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Lesson 21 of 50 - The Book of Acts(part three of four)
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Written Notes

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Questions

Supplementary Material

Source Books

Timeline 30-45 AD

The Church in Antioch

First Journey Notes

Timeline 46 AD

2004 mp3 Audio

2009 mp3 Audio:
Paul's First Trip
Jerusalem Council 48 AD

Real Player Video:
Paul's First Trip
Jerusalem Council 48 AD

Chapter Tests:
Sect F, Ch

Essay Tests:
Sect F, Ch


The Antioch Church;
Acts 9-12  

Paul's First Trip;
Acts 13-14 

The Jerusalem Council;
Acts 15 
   

These Classes on .mp3:

The Antioch Church;
Acts 9-12

Paul's First Trip;
Acts 13-14

The Jerusalem Council;
Acts 15

The Book of Acts (part three): Paul's Time in Damascus and Arabia; Antioch Church; First Journey to Galatia; Jerusalem Council

YEAR
AD

CHURCH
EVENT

N.T.
BOOK WRITTEN

WORLD
EVENT

30

  • Jesus Death, Resurrection, Ascension
  • Day of Pentecost in Acts 2

31

  • Peter heals crippled man in temple (Ac.3)
  • Peter and John arrested by Sanhedrin (Ac.2)

32

  • Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus (Barnabus)
    sells a field (Ac.4:36)
  • Ananias and Sapphira Die
  • The Jerusalem church meets by the temple
    in Solomon’s Colonnade (Porch) (Ac.5:12)
  • Apostles perform many miracles
  • Apostles arrested but released by angel

33

  • Seven deacons chosen (Ac. 6)
  • Church is growing rapidly (Ac.6:7)
  • A large number of priests believe (Ac.6:7)

34

  • Saul arrives in Jerusalem
  • Stephen debates Jews coming from Cyrene,
    Cilicia (ie. Saul), Alexandria (Ac.6:9)
  • Stephen arrested by Sandhedrin (Ac.6:12)
  • Stephen stoned (Ac.7:59)
  • Saul persecutes the church in Jerusalem
  • Philip goes to Samaria (Ac.8:4)
  • Philip meets Ethiopian Treasurer (Ac.8:26)

35

  • Saul converted on road to Damascus (Ac.9)
  • Saul is in Damascus
  • Saul leaves for Arabia (Gal.1:17)

36

  • Saul is in Arabia

37

  • Saul is in Arabia

Caligula is emperor

38

  • Saul returns to preach in Damascus
  • Saul’s life is threatened (Ac.9:23)
  • Saul escapes to Jerusalem
  • Barnabus introduces Saul to disciples
  • Saul stays with Peter 15 days (Gal.1:18-19)
  • Saul debates Grecian Jews (Ac.9:29)
  • Saul flees to Tarsus in Cilicia (Ac.9:29,30)

39

  • Saul preaches in Cilicia and Syria for
    five years (Gal.1:21)
  • Persecution has ceased in Jerusalem
  • Jerusalem church continues to grow
    (Ac.9:31)
  • Peter travels Judean Countryside (Ac.9:32)
  • Peter heals Aeneas in Lydda (Ac.9:33)
  • Peter raises Tabitha in Joppa (Ac.9:36)
  • Peter called to Caesarea by Cornelius (A.10)

40

  • Peter has to defend having preached in a
    Gentile house to the church leaders in
    Jerusalem. (Ac.11)
  • Missionaries from Cyrene in North Africa
    come to Antioch in Syria and preach to
    the Gentiles (Ac.11:20)
  • Saul is preaching in Cilicia and Syria

Emperor Caligula marches to the English Channel to invade Britain then orders his Roman troops to collect sea shells

41

  • Saul is preaching in Cilicia and Syria
  • Jerusalem expands the city walls which places
    the site of the crucifixion inside the city

Caligula assassinated; Claudius is emperor

42

  • Saul is preaching in Cilicia and Syria
  • Barnabus is sent to visit the church in
    Antioch by the Jerusalem church (Ac.11:22)

43

  • Saul is preaching in Cilicia and Syria
    Barnabus leaves Antioch to look for Saul
    in Tarsus (Ac.11:25)
  • Barnabus brings Saul back to teach in the
    church in Antioch in Syria (Ac.11:26)
  • Saul teaches in Antioch for a year (Ac.11:26)
  • Believers are called “Christians”

Rome invades Britain

44

  • Agabus, a prophet from Jerusalem,
    visits  Antioch church
  • Antioch church sends Paul and Barnabus
    to Jerusalem with an offering (11:29,30)
  • James is beheaded by Herod Agrippa I
  • Peter is arrested but an angel releases him
  • Herod Agripp I dies in Caesarea (12:18)

