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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

The Gospel to Antioch

The Gentiles become fully involved. Acts 11.19-21

Mission to the Gentiles: Acts 11 (4)

Pray Psalm 67.1-3.
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.

Sing Psalm 67.1-3.
(Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
O bless us, Savior, by Your grace, and shine upon us with Your face,
that we Your way may loud proclaim and tell to all the earth Your fame!
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

Read Acts 11.1-21; meditate on verses 19-21.

Preparation
1. What did those who were scattered do?

2. To whom did they preach in Antioch?

Meditation

Peter’s ministry in Caesarea, and his report to the elders in Jerusalem, cleared the decks for what was already going on elsewhere and would, beginning in chapter 13, become the focus of the ongoing work of Christ. The Kingdom had broken out and was loose in the world.

People who were persecuted in Jerusalem went to other cities, perhaps seeking relatives or friends with whom to start their new lives. And wherever they went, they evangelized the Good News of Jesus – at first to Jews only, but increasingly, to Gentiles as well (vv. 19, 20). Here, unlike in Acts 6, the “Hellenists” are distinguished from the Jews. In Antioch the Gospel began to bear fruit among the Gentiles, as “the hand of the Lord” (v. 21) carried forward the work begun by Peter in this next stage of the Gospel’s expansion.

Notice the focus of the evangelizing: “preaching the Lord Jesus” (v. 20). The Good News is not so much about going to heaven when you die as it is that Jesus is Lord and King and Savior. Preach that, and the hand of the Lord will be with you to carry forward the ongoing work of Christ! Our salvation is as great (Heb. 2.3) as the reach of Christ’s Lordship.

Believing in and turning to the Lord – faith and repentance – is one complete action. Not believing in Jesus as Savior now, then turning to Him as Lord maybe later (maybe not?). It’s believing and turning to Jesus as Lord and Christ, just like Peter preached on that first Christian Pentecost.

The Good News is that Jesus the Lord and Christ has gained salvation for us, and calls us to repent and believe this Gospel, so that the presence, promise, and power of His Kingdom might be ours as surely as it was for the first believers.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
As sad and difficult as it must have been for the early Christians to be dispersed and displaced, they knew they had a calling, and they fulfilled it. Their joy in knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord took precedence even in their grievous situation.

How commendable. Really, how amazing.

They believed that they would face difficulties. Difficulties of dispersion and homelessness; death and destruction; overwhelming persecution. And yet, they still gossiped the gospel and did not lose hope.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8.31)
“When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back;
this I know, because God is for me” (Ps. 56.9).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Rom. 8.35)
“Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (Ps. 44.22).

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8.37).
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Is. 43.1).

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8.38, 39).
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Ps. 139.7)

As we are daily dispersed into our own Personal Mission Field, let us go with the same courage, enthusiasm, hope, and determination, that these early Christians did.

After all, we embrace the same beliefs. We have the same Spirit. And we cling to the same promises.

And the hand of the Lord will be with us, and great numbers will believe and turn to the Lord! (Acts 11.21)

For reflection

1. How should the example of these first Christians encourage us in our walk with and work for the Lord?

2. Are you prepared, ready, and eager to tell someone in your Personal Mission Field about the hope you have in Jesus (1 Pet. 3.15)? Explain.

3. Whom can you encourage today – by your example and words – to be bolder and more consistent in living as a witness for Christ?

The gospel proclaimed in Antioch would have had tremendous potential for reaching other areas of the world. Moreover, because the city was culturally diverse, it was not controlled by one religious group, making the people there more open to hearing the truth of the gospel message. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Acts 11.22, 23

Pray Psalm 67.4-7.
Pray for missionaries and pastors in other countries, that God might use them mightily to proclaim the Good News of His Kingdom. Pray for revival and a great awakening in our country and around the world.

Sing Psalm 67.4-7.
(Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Let all the nations gladly sing and joyous praise before You bring.
You judge them by Your holy worth and guide the nations of the earth.
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

The earth in full its bounty yields – the blessed harvest of the fields.
We gather blessings from Your Word that all the earth may fear You, Lord.
Refrain

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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