GET ACQUAINTED: What is the farthest you’ve been from home? Why were you there?
SCRIPTURE: Acts 11:19-30
Open your time together with prayer. NOTE: This is only a guide! Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.
1. Antioch was located about 300 miles north of Jerusalem and was situated on the banks of the Orontes River. It was the third largest city next to Rome and Alexandria. However, its location is not as important as its makeup. Antioch was home to at least five dominant cultures: Greek, Roman, Semitic, Arab and Persian. Only a small percentage of the city was made up of Jews.
Two things made Antioch distinct from other cities, it’s chariot races and its worship of Daphne. All kinds of perverse acts were part of Daphne worship. Throughout the world “the morals of Daphne” was a polite term for perversion. Antioch reminds us of the Las Vegas Strip. What do you think the apostles may have felt as they hear the Gospel is taking root there (Acts 11:23 )?
2. Barnabas was highly respected by the Jerusalem church for his devoutness and generosity. We also know he had sold his property on Cyprus and laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37 ). Barnabas was also a proven encourager and reconciler. He was the one who brought Saul and the Jerusalem church together. He was cheerful, big-hearted and loving. He embodied the new term Christian. If Barnabas was to ask you for a character reference, what would you write based on (Acts 11:22-26 )?
3. The ministry in Antioch was going so well that it became too much for Barnabas to handle alone. We’ve already learned that he was a great man, but he knew his limitations. Maybe Barnabas, laid awake one night, burdened, tired, exploring his options. In the last three days he had led countless Bible studies, conducted several baptisms, and shared the gospel who knows how many times. He finally came to the point where he cried out, “I need some help! I can’t keep this pace up.” That sounds like many of us who serve here at SVCC, doesn’t it? Then he came to his senses and thought of Paul and immediately began praying for God’s leading. From Barnabas’ profile, why did he specifically recruit Saul/Paul (Acts 9:27-28 )?
4. In order for Barnabas to have an effective ministry he had to associate with the offensive, the unrepentant, the sinful and even the repulsive of Antioch. With whom do you associate that no pastor/minister would normally be in contact with? How do you share the Gospel with these people? (No fudging on your answer
– be brutally honest with yourself.) How can your Life Group pray for you?
Personal Application: Three things you can start doing now.
- Share the revolutionary message that changed your life - the grace of God that made a difference in you.
- Invite your non-churched and unsaved OIKOS to check out Christianity - Life Group - church - invite them to serve alongside you in our refugee ministry.
- “... remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.”
Prayer of commitment: Father, please forgive me for my apathy, my indifference towards the things that You how hold precious. Forgive me for just standing idle and allowing those that I love, that I care about and that You’ve placed in my path to slip into eternity without You. I confess that I need Your power to honor my commitment to You and that I can’t live this Christian life on my own. Please help me be faithful, to be bold, and a fully committed follower of Yours who doesn’t stray from my faith — who dares to be true to my purpose and to make Christ’s name known to all around me — who desires, with Your supernatural power, to shine the light of Christ among my OIKOS resulting in winning others to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.