What can the Lord do through one local church? Just look at Antioch. Unnamed men planted the church there by broadly proclaiming Jesus (11.20-21). The influence of the church grew under the discipleship of Barnabas (11.22-26). Now in Acts 13, the church gathers in worship and the Spirit sends out Barnabas and Paul. This marks his first missionary journey. The core of their missionary enterprise is preaching the Word. By the Word the Lord creates and shapes the church. People hear the missionaries and respond with repentance and belief. The mission endeavor is not without opposition. The opposition will attempt to make crooked the straight paths of the Lord. Their main tool is deceit. The church does not back down or stop speaking. Acts 13 also marks a change is missional direction for Paul. In fulfillment of the Lord’s word (9.15), Paul turns to the nations-at-large and carries the name of Jesus to the Gentiles. The Gentile reaction is quite different. They rejoice in what Jesus is doing and glorify him by believing his salvation. So, what happens when one local church seeks the Lord and his favor? Luke says it best. ‘The word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.’ What would it take for the Lord to do it again?
Use these questions to read, reflect, and live out Acts 13 this week:
How were the missionaries sent?
What was the missional strategy?
What did the missionaries say to the people?
What good news did the missionaries share?
How do missionaries respond to opposition?
The Small Groups will study Acts 12 beginning September 16.
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