Chapter Eleven — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 12/12/2021Foundation Scriptures:
a. Acts 11:25-26a NKJV — Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.
b. Persecution drove Paul back to his hometown, Tarsus, but now he was needed in Antioch.
c. Antioch was a large, sophisticated city.
d. Paul was eloquent, logical, and trained in schools of Greek philosophy.
e. Therefore, he was the most qualified candidate for the mission.
f. Acts 11:26b NKJV — So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.
g. For a whole year they taught a great many people.
h. This was a most important part of their mission—the Great Commission—making disciples.
a. Acts 11:26c NKJV — And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
b. They were called Christians by others—not necessarily as a compliment.
c. It was only later that they called themselves Christians, and identified as such, as a matter of honor.
d. They were no longer under the radar, but they were recognized as a group and a force to be reckoned with.
e. The name, Christian, essentially means Christ-like.
f. Before, they either were known as Jews or Gentiles.
g. Now, they were one family, with one name and one identity—they belonged to Jesus.
h. They took their name, not merely from His Name, but from His mission.
i. Jesus is the Christ—and by taking His Name, they were willing to identify with Him and everything He represented.
j. They carried His Name as a matter of honor—recognizing their complete and utter dependance on Christ, and willing to bear the reproach of His Name in the face of persecution.
k. Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV — You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
a. Acts 11:27 NKJV — And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
b. Prophets were those who spoke for God (Heb. 1:1; Acts 3:21).
c. Hebrews 1:1 NKJV — God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets.
d. Primarily, they were exhorters and preachers of righteousness, but sometimes foretold the future by the Holy Spirit.
e. Acts 15:32 NKJV — Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.
f. 1 Corinthians 14:3 NKJV — But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
g. Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit and operates as the Spirit wills (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28; 1 Cor. 14).
h. Not everyone who prophesies stands in the office of a prophet, though.
i. To be a prophet is a special anointing, ability, and calling; second only to the office of apostle.
j. Ephesians 4:11-12 NKJV — And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
4. Famine Predicted.
a. Acts 11:28 NKJV — Then 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.
b. Agabus is mentioned twice in the scriptures (Acts 11:28; 21:10).
c. Jesus had foretold in general that there should be famines (Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11).
d. Matthew 24:7 NKJV — For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
e. And Agabus now prophesied of a specific famine—which occurred in Judea.
f. The phrase “throughout the world” is used in a limited sense—as in being localized to a particular area.
g. The famine came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar, beginning in the second year of his reign, and continuing for several years.
h. Several Roman historians made mention of it in their day, and so did Josephus (Josephus Book 20, 2:5).
i. Acts 11:29 NKJV — Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.
j. When they heard of the coming famine, they did not do as the Egyptians did and store up food for themselves.
k. They prepared to help and bring relief to Christians in Judea.
l. It is a hallmark of the Church—the true Christians—to reach out generously and unselfishly to others, “distributing to the needs of the saints, and being given to hospitality” (Rom. 12:13).
m. The best preparations you can make for yourself in a time of financial uncertainty or insecurity is to be a liberal giver.
n. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 NKJV — Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
o. Acts 11:30 NKJV — This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
p. The elders were the leaders of the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 11:1; 12:1-2; Gal. 3:9).
q. Barnabas and Saul/Paul were entrusted to carry this relief all the way to the saints in Jerusalem.