The Church at Jerusalem had their eyes opened by Peter when he shared how God had done a work among the Gentiles in Caesarea. It was part of something that only God can do.
The city of Antioch was three times larger than the city of Jerusalem. Believers were first called Christians here. Formerly they were known as the People of the Way.
Barnabas, who was from Cypress, was actually named Joseph but because he was an encourager, he was called Barnabas. He came to the Church of Antioch to encourage them and realized that he needed someone like Paul to help, someone who was an administrator and a black and white person. Paul had been in his hometown of Tarsus for ten years doing ministry there and growing in his relationship with the Lord.
It only takes a few committed believers for God to use to do great things… it is all about our perspective. We need to look forward to what God will do as we obey Him, and not at the past. Here are some thoughts:
•Do not put God in a box. This is the number 1 sin of Southern Baptist Churches. We need to lay down our old traditions and do whatever it takes to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
•Realize God used ordinary people to do extra-ordinary things. God started the Church at Antioch with “some people.” The story of the talents in Matthew 25 demonstrates this. The ones with 5 and 2 talents used their talents to get more but the one with the 1 talent hid his talent. God needs one talent people to begin to use their talents. He can do more with a one talent person sold out to Him than 5 or 2 talented people.
•Embrace suffering as how God spreads the Gospel. We serve a Savior who came and suffered that we may obtain salvation through faith in Him. We become an unstoppable force when we accept suffering. An example of this is Stephen. His death resulted in the spread of the Gospel as the persecuted believers left Jerusalem and shared Jesus wherever they went. Paul basically started the Church at Antioch by his persecution of the church…and it was the Church at Antioch that sent Paul and Barnabas out on their mission journey.
•Passionately go after lost people. That is what it is all about and what the Great Commission commands believers to do.
•Make disciples. The church is commanded to make disciples and in turn those disciples will go out and share the Gospel.