Herod
Agrippa I
Dies

45

  • Paul and Barnabus return to Antioch
  • John Mark leaves Jerusalem to go
    to Antioch with Paul and Barnabus

James writes
James
from Jerusalem


Paul in Damascus, Arabia, Jerusalem and Cilicia
Now after three years Saul returns to Jerusalem no longer the persecutor of Jesus but the preacher of Jesus.  The Christians in Jerusalem still fear Saul but Barnabus takes him to meet Peter and James.  After 15 days in Jerusalem that involved preaching to the Grecian Jews, Saul is again in danger.  The believers took Saul to Caesarea and sent by ship to Tarsus where he will stay in oblivion until Barnabus comes to find him and take him to the church of Antioch in Syria.

BACK TO THE TOP

The Church in Antioch, Syria

In 43 AD, thirteen years after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ a man named Barnabas was sent out from the Jerusalem church to assist the church in Antioch, Syria.  This church was a unique mixture of believers from both the Jewish and the Gentile world.  Unknown even to Barnabas the Antioch church was to become the pivot on which the truth of the ages would be identified by revelation and separated forever from all of the religions of man.

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.  The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.   News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.  He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.          Acts 11:19-24

Missionaries Help Start the Church in Antioch
Jerusalem was the center of Christianity in 43 AD.  Many of the apostles still called Jerusalem home and were the leading members of that church.  Peter had traveled and taught through the Judean country side, but had always returned to Jerusalem.  The Apostle John still lived in Jerusalem, providing a home for Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Apostle John Leaves Jerusalem

John would reside in the city of Jerusalem until 66 AD when he fled, along with Mary if she was still alive, to Ephesus in order to escape Rome’s vengeance on the city of Jerusalem for the Jewish revolt.   Jesus had told the disciples thirty-six years before how they should respond when they saw the Roman armies approaching Jerusalem.  Jesus had said:

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the country not enter the city.  For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.”   (Luke 21:20-22)

John understood Jesus’ teachings and would move to Ephesus where Paul had started a church and Timothy had served as pastor.  In Ephesus John would write the
Gospel of John and 1,2,3 John.

Those that left Jerusalem to teach the gospel were of the Jewish culture and trained in the Law of Moses.  It was natural then for them to not only teach the gospel message of the Messiah, but to also teach it from the Jewish perspective.  This was not a problem as long as Jewish believers where sharing their faith with other Jews.  The problem would begin to arise when the Jewish believers began to teach their faith to the non-Jewish crowd.  Anyone who was not a Jew would be called a Gentile. 

In other words, when the Gentiles heard the gospel message explained by a Jew the predominant message was often nothing more than a promotion of Jewish lifestyle, cultural and religious rituals.  The gospel message was in danger of becoming nothing more than the promotion of a culture, first for the Jews and then for the Gentiles.  The church in Antioch was going to be the battle ground for the supremacy of either the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ or the religious rituals and lifestyle of the Jews.

Through out church history, the gospel of Jesus Christ has had to engage in the battle for supremacy with many other religious rituals of man.  Many of them that developed in the very churches that were formed to advance the gospel.  Not only that, but every culture (and there have been many) that Christianity has entered has desired to replace the message of the gospel with the preaching of a lifestyle.

The church in Antioch became the place of a new Christian experiment.  A church was formed out of two different cultures.  Two cultures whose core beliefs included separation from each other (Judaism's traditional values, see Acts 10:28) to the extreme practice of termination of the other cultures (see the prophecy of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel 11:30-32).

When the Jerusalem church heard the news of the Antioch church they possibly perceived that their mission work was running wild and out of control.  To insure that the gospel message had not been compromised they sent Barnabas to bring this mission work back under control.

BACK TO THE TOP

 

Profile on Barnabas

  • Original name was Joseph
  • Born in Cyprus
  • From the tribe of Levi
  • Cousin of John Mark
  • He had family in Jerusalem
  • Joined the apostles in Jerusalem church
  • Sold land to give money to church
  • Named “Son of Encouragement”
  • “Encouragement” is the Greek word that also means “exhortation, comfort”
  • He was known for his gift of “preaching” the truth, not “teaching”
  • Barnabas was the first to reach out to Saul, the persecutor,

after Saul was converted to Christ  (Acts 9:26,27)

Barnabas was the perfect man for the job.  He was raised as a Jew in Gentile culture on the island of Cyprus.  His given Jewish name was Joseph but the apostles in Jerusalem recognized the spiritual gift in this man once he became a believer and gave his the name “Son of Encouragement,” or Barnabas.  Barnabas would have been an exhorter or a preacher who brought comfort and encouragement to the people when he spoke. 

