The pastor overseers, they would take the leading role in time in the churches, transitioning from the apostles and the prophets to apostles and the prophets like Agabus.
They were foundational. There are no more apostles of Jesus Christ. There could be lesser apostles, but not of Jesus Christ, handpicked by Christ. The prophets, Ephesians 2, 20 and 4, 11, God gave these to the church. We can have prophecy, but not like it was in the beginning of the church. I want to thank you for joining us today.
We hope you'll join us on the radio. Specifically, how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Antioch is the title of Pastor Rick's message and today he'll be teaching in Acts chapter 11. Barnabas tells them that they should continue with purpose of heart. Resolve. Resolve is to set the will over the brains and the feelings.
Not to get rid of the brains and the feelings, just to keep them in their proper place. Resolve is, no, I'm going to do this. Not stubbornness is the other way. Stubbornness pushes away brains and the will of God and just the flesh. But resolve has figured it out, has made its calculations.
Ruth did this. When Naomi said, depart from me, she said, I ain't going anywhere. Your people, my people, your God, my God. Gee, that was resolve.
It's critical to usefulness. You want to be useful to God? Have this resolve. Philippians 3, brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended. This is the great apostle Paul in jail for Christ, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, not Caesar's prisoner.
He was never Caesar's prisoner. He was a prisoner of Christ. And he says, but one thing I do for getting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press towards the mark for the prize, for the high calling in Christ Jesus. That is resolve. I want, I don't want some of that.
I want all of that. Daniel said, said of Daniel, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with wine, which, which he drank. And so there we see resolve and Daniel purposed in his heart not to give in. Everybody else was drinking these things.
Everyone else was eating these things. Daniel said, we're not going to just give into this. That they should continue with the Lord.
Well, what do we have here? God forces no one to love him. I don't care how many degrees a person has, how much they've studied, how zealous they are. When they tell me that God forces people to be saved, I depart from that. I don't agree with them. I vehemently disagree with that because then you have a hostage situation.
You're going to get loved, kid, whether you like it or not. I mean, that's not God. It's not the New Testament and not even the Old Testament. And this goes against a lot of people.
I want to save, always save. You're just repeating something they read instead of what the scripture is saying. Romans 11, 22. If you continue in his goodness, otherwise you also will be cast out. What part of that is confusing?
Well, you have to bring somebody in that has to give you a human doctrine and then it gets very confusing. I'm not intimidated by this. I love it. I love that God treats me and says, listen, you will be with me in heaven if that's what you want.
Well, yeah, I want it. But Lord, what if I mess it up? Where sin abounded, grace did much more.
You will be kept by the power of God as long as you want. I think that's very fair. I think, in fact, God is a perfect gentleman. We read about, as our definition of gentleman, right?
We read about him in the book of Acts. I stand at the door and I'll kick it down. No, he doesn't do that.
I'll stand at the door and I'll huff and I'll puff. No, he stands at the door and he knocks. He's not rude. He doesn't force himself in. This is his church. He's knocking on the door to his church. He is Lord of the harvest. He is Lord of the church. And he knocks. He wants to be invited in.
He wants people to willfully open the door for him. These illustrations abound in the New Testament and the Old Testament. Colossians chapter 1.
Now, I know this ruffles a lot of feathers because you've been listening to people that have just been saying it and it feels good to the flesh. But what does the Bible say? If indeed, Colossians 1 verse 23, you continue in the faith.
That's conditional. I'm not terrified by that. I know the Lord's love for me. At some point, the Christians got to stand up and say, write my name down, loved by Jesus Christ. Instead of this, am I saved? Am I not saved?
Can I lose my heart? Stop it. Lay hold of it with resolve. We're not given a salvation so we can keep questioning it. We're given salvation because of what Jesus has done for us based on his love for us and his desire to use us. And if we do not make ourselves useful, he loves us nonetheless. We have a robust God and he is not impressed by, you know, people being intellectual. He's impressed with people who are Christ-like. If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.
Now, I'm not going to take 20 minutes to try to tell you that doesn't mean what it says. I'll leave that to those who write many books on that one topic. Anyhow, coming back to this, verse 24, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and a great many people were added to the Lord. A good man of God is a useful man to God.
