The Pattern Of The Sending Church

The Pattern Of A Sending Church

Text Acts 13

We find as we get further into the Book of Acts that the “Gospel” is finally moving. It is easy to say that the Church at Jerusalem was holding things up but we cannot blame anything on a building nor entirely on a group of people until we accept the blame on ourselves also.

We should all ask ourselves “are we being obedient to God’s command”?

The “key” to the Book of Acts is still Acts 1:8:

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

This command given by Jesus was not to a building or a gathering  place called a church, BUT to each individual that has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!

It was to begin in Jerusalem then all Judea, on to Samaria, and then to the uttermost places of this entire globe we live on, called Earth.

We will see that the Body of Christ that was located and that gathered at a place at Antioch of Syria, finally understood, “with the help of the Holy Ghost”, what God meant about spreading the “Gospel”!

What we may not realize it but at this time but Antioch of Syria was one of the largest cites of the known world. It’s population was near that of Rome and even Alexandria of Egypt.

Though the title missionary is not found in the Bible it is clearly understood and “it can be said”, that at Antioch missionaries were sent out, sponsored, and supported by a group of believers in a local church.

Those that had gone out from Jerusalem had done so, because of persecution!

We can also see that the church at Jerusalem was not considered to be a home church but that all houses of God are on the same level of equality!

This group of believers in Antioch of Syria. gladly accepted the task of sending God’s Word out to the world!

This is the same task that every group of believers have, no matter their location, on this Earth!

Let’s begin:

*****Act 13:1  Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

We should notice immediately that the church at Antioch, is a “whosoever” church.

We have Barnabas from Cyrus.

We have Simeon who was a black man but also a teacher in the early church.

We have, Lucius from Cyrene, who is listed in the Book of Romans as a kinsman to the Apostle Paul. This could mean that he was of the tribe of Benjamin or possibly some closer kin.

We have Manaen who had been in the company that traveled with Herod Antipas who was  the governor assigned by Rome and who had beheaded John the Baptist.

And not the least of them but we also have Saul, already at this time considered at least a teacher of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

*****Act 13:2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, “the Holy Ghost said”, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”.

Notice, these men were already busy.  They were already serving the Lord and committed to His Word at this time!

They were committed to fasting and prayer!

We don’t hear a whole lot about fasting in the modern church but maybe we should!

Fasting is giving something up for the Lord! It is more than just missing a meal, though nourishment is the means for this flesh we live in, to live.

Jesus said:

Luk 4:4  And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Jesus sent the devil packing with these words, SO, we we can certainly send the devil packing by fasting along with our prayers!

Satan hates to see anyone give up anything for the Lord, because he used to get all that affection when we were all out in the world with him.

1Co 6:11  “And such were some of you”: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

It is only when we are already busy about the work that the Lord has given us to do, that the Holy Spirit will come calling for His special work.

When we just sit around waiting on something from the Holy Spirit, our wait will be long and He will not be forthcoming unless in chastisement!

The Holy Spirit calls people who have proved themselves to be in God’s Army by being on the front lines!

We can also see that there was no guessing as to what the Holy Spirit was saying. The Holy Spirit had already been working on Paul and Barnabas for the work He was calling them to do!

*****Act 13:3  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

The Holy Spirit is very clear when He calls, but we should still pray and fast to get His latest instructions!

Paul and Barnabas knew what they were to do, but the entire “Body of Christ” must also get involved!

When the church sent them out for God’s work, “they knew they would have to provide as much as they could for them”.

The first thing they needed was prayer but they would also need to meet their physical needs!

“To be sent” also means to carry the message of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

“To be sent” also means that there would be some accounting of these men that were sent.

“To be sent” also means that there would be some accounting of those that sent them!

This whole church at Antioch, was behind this action and not just Saul and Barnabas!

You know we have two men, Nathan Sears and Scott Davis, that were sent out from our church that we totally support but sometimes that support is not enough because we get lax in giving for them.

*****Act 13:4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Act 13:5  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Seleucia was the seaport of Antioch but it was about 15 miles from the city limits.

Cyprus is an island and it was the native land of Barnabas.

Salamis was on the eastern coast of Cyprus and the chief city of Cyprus at that time.

Cyprus was about 130 miles by sailing ship from Seleucia.

We might not understand all we need to know about John Mark at this time but what we do know is that he was probably an eyewitness to the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

SO, His information to Paul would be firsthand, eyewitness information.

Cyprus was a good choice because it was the native land of Barnabas and also of Manaen.

AND, we can also know that the Holy Spirit would have already been working in Cyprus.

There were many Jewish synagogues located there, because Rome did allow freedom of religion for many years, at least until Christianity began to grow and spread!

In a lot of cases, without those “certain” Jews from Jerusalem causing problems, these synagogues welcomed Paul and this also gave he and Barnabas access to the Gentile population!

Skip down to verse 26

*****Act 13:26  Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

It is best to keep in mind though we call these missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas they were much more than hasty dashes from one city to the next.

When the Apostle Paul entered a city he established a foundation for a local church. He only moved to another city when he came under pressure from the local authorities or by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Barnabas was with Paul throughout this entire first journey, BUT John Mark had departed when Paul and Barnabas left Cyprus.

This first journey had begun with success, but there was some unexpected trouble from a sorcerer. These men were just magicians as we have in our day but these men were counted as “wise men” in most cultures of this time.

What did God say?

Pro 26:12  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

We may not know why John Mark departed from them but the Apostle Paul was not impressed much with him at this time.

AND, Mark did not return to Antioch of Syria but went back home to his mother in Jerusalem.

Paul later changes his mind about Mark and he makes that clear in his epistles.