Barnabas could see that God was working in the church in Antioch when he arrived.  He was pleased and sent back a positive report to the apostles in Jerusalem.  Barnabas had a ministry among the people of Antioch that “encouraged them to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” 

Barnabas’ response to the situation encouraged the church to continue their work.  He did not bring needless debates, pointless issues or distracting personal opinions into the church.  Instead Barnabas was able see past the opportunity for distraction and see that God was at work among these people.  Antioch had to be a step down from the Jerusalem church in many ways.  Jerusalem had as their pastor James, the half-brother of Jesus.  The apostles Peter and John were there working in and among the church.  None of this presented a problem for Barnabas and his attitude allowed the church of Antioch to continue to grow with a great number of people coming to the Lord.

We can be sure the leadership style in the Antioch church was different than that of the Jerusalem church.  We would expect the atmosphere of an established, all Jewish church in the heart of Jerusalem that often met in the temple would be considerably different than a young church in Syria filled with Gentile converts from paganismIt is easy to imagine the things that Barnabas overlooked in order to stay focused on the true issue of the gospel.

The church of Antioch was growing and thriving as a great number new converts were added to the group of believers.  But, the church’s responsibility is more than collecting people.  The church is responsible for the spiritual growth and production of those people they have collected.  The local church has a mission to the people of their communities, the moral fiber of their culture and the security of their nation.  This is not going to occur just because a group of people believe in Jesus. 

The gospel message is the foundation of every believer’s spiritual life, their spiritual growth and their spiritual production.  Without faith in Christ there is no life, no growth and no production.  But understand this:  Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation for spiritual growth but faith in Jesus alone is not spiritual growth.  Nor is it maturity, nor fruit nor the fulfillment of the plan of God in your life. 

Jesus said it best himself when he said, “I am the door.”  Doors always lead you into a room.  Doors are not rooms.  Jesus said he was the way to God’s plan for your life.  The believers in Antioch are standing in the doorway and they are very excited.  But, wait until they get into the room that Jesus has led them into.

Barnabas’ next mission is to find someone who can lead this church into an understanding of what is in the room.  He knows who he needs.  He knew this man before either of them were believers. This church needs to hear the teaching of the former Pharisee and persecutor of the church named Saul.  Saul had come to visit the leading apostles after having spent a good part of the three years after his conversion in the wilderness being taught the gospel by revelation from Jesus Christ himself.  The problem is Saul fled Jerusalem for his life five years earlier.  Barnabas must find Saul.

Saul had been escorted by the believers out of Jerusalem to the sea port of Caesarea five years earlier to deliver him from the hands of the Jews.  Saul was sent away to his home town of Tarsus.

Saul would write later in his letter to the Philippians that he had “lost all things” for the sake of Christ.  In the context of this letter Saul is discussing his Jewish heritage.  Saul’s arrival home to Tarsus would have been preceded by reports of his behavior and teaching in the great religious city of Jerusalem that had threatened his life.  Saul’s father, who was a Pharisee, had sent Saul as a youth to school in Jerusalem.  Now this same family would disinherit Saul.  He would lose all contact with his family along with the right to claim his ancestral home, heritage and inheritance.  Saul was alone.

At the time of his conversion Jesus told Saul, “I am sending you to [the Gentiles] to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:17,18)  So for the next five years Saul took his gospel message to the Gentiles in the province of Syria and Cilicia.  Saul had no contact with the apostles or with Jerusalem.  “They only heard the report: ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ ” (Galatians 1:23)  Barnabas had heard of his friend’s work in the ministry as had many, many others.  Reports of his work even reached the churches in Judea and Jerusalem.

 “Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch.  So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people.  The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
Acts 11:25,26

The phrase “look for Saul” is a Greek phrase that means, “to seek up and down, back and forth, to make a thorough search till success comes.” Barnabas would have began his search in Tarsus and tried to retrace Saul’s footsteps over the last five years until he caught up with him.

Saul had received the gospel by direct revelation from Jesus beginning on the road to Damascus in 35 AD and continuing over the next three years while he was alone in Arabia.  In 38 AD Saul had visited Jerusalem to compare notes with the apostles who had seen Jesus.  They accepted Saul’s revelation as the truth and in line with their teaching, though it was more advanced and developed than they had.  Saul then spent the next five years teaching his revelation in Syria and Cilicia.  In 43 AD Barnabas brings Saul, the vessel of the complete revelation from Jesus Christ, back into the front lines of church history. 

