Acts 11:19-26 Acts 11 is an interesting chapter for many reasons, one of which is it is a pivotal chapter in the Bible as the focus shifts from Peter to Paul and from the message being given to the Jews to the audience now being the Gentiles. What you may have gotten in the past from what happened in Antioch: 1. People who turned to the Lord. They believed. They embraced the message of Jesus saving power. Jesus is the king. They turned to Him, as many of us have turned to the Lord.
2. These were growing saints. The hand of the Lord was upon them. We are all products of the Spirit, our lives have been transformed. Our lives are given a purpose. We need to have a sense of mission.
3. These people were given a new name, a fitting name, a name based upon their choice of who they would now serve, Christians. When those you know come in contact with you, who do they see? Do we reflect that name?
4. A thriving church. Considerable numbers were brought to the church. We need to stay focused on our mission, on the proper regard for other people. We need to beware of a haughty, judgmental spirit that places us at the pinnacle of perfection and the measure of goodness and perfection.
Most, if not all of these things, you may already know. So what might have we missed? That’s found in verse 23. Barnabas witnessed the grace of God. All kingdom results are attributable to the grace of God. When you see awesome things happening in Antioch, do not forget their source. Barnabas saw God transforming people and fashioning them into one body, despite their peculiarities. We see God employing vessels to advance His kingdom. Maybe you’ve also missed this. When you came into the building this morning what did you witness? Did you see the grace of God? Did you see people connected to God who want to put on the full armor of God? Did you see people desiring today do God’s will? Eph 5:1,2. Rom 5:2. Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God So what should this mean? If we understand we are products of the awesome grace of God, we should bring enthusiasm to the table. It ought to be a natural response. I am going to show my gratitude for what God has done for me. Luke 17:11-17. Grace should lead to grateful living. We have received of Jesus' fullness, something far greater than any amount of money we may be given. Eph 1:18, his grace was lavished upon us. Do we appreciate His grace? Does it invoke in us an excitement to serve Him and others?