Who would disagree with that? Well, Satan, of course. You know, Satan tried to mess with me on my way up here, like 30 seconds before it was time to come up. I said, this isn't you. He said, shut up!
That was my, and then come out and preach God's word. You don't have to hear that from him. You find Satan messing with your head, you can let him mess with it if you'd like, but you stand up to him. And sometimes he doesn't stop just at the command, stop it. Just keep saying it.
Keep resisting him. This is fact. This is Christianity. I think we all agree, a good man of God is a useful man to God.
Satan will come along and he'll chip at that. Well, define good. No. Let God define it. He's using me. He loves me. I'm good enough because of Christ. This is what it's taught in 2 Corinthians. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is upon us.
It is his righteousness, not my righteousness. That's what Barnabas had in Seldes in the next clause. Full of the Holy Spirit, not full of himself. In Acts, this was said of the apostles, that they were full of the Holy Spirit. It was said of Peter, it was said of Stephen, it was said of Barnabas, it was said of Paul. Peter was filled to convert.
There we read about Peter preaching and all the converts, about 3,000 added to the church. Stephen was filled to convict. He convicted all of them. So much so, they got rid of him.
They killed him. Barnabas was filled to encourage. Paul was filled to overcome the obstacles Paul had to face. To preach the gospel and keep it uniform to Jew and Gentile alike, to remove that distinction.
So I look at this of Peter converting, Stephen convicting, Barnabas encouraging, Paul overcoming. What about me? If I'm filled with the Spirit, what am I doing? Well, it's not meant to make you feel small. What are you doing?
You're useless. Nothing like that. It's just a good question. And it may change as the years go by. Life changes. At one point, you know, you're in an environment where you are convicting people. Maybe you're in the workplace and everybody's, you know, doing all the wrong things and you're just, I'm not having any part of that. That is convicting them. Or maybe you're in another place where you're just encouraging people.
Some people, some professed Christians, you think it would kill them to encourage somebody. Well, I better not tell them they're doing a good job. They're getting a big head. You know, sometimes we need a bigger head. Sometimes we need a little help. Sometimes it's okay to tell somebody you are actually doing a wonderful job.
In fact, we should try it after service, at the greeting line. Everybody, a wonderful job, every single, knocked it out of the park again. You're so good it's getting boring. No, wait, let's strike that. Let's not go too far. Anyway, of course, it's okay to encourage people.
But don't make it fake, though. I mean, if your kid loses, you know, in a track race, he's running, he comes in last, don't say, good job, Johnny. You got out there on the field. That was awful. You probably need to take a bowling. Let's not break down.
Then nobody's going to trust you. You know, my mom would do that. Oh, it was so wonderful. I could get an F on a test. Oh, it was wonderful.
At least it wasn't a G. Oh, my, good night. So when someone that you respect comes along and says, that was really good, then it's just like, yes, okay, that's what I needed. Coming from that person, that's what I needed. Well, anyway, Barnabas, this is why he's such an outstanding character.
Notice the parallels. Convicting, convincing, encouraging, overcoming. Fill me with your Spirit, Lord, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. That spiritual characteristic produced by being full is faith, trusting God. Fill me with your Spirit until there's no room left for self, for Satan, for sin, for the world. We all want that.
I think it's a mark. You doubt your salvation. Ask yourself, do you want these things? Because if you do, you're saved. And more than likely, you're already full. You don't have to know you're full of the Holy Spirit to be so. You love the Lord and you want to give Him as much back as you can. This is evidence of being full of the Spirit. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
Well, again, we read of this often. We read of men who were full and effective for speaking in Acts chapters 2 and 4, for serving in Acts chapter 3. Remember, choose from among yourselves seven men full of wisdom and of the Holy Spirit whom we may appoint over this business. We read of them in Acts chapter 7 being full of the Spirit for dying. That would be Stephen. For encouraging as here in verse 24.
And for rebuking. We'll get to that in chapter 13. This is the early church. These are the first Christians and it should be us too. Verse 25. Now one of our brothers who will remain unnamed said he'd be surprised. He's praying for me that I get to the end of this chapter. At first I thought, watch and see, I'm a pro.