Saul would never leave the front line again.  From this point on church history was going to be set on course by the greatest apostle and teacher of the church age. 

For the next year the gifted preacher Barnabas and the gifted teacher Saul worked with great numbers of believers in Antioch.  This combination of Barnabas the exhorter and Saul the teacher produced one of the greatest churches of all time.  Several things happened during the next year that indicate the spiritual growth that took place in these believers. 

First, it was here that the name “Christian” was assigned to believers.  Saul would have identified what it means to accept Christ, to believe in Christ, or to be born again.  A change had occurred on the inside of each believer and they needed to know it.  This accepting the gospel produces an eternal, spiritual change that can not be seen accept by the fruit of that change.  In order for a believer to understand that change they need to be taught the word of God.  There is no doubt that Paul’s teaching led to the disciples realizing who they were as believers in Christ.  They were “Christians” and soon the city of Antioch itself could see who they were. 

The title “Christian” was a natural development for those who followed Christ.  The followers of Herod were called “Herodians.”  The believers became servants of Christ.  The term translated “were called” literally means in the Greek “to transact business” or “to bear the title.”  The believers were transacting in the business of life in the name of the Christ.  They were living the life of a Christian.

The other things we will see this early church begin to do after they had sat under Paul’s daily teaching for a whole year are that they followed the Spirit’s directions (Acts 11:27-28) and  the Christians gave money to support other believers.  It says they decided to help the Jerusalem believers and that they gave according to their ability.  It takes a maturing Christian to give with the right attitude.  It is natural for believers to support Ministries.  Giving is both the result of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and a Gift of the Spirit (Romans 12:8).  If believers are taught the Word of God and instructed concerning their salvation that came through the gospel they will mature and begin to bear fruit in due season.  A church should not have to ask, beg, or manipulate money from mature believers.  Giving is as natural for a mature Christian as producing apples are for an apple tree.  Of course, if you are standing in front of a maple tree looking for apples you have not identified your tree correctly.  The same is true if you are standing in front of people begging them to give your church or ministry money.  You have not identified spiritual maturity very well.  Teach the word, let the believers grow by the Spirit of God and they will produce the fruit in many areas.  The Antioch believers began doing things because they matured through the teaching of the Word.

In chapter 13 of Acts we find the church of Antioch having identified and developed their individual spiritual gifts.  They are seen in true worship, fasting before the Lord and seeking direction for their lives and their ministries.  Their prayer meetings did not consist of telling God the things that they wanted, but instead where seeking to achieve the things that he specifically wanted for them and their church. 
Finally, in Acts 13:2-4 the church sends Barnabas and Saul back out into the field to do mission work.  What others had done for Antioch during the last nine years (35-44 AD), Antioch is ready to do it for others.  In 35 AD believers fleeing persecution arrived in Antioch and began home based meetings.
Nine years later they are sending and supporting men to go and begin ministries in not just one town, but the Church of Antioch has their eye on every town in Asia Minor. 


Result of Believers Receiving Teaching in Antioch
  • Their lives were changed to be Christ like.
  • They followed the Spirit of God in their service to the church.
  • They gave money to assist other believers based on:

a)  Their own decision
b)  Their own financial ability

  • Individual believers identified, developed & used their spiritual gifts
  • They worshipped, fasted before the Lord.
  • They received direction from the Lord.
  • They sent gifted individuals to other places to expand the church.

The facts are that they where the beginning of a ministry that not only reached all of Asia Minor, but also, their efforts would successfully reach Macedonia, Greece, Rome and even Spain.

BACK TO THE TOP

FIRST JOURNEY

Saul and Barnabas left Antioch to board a ship in the seaport city of Seleucia.  They were carried to the island of Cyprus and docked at Salamis.  With John Mark’s help they unloaded their baggage and made contact with the local Jewish synagogue leader. 

As always doors opened for Saul who was a highly trained and respected rabbi from Jerusalem.  Saul’s credentials and reputation were so impressive that even rumors of his recent influence by the claimed messiah, Jesus, did not raise enough suspicion among the Jews still scattered in Gentile lands.  The synagogues in distant Gentile territory would be in awe to stand in the presence of Saul, the skilled rabbi trained by the living legend Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel.  Through out the book of Acts the natural acceptance of a prominent rabbi from Jerusalem and his being given a chance to teach their congregation on the next Sabbath was always an open door for Saul.

Barnabas himself is a native of Cyprus and wealthy enough to have been a land owner, was of the tribe of Levi.  The tribe of Levi was the teaching tribe in the nation of Israel.  This tribe was responsible for the care of the temple and the teaching of the law.  Barnabas’ presence along side that of the rabbi Saul would be an insurmountable advantage for getting the gospel message into synagogues on this missionary trip.

