Acts 11: 19-26
Visible Grace

Visible Grace

Up until now, the Church was, for all practical purposes, a sect of Judaism.  But now it has become a worldwide faith.

Up until now, Peter was considered to be the main leader of the Church. But now Paul occupies the central stage.

It is the Church in Antioch that gave birth to the first missionary movement. The death of Stephen unleashed violent persecution which caused many Christians to flee Jerusalem. Many of them decided to settle in Antioch.

Antioch was a vile place renowned for its pagan worship, temple prostitution, and sexual immorality, a cesspool of iniquity, second only to Corinth. These Jewish believers from Cyprus and Cyrene took Jesus with them. Their new neighbors and business partners noticed their hard work, integrity, generosity, and worship.

We have this small group of courageous Jewish Christian immigrants, fluent in the Greek language, leading both Jews and Gentiles to faith in Jesus, the Messiah.

The mother church sends Barnabas to Antioch. He was the ideal candidate. Barnabas focused his attention on evidence of God's grace among them. He encouraged them to remain true to the Lord and left their sanctification in the hands of God.

What lessons can we learn from this story?

  • Our relationship with God is based on grace
  • Grace is to be the distinguishing mark of the Church

“I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing.
In fact, I have worked harder than all the others—that is,
it wasn’t me but the grace of God that is with me.”
1 Corinthians 15:10 CEB