David as an illustration in that one verse to say four things:

1.    No One is Better Than Anyone Else: “David Served…” He could have said David was a good organizer, administrator, “a man after Gods own heart”, but he said, David was a “Servant.” It is worth noting this is a compound word from both a preposition which means, (under); and a verb which means, (row), the word put together means, UNDER ROWER. The greatest thing that could be said of us is we are, “under rowers”, who are servants of Jesus, and we serve Him and serve His people. Picture an ancient ship with oars under the main deck protruding out each side of the ship.

2.    Somewhere There’s A Job No One Can Do Like You Can:  He has, “called us out of utter darkness into His marvelous light.” We are here for a reason. Christianity is not a spectator sport. Paul’s calling, like David’s, was PERSONAL, PURPOSEFUL, PRACTICAL & PROVIDENTIAL.

3.    We Must Follow God’s Direction Not Man’s Tradition: We must work to PROCLAIM, EDUCATE, and CONFRONT our generation with the gospel of Christ. If we believe this Book, we know as The Bible, which was written in a middle eastern culture in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, has relevancy in a society that transplants human organs, experiments in genetic testing, and sends men to the moon and outer space, We Should Be Following His Direction to tell everyone the good news.

4.    We Exist For Those Who Are Out There, Who are Not In Here (His Kingdom), Yet. Dr. George W. Truett said, “Success is finding the will of God for your life, then doing it”. We are to carry the message of the Messiah until he comes again, To Those Who Are Out There, Who Are Not in Here (His Kingdom), Yet.


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