John Mark, Barnabas’s cousin from Jerusalem (Colossians 4:10), went along as their “helper.”  The word “helper” is the Greek word “hyperetes” whose literal meaning is the “under rower” on a boat.  The ancient boats were driven by unseen men seated below the deck supplying the power to the oars.  This picture would also include the people who were on the upper deck being taken somewhere on the ship.  John Mark was under rowing while Saul and Barnabas were doing the visible ministry of the Word.  John Mark was to be the unseen power.  The Greek word translated “helper’ means “assistant, attendant, a helper who willingly submits himself to carry out the will of the one over him.”  His responsibilities could have included carrying scrolls of scripture and possible quotes of Jesus, making travel plans for lodging, meals and transportation, helping teach new converts and serving as an eyewitness of the life and ministry of Jesus.

The ministry often exalts those who are visible and stand before people.  This can often cause those who are providing the power to ministry to neglect their roles due to a lack of understanding of the importance of their position.  Imagine the ship that Saul, Barnabas and John Mark took from Seleucia to Salamis.  What would have happened if the rowers decided that they too wanted to be passengers and left the oars in the lower deck and went to the upper deck to stand and be seen along with the passengers?  If this would have happened the boat would have gone adrift by itself or been dead in the water.  With out the under rowers of the church the entire ministry would collapse. 


Profile on John Mark
  • Mother was Mary, a prominent member of the Jerusalem church

whose house was used for church meetings (Acts 12:12)

  • John was his Jewish name and means “Yahweh is gracious”
  • Mark was his Greek name that may indicate Roman citizenship.
  • His father apparently was dead.
  • His family was wealthy enough to maintain a large house in     

Jerusalem and have at least one servant (Acts 12:13)

  • He traveled with Peter (1 Peter 5:13)
  • He records Peter’s account of Jesus life in the Gospel of Mark
  • He was with Timothy in Asia Minor in 67 AD.
  • At the end of Paul’s life he writes:

“Get Mark. . .he is helpful to me in my ministry.”

The real production of the church is not done by those who are seen.  The apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers are “to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Ephesians 4:11,12) 

As Saul moved through the Gentile lands and moved further away from the Jerusalem and Jewish crowd he began using his Greek name of Paul.  This had probably been his practice over the years of preaching to the Gentiles before he was brought to Antioch by Barnabas. 

Paul, Barnabas and John Mark left the island of Cypress from the seaport and capital Paphos to sail for the mainland of Asia.  They landed in Perga in the small Roman province of Pamphylia (75 miles along coast and 30 to the North) . 

John Mark “left them” in Perga and returned to his mother’s home in Jerusalem.  The Greek phrase “left them” can mean “to depart, to leave, to desert.” The reason for his leaving is not given by Luke but we do find out later that Paul was disappointed that John Mark “had deserted them in Pamphylia and not continued with them in the work.” (Acts 15:38)  Here the word “deserted” means “to depart, to desert, to give up.”  Something had happened that caused John Mark to abandon the mission and these actions where considered by Paul to be an abandonment of the work of the gospel.


Could this be true. . .?

If the last supper was held at Mary’s house, as some believe, then John Mark would have been a young man living in that house that night.  Jesus left for the garden around midnight after having dismissed Judas to betray him.  Judas would have first led the soldiers to Mary’s house in search of Jesus around 1:00 AM, thus waking up John Mark. 
As the troops moved to the garden John Mark may have followed in the shadows still wearing his bed clothes.  This would explain this verse concerning Jesus’ arrest recorded only in Mark’s gospel:

50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment,
was following Jesus.  When they seized him,
52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”
Mark 14:50-52

It is important to note that although Paul and Barnabas land in Perga that they do not look for a synagogue there or even spend time preaching.  Instead they move quickly north to the city called Antioch in Pisidia.  It appears for several reasons that Paul’s plan was to pick up the main Roman road running through Asia.  Paul’s style of ministry was to go to the main cities on the main roads with the gospel.  He would form a church there and then when the church matured they would take the gospel to the surrounding communities that where near them on the back roads.  We can assume that this is Paul’s plan here as well.

The Roman road system was an engineering wonder that still leaves us with roads that exist today 2,000 years later.  Paul was a strategist who would not have let a potential ministry tool like the Roman roads not be used as a communication network and a church planting system. 

 

 

 

Roman Road


Roman roads still exist today.  Mile marker stones still exist from 6 BC.
The picture above is a Roman road in the ancient city of Sepphoris.  Sepphoris is about four miles or an hours walk north of Nazareth.

