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Acts 11:27-30

Acts 11:27-30


Sermon: Maturing in Faith in the Midst of Crisis
Bible Passage: Acts 11:27-30

I. About the Church at Antioch

1. Congregation comprised of people from Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Cyrene
2. It had leaders like Barnabas and Paul—they contributed much to the church’s character and spiritual formation (verse 21-25)

a. Barnabas was full of Holy Spirit and faith (verse 24)
b. Paul was a teacher of God’s grace

3. In a short period of its formation, the church was the talk of the town (verse 26)

II. Verse 27: “During those days” refers to:

1. When the church was led by men like Barnabas and Paul
2. When Jews and non-Jews were learning to worship together as one people around Christ, free of all barriers
3. When the church was growing leaps and bounds through the bold sharing of the believers
4. When the church was more and more becoming visible—“Christians”

III. God was preparing His church in Antioch for maturity through an imminent crisis (verses 27-28)

1. Through an itinerant/travelling preacher, the Holy Spirit of God informed that there was going to be a worldwide famine (verse 28)
2. During this famine, God was not going to exempt His people from the crisis
3. But He would mature them in their faith by birthing new aspects of community life
4. Through this crisis, God was going to bring the best out of the Christian community that was in Antioch
5. In the midst of all negativities, God would bring about something hitherto was not seen in them

IV. When the Holy Spirit works in a church and is obeyed by the believers, they become externally focused

1. The believers in Antioch think about their fellow believers in Jerusalem (verse 29)

a. They probably did not personally know Jerusalem believers who were mostly Jews, but the believers in Antioch wanted to stand with them
b. They did not think about the racial and regional differences
c. The Holy Spirit of God created in the believers love for others in need
d. This is a new sociology—the Holy Spirit induced sociology
e. Being externally focused is one of the signs of the Holy Spirit working internally—absence of selfishness

2. The believers in Antioch became generous towards believers in Jerusalem (verse 29)—“according to each one was able”

a. Participation was not only by a small group of people, but every believer “each one” (verse 29)—not mere spectators and empty enthusiasts
b. Being generous is not the privilege of only the rich but every believer

i .The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed (Prov 19:17)
ii. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Prov 11:25)
iii. One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he should and comes to poverty (Prov 11:24)

3. What matters is not the size of their giving, but their response to the Holy Spirit of God

i. According to verse 29, their giving was treated as a ministry—ministry of meeting the needs of others (they didn’t need special training, but all they needed was the influence of the Holy Spirit)
ii. This gesture demonstrates the oneness of the church (Rom 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia are pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 15:27 For they were pleased to do this)

V. The crisis pushed the church to be socially relevant (verse 30)

1. Church is the body of Christ (It is not a private club of believers)
2. Therefore, it always has social relevance
3. It has the light and salt properties
4. It is the local church through which God meets the needs of the people

VI. When they responded to the Holy Spirit of God, they were not aware that it was a foundation for something bigger and wider in the days to come (verse 30)

1. God developed them to become a missionary sending church
2. God raised leaders like Paul, Barnabas, Luke, etc., to be the world changers
3. This was the first experience for Paul, which he continued pretty much all the duration of his ministry
4. A lot of world changers are made when they respond to God often during crisis!!

VII. Lessons

1. The most important requirement of church life is to listen and obey the Holy Spirit of God
2. Impact of a church is not measured in the size of the church, but in its willing to listen and obey the Holy Spirit
3. During the time of crisis and need, church must be open handed and generous with its resources
4. The church must not become territorial, but be willing to break all barriers

Take Away:

Become generous towards the needy and affected in this pandemic by focusing externally

1. Listen and be obedient to God what He is speaking to you in this crisis
2. Do not look at this pandemic as just inconvenience, but use it as an opportunity to reach out with love and compassion
3. Do not maintain status quo, but follow the model of the Antiochian believers)—“according to each one was able”

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at