- Acts 11:19-30
- Acts 12:25
- 1 Peter 4:7-11
Pray… for ways you can support someone else this week, such as financially or with your time.
Day 332 – Paul – Antioch
A new church plant, sending relief to Jerusalem, & being Good Stewards
- It’s a light day of reading today, with some encouraging stories about the actions of the early church. If you had to sum up today’s verses before reading my notes, what might you say?
- Find a map of the Old Testament times and locate Antioch (and Cyprus, if you don’t know where it is). Can you see how the gospel was spreading? Remember that everything we are reading at the moment was about the real history of how the good news of Jesus was shared by the earliest churches.
- Antioch was a huge city, under Roman rule. Who initially preached the good news of Jesus there? Who was later sent from Jerusalem to discover for himself how people were coming to Christ?
- We read about Barnabas today. Barnabas is an important figure in the early church. He was faithful in encouraging the new converts to stay true to the gospel teachings, and would later accompany Paul on some of his mission trips.
- Acts 11:26 is the first use of the word “Christian”. It was probably a label that unbelievers in Antioch used to describe the rapidly growing group of disciples (I wonder whether it was meant in an unfavourable way!).
- When the Christian community heard of problems affecting their Christian brothers and sisters back in Judea, what did they do (Acts 11:27-30)? Who did they send? Do you think they gave their money (and their spiritual leaders!) gladly?
- How does 1 Peter build on this generous sharing of gifts? What is the basis for having this attitude?
- Do you think it important for churches to give to mission work and to support people locally and abroad? Do you know all the things your church gives money and support to? If you don’t, spend a moment looking on their website and praying for the different people, churches and societies that they are involved with.
We are part of a global church with believers coming to Christ in every country in every corner of the globe. In the early church, the centre of Christianity was Jerusalem and surrounding areas, quickly spreading to nearby countries. It was getting more and more global by the year. The early Christians – as they were now known – knew that they could consider themselves part of a greater family, as well as having their own physical family. The people in the church were their brothers and sisters, and they worked together to help each other in each person’s hour of need.
This, of course, hasn’t changed, although some Christians may be more aware of it than others. Do you consider the persecuted Christians around the world as your brothers and sisters? Are you willing to get involved by supporting groups like Open Doors which help the persecuted church around the world? There are lots of ways to make a difference and, as the book of James says, love means action!