The Evangelizing Church

The Gospel is for all people everywhere!

Jesus said his disciples would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to all parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). True to Jesus‘s words, the first 10 chapters of The Acts of the Apostles are about the early churches in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, with a mention of the Church in Damascus (Acts 9:19). The earliest out reach of the Church to Gentiles was the apostle Peter‘s ministry to the Gentiles at Cornelius‘s house in Caesarea, Judah (Acts 10). This lesson brings us to the point at which the Church began evangelizing Gentiles in places far from Jerusalem and Judea. Not long after this, Gentile believers in Christ outnumbered Jewish believers in Christ.

GOLDEN TEXT: Acts 11:18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.


A. Many Gentiles Converted

Acts 11:19  Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice (845 miles), and Cyprus (255 miles), and Antioch (495 miles), preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

11:20  And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene (North Africa 783 miles), which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

11:21  And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

11:22  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

11:23  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave (adhere, abide, persevere) unto the Lord.

…….Barnabas encouraged the new believers in Christ to cleave, or persevere, to this new found life changing conversion. He knew that there would be trials ahead for these new Gentile believers, and though the road would be trying at times, the only true peace and continuation of what they had experienced would have to come through perseverance! (Persevere: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success) We must persevere!

11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

…….With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Barnabus quickly proved himself to a strange community of believers. His character and attitude toward the Gentile converts must have been Christ-like to have been able to make such a trusted impact.

B. Teaching the Gentiles

11:25  Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

11:26  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

…….I’m sure without a shadow of doubt, that Barnabas’ work was cut out for him. There were numbers uncountable being converted, and he needed someone to help disciple these new believers. Everything that the Lord had accomplished through Saul who was now called Paul was no secret amongst the Christians, not only his conversion, but also his growth in the Lord and desire to evangelize.

While Barnabas was one of the first great missionaries, he was the leg that kickstarted Paul’s ministry which is most documented as being more influential than any others throughout the word. Just imagine the thoughts that must have flooded Barnabas’ mind to see such success, and know that he himself was a huge part of Paul’s beginnings. It’s not about us saints!


A. Peter Released From Prison

12:1  Now about that time Herod (Herod Agrippa 1, grandson of Herod that tried to kill Jesus) the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

12:2  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

12:3  And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

12:4  And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

12:5  Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

12:6  And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.

12:7  And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

12:8  And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

12:9  And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.

…….Can you imagine being encountered by an angel in a circumstance as this and having to blink yourself into realization?!!!

12:10  When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.

12:11  And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

…….He literally walked through 3 gates and landed on the street before he realized this was no vision, but reality! This will preach right here!…….Many times the Lord sends help to free people from their prisons, and because of denial they walk right back to them! Because they have found a sense of security in their misery and bondage, they keep the prison in sight rather than finishing the walk! Did Peter walk back to the prison when he realized he was free? Absolutely not! Even though there was a risk of being in more trouble, His next steps of faith are the steps that lead to his spiritual success!

12:12  And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

12:13  And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.

12:14  And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

12:15  And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

12:16  But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

…….When people don’t believe your deliverance, don’t stop knocking! God has plans for your life that even your closest family won’t believe, even in the midst of it, but don’t stop pursuing!

12:17  But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.

B. Herod Blasphemes and Dies

12:20  And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country.

12:21  And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.

12:22  And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.

12:23  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

…….Do not fear those that are set against you! Anyone who publicly denounced God’s glory will fail. Though the persecution seemed great, the revivals that resulted were much greater! When someone comes against you, just know that God is going to take your ruins and make them glorious!


A. Made Aware of Coming Famine

11:27  And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

11:28  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

……. Luke noted that Agabus’ prophecy was fulfilled during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius. According to extra-biblical sources, there were successive famines throughout the Roman empire in AD 44-45, and some were especially severe in Judea. This was a warning given to the Jewish believers to be prepared of what was to come.

B. Gentiles Respond to the Need

11:29  Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

11:30  Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

12:24  But the word of God grew and multiplied.

12:25  And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

…….Here is the first record of Gentiles sending relief to the lesser fortunate Jews. Paul’s letter to the Galatians in 2:10, said that it was requested that Paul was asked to encourage the Gentile believers to send relief, which they gladly did. Romans 15:26 speaks of contributing to the poor saints at Jerusalem, and 1 Corinthians 16:1, Paul spoke of “the collection of the saints.” Finally, at Pentecost, AD 58, Paul in Jerusalem, told of bringing “alms to my nation, and offerings” (Acts 24:17), no doubt referring to the offering brought for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

What was significant about the Gentiles being so willing send monetary help to the Jews? Because for generations the Jews thought the Gentiles to be unsaveable!

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