The Roman road was nine to twelve feet wide and allowed two chariots to pass.  Mile markers were planed to indicate distances and eventually maps were made that detailed routes, miles, towns, inns, mountains and rivers. 

During construction a trench was dug six to nine feet deep to form the road bed.  Lime or sand was placed in this trench to create a level base.  Four to five inch diameter stones were laid twelve to twenty four inches deep.  Then came nine to twelve inches of concrete.  Several layers of rolled concrete covered this at the depth of twelve inches on the sides and eighteen inches in the middle to crown the road for drainage.  The final layer was made up of blocks of stone six inches or more fitted together in the  final layer of wet concrete.

 

Antioch Pisidia was positioned on the Roman road called Via Sebaste, or the Sebasten Way, that ran from the Euphrates river through Antioch Pisidia all the way to Ephesus.  Paul was probably planning on heading west after Antioich, Pisidia.  On his second missionary journey Paul would have followed this road from Antioch, Syria all the way to the coast north of Ephesus to the city Troas, or ancient Troy.

“On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
After the reading from the Law and the Prophets,
the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying,
‘Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement
for the people, please speak.’ ”
Acts 13:14-16

 

Synagogue Service consisted of several parts each week:

Shema
 

Together they would say, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Prayer

by the synagogue leader

Reading of the Law

(Genesis-Deuteronomy) which was read in sequence through out the year.

Reading from the Prophets

(Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, twelve minor prophets) that corresponded with the reading from the Law.

Sermon

“A Message of Encouragement” from a member of the congregation

Closing Blessing

 

Synagogue Service consisted several parts each week:

Shema—Together they would say, “Hear O Israel: The       Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Prayer by the synagogue leader
Reading of the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) which was read in sequence through out the year.
Reading from the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel , twelve minor prophets) that corresponded with the reading from the Law.
Sermon, or “A Message of Encouragement” from a member of the congregation.
The Closing Blessing

 
It appears that Paul and Barnabas simply attended a regular synagogue service one Saturday, or Sabbath, morning.  This synagogue was large enough that they had several synagogue leaders.  It was common for the synagogue ruler to request someone from the congregation to bring the mornings message after the reading of the Law and the Prophets.  When they realized Rabbi Saul from Jerusalem was joining them for their service that day they sent one of their assistants to ask if he or Barnabas would bring the daily message to the people.

 

“Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!  The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert,  he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance.  All this took about 450 years.  After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.   Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.After removing Saul, he made David their king.  He testified concerning him: ’I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ “
Acts 13:16-22

 

Paul addresses the crowd by identifying them as two groups of people:  Jews and Gentiles (often called “God fearers”).  Paul sermon here can be broken into four parts:

  1. The Old Testament message with four points of faith.
  2. The new message of Jesus with four points of Christian faith.
  3. The use of three Old Testament passages of scripture to prove the validity of Jesus as the Messiah.
  4. An exhortation to believe the message of perish.

Directly above in Acts 13:16-22 is the Jewish portion of the sermon.  The four points are:
            a)  God is the God of Israel
            b)  God choose Israel
            c)  God redeemed Israel from Egypt
            d)  God gave Israel their inheritance

Paul’s last OT character, David, will be used as the bridge to begin the Christian message.  Paul has so far preached consistent with all the Jews and Gentile converts present that day.  At this point Paul is going to make a connection that he himself had to personally make eleven years before in order to recognize Jesus as the savior and the Messiah.  Paul, the Rabbi, trained in the Old Testament scriptures since his youth has been presenting the scriptural connection to Jesus in front of congregations, crowds and mobs for over a decade.  Many of Paul’s beatings have already come from Jews during those ten years.

“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.  Before that coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.  As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am?  I am not that one.  No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’  Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.  The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.  Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.  When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.  They are now his witnesses to our people.”                      
Acts 13:23-30

Paul begins the Christian portion of his message by stating two important facts to establish Jesus as the Messiah:
            1)  He is a descendent of David as promised in scripture
            2)  He was identified as the Messiah by a prophet (John the Baptist)

With Jesus’ claim to Messiah being verified by scripture and a prophet Paul address the two groups of his audience again to make his next point very clear.  He address both the “Children of Abraham” (Jews) and the “God-fearing Gentiles” as “Brothers” because the message of salvation through the Messiah Jesus is for them both.  Everyone, both Jew and Gentile, can receive this message.  This teaching could be met with  skepticism from both groups since the Jews and their temple worship have been the way to God for the Gentiles in the past.

