MacArthur: Acts 11 (Pt. 4)

Finishing Acts 11…whew! Finally! Outline notes are included below:


Acts 11 (Pt. 4) Verses 27 through 30

I. Review.

A. A new, diverse community formed in Antioch.

1) Required new terminology: Christian

2) Diversity in the church.

a. Colossians 3.11 – no ethnic or class distinction.

b. Galatians 3.27 – no ethnic, social class, gender.

c. James 2.1-5 – no economic class.

3) Illus: Home fellowships became home to some musicians who differed from us. Ozzie Nelson meets Ozzy Osbourne.

v Who are the “barbarians” in your world? Can you appreciate those who are different? Must we be uniform in order to be unified?

B. Prophets were sent down from Jerusalem (circa 43-44).

1) Prophesy: “To cause to shine.” Reveal facets of God’s heart.

2) Prophets were part of the church-planting pattern.

a. 1 Cor. 12:8; 14.29 – Intro and instructions to prophets.

b. Eph 2:20 – foundation of the apostles & prophets (in context, New Testament prophets. See Eph. 3.5).

c. Eph 4:11 – gifts apostles, the prophets.

II. In Acts 11 the Holy Spirit prepares the church. (vs. 28).

A. This is a supernatural revelation, not just human insight.

B. The message is for the entire church through a single gift, Agabus.

C. God’s purpose in prophecy.

1) Reveal his heart.

2) Prepare and position the church.

3) What was God preparing Antioch for? Part IV.

III. The Spirit discloses the things of God (John 16: 12-15)

A. The importance of the Spirit is declared in John 16:7.

B. Jesus intends to continue speaking via the Spirit (vs. 12).

1) He discerns if we are able to bear (receive) from Him.

a. He knows the appropriate time.

b. He knows the position of our hearts.

2) God isn’t “holding out” on us he is holding out to us.

a. A “2nd blessing” isn’t God releasing it is us accepting.

b. Our experience may not be like someone else’s.

c. Illus: Someone else’s hat may not fit your head!

3) God’s pattern is to offer His gifts; it is for us to accept them.

a. Salvation is the prototypical experience of receiving.

b. Screwtape Letters Ch. 8: Merely to override a human will … would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish, He can only woo. For his…idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.

C. The disciples can expect Holy Spirit to disclose, teach and guide (vs. 13).

1) Not on his (the Spirit’s) own but from what he hears.

2) It will be from Jesus (he will take of mine, vs. 14).

3) What Jesus has will have been given by the Father.

4) These verses suggest what is called “the Trinity.”

a. Not a “biblical” term but a shorthand term to attempt a description of the multi-faceted qualities of God’s nature.

b. The nature of God is unique, but we try to explain it nonetheless.

D. The goal of all this is to birth a “race” of people submitted to their Creator.

1) Recall Jesus’ work and word (example: gospels).

2) Guide into truth (teach).

3) Reveal what is to come.

E. How the Holy Spirit speaks.

1) To individuals for individuals.

a. Personal impression.

b. Scriptural revelation.

v When you pray, stop to listen. Evaluate what you “hear” by God’s word. Prayer is conversation.

2) To the corporate assembly.

a. By an individual, as Agabus did.

b. By the assembly in prayer. (Acts 13)

3) Such “revelation” must always be evaluated.

a. By Scripture.

b. By the body. (1 Corinthians 14.29-32).

IV. What was God Preparing the church for? Agabus’ message was to provide for need and bring unity.

A. God warns the church of the famine (He prepares the church).

B. Feeding the hungry is Christian pattern. (God positions the church).

C. A gentile church reaches out to a Jewish church. (God’s heart).

1) Paul and Barnabas emissaries and bridge builders.

2) Ephesians 2.11-22 describes the future outcome.

D. Jesus is gathering together into one the children of God who are scattered throughout the earth.

1) Genesis 11.

2) John 11.52.

v The most powerful evidence of discipleship is not dramatic teaching, astounding miracle, or the wonderful program; it is the simple expression of love across the barriers that typically divide the human race.

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