At the time of this verse Paul and Barnabas had arrived in Antioch of Pisidia which is an entirely different place than Antioch of Syria.

Paul would usually try to to begin his ministry in the local synagogue, if one was available.

Paul had a never ending burden for his people and he usually always found at least some of them that were ready to hear the Word of God.

*****Act 13:29  And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
Act 13:30  But God raised him from the dead:

Paul presented the ministry of Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy that it was!

Paul used the same Old Testament scriptures that these people had a copy of, and preached Jesus to them.

Paul appealed for them to avoid the error that Jerusalem had made, by rejecting Christ Jesus.

But Paul emphasized to all of them, that those in power at Jerusalem had done all these things, BUT “God had raised Jesus from the dead” which was the fulfillment of prophecy of the Messiah!

Jesus’ life as a man in the flesh was taken away from Him and He certainly died!

Jesus was taken off that cross as a dead man!

Jesus was buried as a dead man!

And even in death the flesh of Jesus was not allowed to see sin! He was only in that grave for 3 days and not 4!

But as God, “He could not be held in a man’s grave”, because God the Father raised Him from the dead by the Power of the Holy Spirit!

The Bible says:

Psa 16:10  For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.


Act 2:24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

You see God had also promised that “He would swallow up death in victory”! (Isa 25:8)

God had also said that His redeemed, would live together with the dead body of Jesus which did rise from the dead. (Isa 26:19)

And Job said:

Job 19:26  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Job 19:27  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

This is the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

*****Act 13:31  And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ “was the great proof” of His being the true Son of God with power!

The resurrection “was the fulfillment” of all that was written about Him.

The resurrection “was His confirmation” that the Bible is the true Word of God and cannot be denied!

*****Act 13:32  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
Act 13:33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, {Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee}.

We should see that the prophecy of the second Psalm (2:7) is specific when it says that Jesus was “begotten” at His resurrection and not at His birth!

This term is used 15 times in the New Testament and can also be used to describe the “Rapture” of the Church!

1Jn 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him “that begat” loveth him also that “is begotten of him”.

And the Apostle Peter:

1Pe 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath “begotten us again” unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Another thing we should not miss in this verse is what Paul says:

He uses the words “the second Psalm”.

This teaches us that the division of at least the Psalms, then was “not done” many years later by Bible scholars but were already done in the day of Apostle Paul.

*****Act 13:38  Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
Act 13:39  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Notice Paul was not preaching a deliverance from Rome.

Paul was preaching a deliverance from sin!

Paul was preaching that Jesus was the expected Messiah!

Paul was preaching that those highly revered Laws of Moses could not justify anyone from sin!

Paul was preaching that not just Jew and Gentile but “whosoever” would believe these things could be justified from all sin forever!

Paul was preaching the “good news”, the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

“Justification” is an act that only God can perform and this was the method God had chosen!

It is God’s “plan” and not for us to question His plan!

The Jews were taught that God justified the righteous and punished the wicked BUT the “Gospel” says that God will justify “the ungodly” who will put their faith in Jesus Christ “because there are no righteous” people on this Earth!

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

NO Law can ever justify the sinner!

Rom 3:19  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Paul closed his sermon with a word of warning, He said these words from God:

Act 13:40  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; (Habakkuk 1:5)
Act 13:41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, “though a man declare it unto you”.

*****Act 13:43  Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Notice it is always the same, some believe, some do not believe, and some are curious enough to want to come back.

Jesus explained this to the Apostles:

Mat 13:3  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Mat 13:4  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Mat 13:5  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Mat 13:6  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Mat 13:8  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Some were persuaded to continue in God’s Grace.  And from where comes God’s “Grace”?

Joh 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, “but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and “in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

When we can be persuaded of this fact of “Grace” we can then, get on that path of righteousness:

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

*****Act 13:44  And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

We can see that there was much discussion of Paul’s message. BUT, The topic of that discussion was the Lord Jesus Christ.

*****Act 13:45  But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

These Jews here were those same Jews who were zealous of Judaism.

As we go through the Book of Acts we will see this group over and over again trying to stop the spread of the “Gospel”.

Jude the half-brother of the Lord Jesus wrote these words about this group of non-believers.

Jud 1:10  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

They were extremely jealous. They had not seen this much interest in the God of the Hebrews and were certainly not willing to share Him with all these Gentiles.

They regarded the Law as the standard of salvation and would not agree to any other means.

The Apostle Paul was preaching blasphemy in their eyes!

*****Act 13:46  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Paul informs this entire congregation that he was being obedient to the Word of God.

AND, Paul later wrote to the Romans:

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

When we reject the truth of the “Gospel” we are saying that we are unworthy of God’s “Grace”!

When we refuse the free gift of God’s “Grace” then we have rejected the results of that “Grace” which is eternal life!

It was Jesus Himself who said to preach the “Gospel” to the Jew first but He then said go to the uttermost parts of the world which included “whosoever” would believe.

*****Act 13:47  For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

It was now time to fulfill the prophecy of the Old Testament:

Isa 49:6  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

We will see this pattern develop and continue even in our day. There are many Jews who have come to the knowledge of the saving “Grace” of the “Gospel”.

This will continue until the “Church Age” has been completed and God will then turn His attention back to the Jew.

Paul would continue to plant churches until God called him home.

We see that Paul and Barnabas played a great part in taking the “Gospel” to the Gentiles but more important “they were sent by the Holy Ghost”!

We will continue to see that there is no power on this Earth that can stop the spread of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

But we can also see that Satan, the Devil, will not cease to hinder God’s Word even though he cannot ever prevail!

We are on the winning side if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!

*****Act 13:49  And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.


Let’s Pray!

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