Now I'm a little nervous. Verse 11. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.
This is just amazing. Somewhere in Jerusalem, about ten years earlier, not quite, but they're about nine, maybe eight, they met. And some say three years earlier, but the math doesn't work at all with that. Barnabas saw that these believers in Antioch had a zeal for God without knowledge. And he knew this was not sustainable. Zeal is never enough by itself.
It is a critical ingredient, but it is not enough. Zeal for your house has consumed me, said the Lord. Yeah, but look at the rest of him.
He just had everything. Sound Bible teaching was needed to make sound Christians according to the Bible. And Barnabas knew just the man. Instead of saying, no, I'm going to teach them. I'll teach better than Paul, or Saul at the time.
He doesn't do that at all. Saul was one who received profound grace. It was profound.
What a perfect teacher. Not somebody who says, well, of course, I'm a son of a Pharisee, and Paul said all that stuff I count as rubbish. This Saul could systematically teach the church, and he is going to do just that. And the Lord was guiding it all, as he was with the Cypriots and the Cyrenians coming up, as their selection of Barnabas being the man, as now I'm going to go get Saul. To seek Saul, Barnabas had to find him. I better call Saul.
That's where this is going. Verse 26, And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And so it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people, and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Saul was made for this. If no one else knew it, he was made for this.
Barnabas knew it. He's probably the only one that did. Although there must have been people in Cilicia listening to Saul teach and said, boys, this guy needs to be, he needs to be on the radio. He needs to be out there.
Not enough that we should sit here and benefit from this. Another man, Onesiphorus by name, years later, will also seek for Saul, and he will find him. Second Timothy, Paul by this time, is touched by it. And he gets down in writing, he says about Onesiphorus, When he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. He had to check all the jails. He had to go through the jails in Rome.
Is there anybody here? It was that kind of love. A man so loved that others came looking for him. That was Saul. The Lord sought him on the road to Damascus. Ananias sought him on a street called Straight. Barnabas sought him in Tarsus of Cilicia. The Roman believers sought him on the Appian Way. They came out as much as 40 miles to greet Saul, then Paul now, as he was under arrest coming to Rome.
Onesiphorus sought him in the Roman jails, as I just referenced in 2 Timothy 1 verses 16 and 17. I think the lesson is if we learn to offer something that the world needs, then men will make a pathway to our door. I think that's the lesson. Paul had what the world needs. And God began and then he had others seek a way to get Paul involved, even if he was in jail.
So it was, verse 26, that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. What did he teach? He taught the book of Acts.
No, he didn't. He's making the book of Acts. Acts isn't written yet. He's teaching the Old Testament, the New Testament truths, systematically teaching, not preaching. Preaching is what we do really to the lost or to the misbehaving believers, but teaching. Acts chapter 20, he will go on to say to the Ephesian elders, For I am not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
I haven't held back anything from you. In Hebrews, he writes, and I believe it was him, Therefore, leaving the discussion of elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith towards God. Here he is, the teacher. All teachers at some point, every single teacher at some point meets with resistance by those whom they're teaching.
I don't think there's an exception. If you are a parent, if you are a professional teacher, if you are a pastor, if no matter where you are, if you are teaching someone after a while, they're going to push back. And, you know, you deal with that. Paul did, and we all do.
I know sometimes when someone disagrees with me, my first inclination is to faint. I don't believe it. We could have a lot of fun with that, but let's get back to this.
We don't have much time. Ephesians chapter 4. Why do we do the teaching?
We Christians. For the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ. It makes everything better.
Not perfect, but better than it would have been without it. Barnabas picked up on it, and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Notice that it was after the teaching that this, by Luke, is placed. And it's probably because that systematic teaching began to influence their surroundings. They made an impact.
It was hitting the targets. Some were getting saved, some were resisting, some were scoffing. The Jewish historian Josephus called Christians, called us the tribe of Christians. Now Josephus has only nice things to say about Christ and Christianity without going as far as saying, hey, I'm a believer too. But that is a nice testimony coming from that Jewish historian. But he's still linking them with the Jewish heritage. When he says the tribe of Christians, it's like the tribe of Ishkar, the tribe of Asher.
