Chapter Eleven — Part Two: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 12/06/2021Foundation Scriptures:
1. Granted Repentance.
a. Acts 11:18 AMPC — When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection. And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection].
b. Cornelius was a Gentile, not a Jewish proselyte.
c. At first the Jews objected, not willing to accept that Gentiles could be saved.
d. However, when they heard how God was able to change Peter’s mind regarding salvation of Gentiles, and how it was confirmed by Holy Ghost baptism, they withdrew their opposition.
e. They were surprised that God would save the Gentiles, but they were convinced, stopped arguing, and glorified God.
f. That God would accept ALL who come to Him by faith, is another proof that Christianity has a divine origin and is not merely another religion.
g. People, no matter who they are, are always tempted to create a hierarchy in their mind and in their culture.
h. However, God makes every man equal and the playing field level—so that we may all come to Him the same way.
i. Anyone who hinders another person from receiving salvation, or puts obstacles in their way, works against God.
j. Only God can give one the grace to repent—and repentance is essential to receive salvation.
2. Repentance Unto Life.
a. By repentance one dies unto sin, and from then on, lives unto God, a holy and heavenly, divine life.
b. We are brought into, or restored into, favor with God.
c. We are comforted by the assurance that sins are forgiven, and eternal life guaranteed, to those who serve Him.
d. Repentance is the gift of God and comes by the grace of God.
e. His grace works it in us, giving us the grace and ability to repent.
f. He gives us a soft heart of flesh instead of a hard heart of stone (Eze. 11:19; 36:26).
g. It is also His free grace that receives and accepts our repentance and forgives all sin.
3. The Gospel Spreads.
a. Acts 11:19a NKJV — Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch…
b. When the persecution was at its height, the believers were scattered and forced to flee from Jerusalem.
c. They traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch.
d. Phoenicia: A country between Galilee and Syria—along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea—which included Tyre and Sidon (Acts 15:3; 21:2; 27:12).
e. Cyprus: An island in the Mediterranean Sea (Acts 4:36; 11:19-20; 13:4; 15:39; 21:3,16; 27:4).
f. Antioch: The chief city of Syria (not Pisidia); part of the Roman Empire—third only to Rome and Alexandria; situated near the Orontes river (Acts 6:5; 11:19-27; 13:1; 14:26; 15:22-35; Gal. 2:11).
g. Acts 11:19b NKJV — …preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.
h. They were unaware of Peter’s encounter with God and the conversion of Cornelius.
i. Acts 11:20 NKJV — But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.
j. Cyrene: A city in North Africa (Mt. 27:32; Acts 2:10; 6:9; 11:20; 13:1).
k. They preached Jesus to the Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews, living in Greece) and had wonderful success in their preaching and ministry.
l. Acts 11:21a NKJV — And the hand of the Lord was with them…
m. Meaning that God confirmed His Word through them through signs and wonders, even though they were not apostles, but ordinary ministers.
n. Psalm 110:3a KJV — Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power…
o. Acts 11:21b NKJV — …and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
p. The Church at Antioch, founded by these ordinary believers, grew into a flourishing Church.
a. Acts 11:22 NKJV — Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.
b. They sent Barnabas—meaning “the son of consolation” (Acts 4:36)—whom they believed had the right attitude and qualifications for the mission.
c. They trusted him to work together with the others to pastor this newborn Church, to encourage the believers, and to strengthen their hands.
d. John 4:37-38 NKJV — For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.
e. Acts 11:23-24a NKJV — When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.
f. A good minister is a good man—full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit.
g. He obeys God and is respectful of spiritual authority.
h. He recognizes the work of God and is happy to see God using others, and to see His blessing upon others.
i. He encourages people to cleave to the Lord.
j. To cleave to the Lord is to be dependent on Him and devoted to Him.
k. He encourages others to continue to persevere.
l. Acts 11:24b NKJV — And a great many people were added to the Lord.
m. When God’s people are faithful and obedient to do what He commands, the Church is blessed and increased.