Paul then establishes the four main points of the gospel message
            1)  Jesus was crucified
            2)  Jesus was laid in a tomb dead
            3)  God raised Jesus from the dead
            4)  People saw Jesus alive and are witnesses to the truth

These four points are repeated to the Corinthians:

 ”For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:

1)  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
            2)  that he was buried,
            3)  that he was raised to life on the third day according to the scriptures,
            4) and that he appeared to
                        a) Peter,
                        b) and then to the Twelve.
c)After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
                        d) Then he appeared to James,
                        e) then to all the apostles,
                        f) and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one                                                                      abnormally born.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-8

To “Believe in Jesus” means you understand & accept as truth:

  • Jesus died for your sins
  • Jesus was buried
  • Jesus  was raised to life by God
  • Jesus appeared alive to many people who saw him alive

 

 

These four points are the basis of Christian faith.  If some one is asked what a person needs to believe or accept in order to be saved and receive eternal life these four points would be a solid biblical answer.  To believe in Jesus does not mean that someone believes there is a God.  Believing in God does not bring salvation, though it is obviously hard to believe that sin exist, that Jesus died for us and that God raised him from the dead if you reject the reality of a being greater than creation.  Confessing your sins means you realize you have a problem but that is not salvation.  Doing good works for people or for the higher being called God will not cause you to have salvation.  You must believe in the Jesus.  And, Jesus is simply, yet richly, described as the one who died for our sins, was buried, was raised to life by God, and was seen alive by many witnesses.  If you can accept that for yourself, then you have received the message and have salvation

“We tell you the good news:  What God promised our fathers  he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.  As it is written in the second Psalm

‘You are my Son today I have become your Father.’ (Psalm 2:7)

The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’
(Isaiah 55:3)

So it is stated elsewhere:

‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’ (Psalm 16:10)

For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep;
he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.
But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.”
Acts 13:32-37

Paul follows his proclamation of the Christian message with three Old Testament verses that foretell the Messiahship of Jesus and his resurrection.

In the first Old Testament quote that Paul uses he is expressing a new relationship between the Son and the Father.  The word “become” or the Greek verb “gennao” means “to bring forth, to begat.”  This is not speaking of bringing forth or giving birth to God the Son by God the Father since they are both eternal.   It is instead speaking of a new relationship between these two eternal beings.  What new relationship between God the Son and God the Father could this refer too?

The Son of God has existed eternally as has the other members of the Trinity, God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament the Son of God was called LORD, or Yahweh.  At the first Christmas the Son of God took on flesh and became a man.  The Son of God did not cease to be God at this point, nor did he lay his deity aside.  The Son of God instead maintained his deity but also added something to it.  The Son of God added the very nature of manhood to his eternal nature as God.  He even took the human name of Jesus.  The LORD became LORD Jesus.

It is correct to call him LORD Jesus because during his entire time on the earth he was both God and man, and he is still both God and man today.  But, this is not the new relationship of spoken of in Psalm 2:7.

In Israel during the Old Testament men where chosen to fill three basic offices.  They were the king, the priest and the prophet.  Each generation of Israelites would have one or more kings, priests, or prophets anointed with oil.  The oil represented the Holy Spirit coming upon these men to unable them to serve in these offices.  Once these men were anointed into an office they also entered into a new type of relationship with God.  They were no longer just men, they were men who stood before God as the king, or the high priest, or as a prophet.

There was one unique office that was often mentioned and prophesied about, but it had gone unfilled for generations.  It was a unique office because it would only be filled one time by one man and then that filling was forever.  It was the office of the Messiah.  The Messiah would be the savior, the king, the deliverer and the one who made things right with God for man and creation.  The Messiah was to be a man.  This man was spoken of in the Garden of Eden as the seed of the woman, Job called him his redeemer, Abraham believed in him, David knew he would sit on his throne and Isaiah described him as coming as a suffering servant but also as a conqueror.

The Hebrew word for “Messiah” means “to smear, or anoint” and is simply called the “Anointed One” by Daniel.  The Greek word for “the anointed one” is “christos” or, in English, “Christ”.   The word Christ means “the anointed one”, or the Messiah.

When the Son of God, or the LORD, took on the nature of a man, and received the name Jesus, he maintained the nature of deity but added the nature of man.  As a man he was a baby, a child, a twelve year old, a young adult, and a thirty-year old man.  At the age of thirty the LORD Jesus, the God-man,  went to be baptized by the prophet John the Baptist.  John Mark records in his gospel that “as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ ”  (Mark 1:10,11)   It was at this point that the LORD Jesus entered into a new relationship with God the Father and became the “Anointed One”.  The man Jesus entered into the office of the Messiah.  It was at this point that Jesus became the Christ.  His name and title would now and forever be The LORD Jesus Christ.  Jesus was not born the Christ.  God was born a man and that man was anointed by the Spirit of God to fulfill the office of the Christ.  The man Jesus was anointed the Christ by God the Father.  This is the meaning of Paul’s use of Psalms 2:7 in his synagogue message in Antioch Pisidia.  God the Father is quoted as saying, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father, or  “You are my Son from eternity past; today as a man you have been anointed to enter a new relationship with me as the chosen Messiah.”

