And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 14 and 15 (Lesson 13) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 14.24-28.
We might wonder why Paul and Barnabas didn’t go back to Cyprus, to check on the work there. Cyprus seems merely to have been a stopover on the way to the Asian mainland. We don’t read of any converts there, except for the proconsul Sergius Paulus. The apostles decided to head back to Antioch after having retraced their steps, except for Cyprus. They obviously felt a need to report on their work to their “home church.”
1. The church in Antioch of Syria had graciously sent Paul and Barnabas out, so they would have wanted to hear about the results of their sacrifice. The focus of the report was on the work God did in bringing many Gentiles to faith. We see a couple of principles at work here, one of accountability and one of unity. Explain.
2. Peter may have been in Antioch at this time, when his confrontation with Paul probably occurred over the status of the Gentiles in the Christian movement. Read the account in Galatians 2.11-13. Why was it important that Paul should confront Peter so firmly?
3. Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch for “a long time,” no doubt continuing to strengthen the churches there through their preaching and teaching. How would this time in Antioch have benefited both the churches and Paul and Barnabas?
4. We see how important it was to the apostles that churches be established and put in order. Christ’s agenda is to build His Church (Matt. 16.18), and the book of Acts shows us what this, the ongoing work of Christ, involves. Acts provides a template for launching, establishing, and dispersing the work of the Kingdom through churches that are properly ordered for worship, shepherding, disciple-making, and witness. How does your own church fit into this template? Would you describe your church as actively contributing to the ongoing work of Christ? In what ways?
5. What are some things your church could do to become more like the church in Antioch in pursuing the ongoing work of Christ?
The work of the Kingdom – reconciling the world to God – comes through the Church, and local churches as expressions of the one worldwide Body of Christ. We can learn much from what we’ve seen in Paul’s first missionary journey about the local church and the ongoing work of Christ. What are some lessons that occur to you? What is the place of the church in the ongoing work of Christ? How should churches be ordered for this work? How can we tell when they’re actually contributing to it?
Those who trust in the LORD
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
And to those who are upright in their hearts.
As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways,
The LORD shall lead them away
With the workers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel!
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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