1st Century Missions – Planting Churches

Acts 14:19-28

The church at Antioch blessed with 5 elders: Barnabas, Niger, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul (Acts 13:1). Divinely revealed to them: send out Barnabas and Saul on a mission – the work to which God had called them. The first NT record of a local church intentionally sending men out on mission following Jesus’ ascension. Four essential elements to Paul’s 1st misisonary journey: establishing churches, exhorting the saints, appointing leaders, and reporting to the senders. They still remain as necessary ingredients to missions today – same God, same goal, same method since He hasn’t changed it.

A. Establish v. 21

evangelized – see vv. 15-17

good news of repentance and forgiveness

discipled

baptized – see Matt. 28:19

taught – see Matt. 28:20

to observe [To keep or adhere to in practice; to comply with; to obey,Webster]

Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

gathered – Col. 1:15-18

Acts 2:47 The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

ἐκκλησία– an assembly of people called together for worship; a congregation

B. Exhort v. 22

strengthen hearts

confirming faith – belief and behavior

given events/facts of this (the 1st) century what you believe is the truth

don’t allow opposition or criticism to shake your confidence

“we know what we’re talking about; we were there or know those who were” – witnesses

encourage to continue

sharp opposition in Antioch Acts 13:45,50

plot to kill them in Iconium – fled for their lives – Acts 14:5-6

stoned in Lystra – v. 19

went on to Derbe then returned to the 3 towns

warning of trouble ahead

Jesus’ words and experience

statement about cross-bearing meant something

He told them on the road to Emmaus “was it not necessary for the Christ to sufferLuk. 24:26

“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isa. 53:3

Gospel message and life not popular with many – will be strongly resisted

“all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Tim. 3:12

Christ our example – we should expect similar treatment

Matt 5:10-11 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.”

C. Appoint v. 23

local leadership

3-self churches: governing, financing, propagating

required leadership: bishops/overseers/pastors to lead, guide, guard the flock

must be local for long-term sustainability

requires relational connections

contextualizing the message – living the Gospel in a particular culture

under the headship of Christ

“Christ is the head of the body, the church” Col. 1:18

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is his body” Eph. 1:22-23

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Eph 4:15-16

“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Eph. 5:23

to direct/encourage outreach in the local neighborhood

growth and reproduction of local churches expected by Christ

“I will build my church” Matt. 16:18

“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world… I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” John 17:18,20

and the apostles

“after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints” Eph. 1:15

“since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the saints” Col. 1:4

For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.” 1 Thess. 1:8

D. Report vv. 26-28

closed the circle v. 26

confusion!?!?!! – Antioch v.19 is in Pisidia (modern central Turkey); Antioch v.26 is in Syria (300 miles ESE, modern far southern Turkey/northern Syria border region)

sent out to do a particular work, then return

permanent or even long-term residency on the mission field not part of the picture

tasked with the goal of establishing self-supporting churches, then return to “base”

had gone out under the authority and commission of local church, needed to report on the success of the mission

important element of maintaining accountability to a local church

even the Apostle Paul did not act as a Lone Ranger – went with at least one assistant, stayed connected with his home church

rehearsed the work God had done v. 27

shouldn’t be a surprise:Acts 1:1the Gospel account recorded “all that Jesus began both to do and teach”, the Acts continue that record

worked miracles through them:Acts 13:11;14:3,10

caused many to believe, others remained in unbelief Acts 13:43,45; Acts 13:48,50; Acts 14:1-2

missionaries readily acknowledged their results explainable only by God

God had worked through them

God had opened the door of faith

rejoiced in the expansion of the church – faith to the Gentiles

the next major leap for the Gospel following the ascension of Christ

no longer just a Jewish church or even Jewish and Hellenistic church

now includes representatives from both major people groups: Jew and Gentile

see Acts 13:52 – communicated that joy to Antioch church

dual significance of successful mission

major barrier to church growth had been crossed: linguistic, cultural, ethnic

God had begun final fulfilment of his covenant with Abram, commission to his Servant

still work to do

2 further journeys at least by Apostle Paul

list goes on down through the centuries

1/3 of the world’s population still live in unreached people groups

without an indigenous church planting movement

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