Paul uses two more verses to show that through out the Old Testament people like David realized that the Holy Spirit had revealed that the Messiah would die, that he would be buried, but that also he would clearly be raised from the dead.  This prophecy is called “the holy and sure blessings” by Isaiah.  David clearly states that God the Father would “not let your Holy One see decay.”

This was the message Paul used to introduce the LORD Jesus Christ to the synagogue in Antioch.  He had used teaching to explain the Old Testament in light of the New Testament faith in Jesus.  But, at this point Paul, the teacher, was going to switch into the exhorter, or Paul, the preacher.

“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the        
forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 
Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
”Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe,
even if someone told you.”

Acts 13:38-41

This portion of the message is the exhortation to believe.  Paul has wrapped up his teaching and is pleading with them to accept the gospel message.  Not only was the coming of the Messiah was foretold and the resurrection of the Messiah was foretold.  Also foretold by the Jewish prophets was the people’s response to the message of the Messiah.  They would scoff at the message even if someone explained it to them.  Paul is telling the people in Antioch to make sure that this prophecy does not apply to them and accept the gospel.

If they insist on being “scoffers” (the Greek word means “one who despises and thinks down on another”) then they are left to “wonder” (this means to wonder at something and be amazed, but to never understand it) at the message but never comprehend it or believe it.  If they are left in this state of “wonder” with out faith, they will “perish” (which means to be destroyed so as to vanish and disappear) from the face of the earth and not see the future kingdom of the Messiah.

Paul’s means of salvation was belief in the message that through Jesus there is forgiveness of sins.  Paul says that “everyone who believes is justified.”  He adds that they are justified from everything they could not be justified from by the law of Moses.  With this Paul identifies the law of Moses with it rituals, sacrifices and temple worship as being unable to justify, or remove sins to save anyone.  Only through faith in Jesus work can a man be justified before God.

Paul would continue the practice of preaching in the Jewish synagogues in all of the Gentile cities he would reach.


A Sample of the Synapogues were Paul Preached the Gospel

In Damascus
At once he (Paul) began to preach in the synagogues that     Jesus is the Son of God.”  Acts 9:20
In Antioch, Pisidian
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them
 to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.”
Acts 13:43
In Iconium
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue.
Acts 14:1
In Thessalonica
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days
 he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the
 Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.”
Acts 17:2
In Berea
On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.”
Acts 17:10
In Athens
“So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews.”
Acts 17:17
In Corinth
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue.”
Acts 18:4
In Ephesus
“He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the     Jews.”
Acts 18:19
In Ephesus
“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months,
 arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.”
Acts 19:8

 

Paul's First Missionary Journey

46

  • Paul and Barnabus leave for
    first missionary journey

BACK TO THE TOP

47

  • Peter has come to Antioch in Syria
    (Gal.2:11)
  • Paul travels in Galatia to Antioch in
    Pisida, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe
  • James sends Jews from Jerusalem
    to Antioch (Gal.2:12)
  • Judaizers confuse the Antioch church

48

  • Paul returns through the same cities
    and sails back to Antioch
  • Peter and Barnabus are led astray by
    Judaizers from Jerusalem (G.2:13)
  • Paul opposes Peter and the Judaizers
    (Gal.2:14)
  • To resolve the conflict of Judaism &
    Christianity the Jerusalem Council
    is held (Acts 15 ; Gal.2:1-10)
  • Paul goes to Jerusalem Council
  • Judas and Silas are chosen by the
    apostles to return to Jerusalem
    Paul and Barnabus (Ac.15:22)

49

  • Paul teaches in Antioch
  • Paul writes to the Galatians against the
    Judaizers who have gone there
  • Paul and Barnabus argue and separate
  • Paul leaves on second missionary
    journey through Galatia to Troas

Paul writes
Galatians from
Antioch in Syria

Roman historian Suetonius (70-122) records that Emperor Claudius expelled Jews from Rome.  He wrote that Claudius “expelled the Jews from Rome since they rioted constantly at the instigation of Chrestus (or, Christ)”

 

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OTHER SITES (back to the top)

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QUESTIONS (back to the top)



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
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