No, it's the tribe of Christians. So there's still that understanding. We could come a little bit more to that in a moment. But initially, this was intended as ridicule, a term of derision.
I'm not 100% sure, 99% sure. Acts 28, King Agrippa said to Paul, you almost persuade me to be a Christian. He was using how he was speaking private about the Christians.
And that happened, of course, after these events. So that Greek term, Christ, means the anointed one. Well, that's the Greek word for the Hebrew word. The Hebrew word is Messiah, the anointed one. This word Christian is a hybrid.
It's the Greek and the Latin. And it means, you know, the little Christ, little Christ-like guys, that group of people like Christ is a high compliment and they didn't even know it. The word Christians, the little anointed ones, that's what it means. It was a name given to these believers in Antioch.
It was not chosen by a Jew. For a Jew to call a Christian a non-Christian Jew, for him to call a Christian would have meant that he was acknowledging they belong to Messiah. So he wouldn't call them Christians.
He would object to that description, as a matter of fact. You mean the Nazarene. It was certainly not a name chosen by the believers themselves. Up to this point, we called ourselves the disciples, those of the way, the brethren. This was designated by those outside of the faith.
And it was very accurate. In spite of what their intentions were mocking them, God said, You got that right. When you started calling My people, little anointed ones, little Christ-like ones, you got it right on the head and we're going to use it.
You're right and you don't even know it. Peter uses it, contrary to shame, in 1 Peter. We won't go there, 1 Peter 4, 16.
In other words, he's embracing it. It doesn't show up a lot in the New Testament for a lot of reasons, not because it was rejected. This distinction, though, it makes the Christians say, Okay, the Christians are here, the Jewish faith is here. Christianity is not a sect of Judaism. That's what they realized.
That's when they got this name. That will cause Caesar to persecute them. When the Caesars find out, you mean they're not part of the Jewish people? That's right. We can persecute them.
We won't have to worry about dealing with the Jewish community. And that is what happens with Nero when Rome burns and they blame the Christians. Verse 27, And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Yeah, that's systematic teaching. It drew onlookers. Verse 28, One of them named Agabus stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. About the time that Paul gets to doing this teaching, these things in the latter part are taking place. Now, Agabus, what made him a prophet, is he spoke forth the word of God, like I'm doing this morning, and he also predicted, foretelling, what God was going to do by predicting this coming famine, which the historians, Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, they all say this famine hit. So verse 29, warning the Christians so they could be prepared.
That's the purpose of it. Not just, hey, it's going to be a famine. Well, it was a famine just to get ready for it. Verse 29, I'm way over time. I'm going to finish this up just to prove our brother wrong because, just give me a minute. If you have to go, no, just suffer. If you have to go, then of course, get up.
We'll all be looking at you. Anyway, verse 29, then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. First time the church is taking up a collection for another church.
That's a lot there. We give according to our ability. That's 2 Corinthians 9, 7, Ezra 2, 69, Nehemiah 5, 8, other places, but we are to share with them.
I want to go back for a moment. No, let's go to verse 30. This they also did and sent it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. This is the first time we meet with the elders. It's the leaders in the church, the pastor overseers. They would take the leading role in time in the churches, transitioning from the apostles and the prophets. The apostles and the prophets like Agabus, they were foundational. There are no more apostles of Jesus Christ. There could be lesser apostles, but not of Jesus Christ, handpicked by Christ. The prophets, Ephesians 2, 20, and 4-11, God gave these to the church.
We can have prophecy, but not like it was in the beginning of the church. By the hands of Barnabas and Saul, this is Saul's second trip to Jerusalem after his conversion. Now, I mentioned, and we'll close with this, the churches in the New Testament that I would not want to attend. Corinth would be number one. Well, not number one. Pergamos and Thyatira and Laodicea, they all would be number one. Then Corinth, probably the church in Jerusalem.
This is too legalistic. But the churches in the New Testament that I wouldn't hesitate to line up with, Philippi, Berea, Philadelphia, and Antioch. You read about these churches and you just say, man, this is nice.
You read about the other one and say, boy, we got problems. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the Book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
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