The Growth of the Church

Acts 11:19-26

v. 19—Because of the persecution some Christians fled to Phoenicia, Cypress, and Antioch. They preached the word, but their vision was limited. They preached to the Jews only.

v. 20—Some of those who came to Antioch were from Cyprus and Cyrene.

Cyprus was a large island in the northeast Mediterranean.

Cyrene was a port city on the northern coast of Africa.

Believers from these places brought the message to Antioch and they preached to the Gentiles.

The result was the establishing of a thriving church. Note the absence of officialism at Antioch. We do not know the names of any of the people used in this work.

Yet it was might and was of God. See v. 21.

Examples of whom God can use:

    Acts 9:36-41—Dorcas had a needle, etc.

    Judges 3:31—Shamgar had an oxgoad.

    Judges 15:15—Samson had a jawbone.

    1 Samuel 17—David had a sling.

    Mark 6—Five loaves and two fish.

“These men preached the Lord Jesus”—v. 21.

If there is one thing that contributed to the growth of the church it was their Christ-centered preaching.

    Acts 5:42—They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ daily in the temple and in every house.

    Acts 8:4—They that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.

    Acts 8:35—Philip preached unto the eunuch about Jesus.

    Acts 10:36—Preaching peace with God through Jesus Christ.

    1 Corinthians 1:23—But we preach Christ crucified.

    Galatians 1:8—“If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.”

Note two points here: (1) Only the preaching that exalts Christ is really blessed. (2) Salvation is only to be had in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15—Christ died according to the Scriptures. Christ was buried according to the Scriptures. Christ was resurrected according to the Scriptures.

v. 22—News came to the church in Jerusalem of the week in Antioch. They immediately dispatched Barnabas.

v. 23—When he saw for himself that God had been working he was glad. He exhorted them to, “cling to the Lord with all their heart.”

Urge all, but especially young converts to do this.

1. Desire the sincere milk of the word, etc.

2. Pray without ceasing. Men ought always to pray, etc.

3. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves. Fellowship.

4. You shall be my witnesses.

Note the characteristics of Barnabas—v. 24.

1. He was a righteous man.

2. He was full of the Holy Spirit.

3. He was full of faith.

Through the ministry of this man, “many people were added to the Lord.”

Barnabas was a man of God. May each of us seek to be like him.

v. 25—The work got too big for Barnabas. He went to tarsus and found Saul. The young converts needed the teaching of Saul.

v. 26—Together they preached and taught for a whole year. The teaching had a profound effect on the believers. It changed their lives, and they became like Christ.