MacArthur: Acts 11 (Pt. 3)

I’ve included the outline notes below. I’ll do my best to continue to do that.

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Outline Notes: Acts 11: 25-30

I. The “meanwhiles” in Acts.

A. Events in Acts are sometimes simultaneous.

1) Acts 11:18 and Acts 11:19.

2) Acts 11: 27-30 and Acts 12.

B. God prepares the church in one place for what he is doing in another

1) Illus: Transcontinental railway meets in Utah.

2) Acts 10 and Acts 11:19-21.

II. Barnabas: A trustworthy man of faith and courage.

A. Barnabas was whole-hearted.

1) He gave generously to the work in Acts 4.

2) Touched off a culture of generosity.

B. Barnabas was courageous when he risked a relationship with Saul (Paul).

C. He was trusted to discern what was going on in Antioch (vs. 22).

D. The character of this man of God.

1) Vs. 24: Good, full of the Spirit, full of faith (faithful).

2) Enjoys seeing others come into the fullness of their gifts.

a. Illus: Parents enjoy seeing children grow.

b. Illus: Some of us watch a particular channel, Barnabas was “tuned” to that particular channel in the heart of God.

v Each of us is uniquely wired and we often hear the heart of God accordingly. This is why God uses the community of believers as “one new man,” because together we are able to hear His whole heart.

E. He is regarded as a human “type” of the Holy Spirit.

1) Jesus calls the Spirit “helper,” ie, comforter, encourager (John 16:7).

2) The term paraklesis suggests one who comes alongside to help.

a. “Son of Encouragement” from the same root (Acts 4:36).

b. Same root as “exhort” in Romans 12:8.

F. True to his nature, he goes off to get someone to work alongside (vs. 25).

1) Paul had been in Tarsus about 8 years.

2) Later, they part ways. A difference in gifting (Acts 15:39).

III. Saul (on his way to being “Paul”) comes to Antioch (vs. 26).

A. Formerly he tried to preach to his own people on his own terms.

1) Results: resistance and threats of violence.

2) Jesus tells him “they won’t listen.”

3) The church sends him to Tarsus for safety.

B. Barnabas introduces Saul to his God-given calling, the Gentiles.

C. Saul becomes a bridge between Gentiles and Jews.

IV. On being a “Christian (vs. 26).”

A. Names of the followers of Jesus.

1) The Way, suggesting a pattern of living.

2) Called Galileans or Jesseans by the Jews.

3) Followers called Christianos (Christians) by Gentiles, distinguishing them from Jews.

B. Suggests followers were “little Christs.” Maybe pejorative, maybe not.

C. Christian should suggest someone who desires to act like Jesus.

1) One who does not act as Christ would is not following Christ.

2) WWJD (what would Jesus do?) versus DWJW.

v We’re called to do what Jesus would. Our lives have to go beyond just asking the question, and actually taking action. The action answers the question.

V. Important note: The church was becoming a diverse community.

A. They were no longer a Jewish sect.

B. Paul wrote about the church in Colossians: Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all (Col 3:11).

C. The mark of the church is its love in its diversity.

1) By love the world will recognize discipleship (John 13:35).

2) Churches should reflect love beyond differences.

v As believers we ought to be eagerly and intentionally seeking out others different from ourselves. In Christ love ceases to be a feeling but a covenant to seek the benefit of others.

VI. Here come the prophets! (vs. 27). Another New Testament spiritual Gift.

A. They were probably “sent” as Barnabas was (circa 43 or 44).

B. Prophets reveal a specific facet of the heart of God.

1) Some may focus on God’s anguish. (Jeremiah?)

2) Some focus on God’s offense over unrighteousness. (Elijah?)

3) Some speak of God’s future plans (Isaiah, Daniel).

C. Agabus was one of the prophets that came to Antioch.

1) Also appears before Paul goes to Jerusalem (Acts 21).

2) Predicted a famine by the Spirit.

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