Acts 11 begins with Peter’s defense against his critics. Legalists were disgruntled by his hospitality. The testimony of the Lord’s work through Peter persuaded them, and they rejoiced at what God was doing. Persecution continues to scatter and believers continue to spread the word. Luke offers a helpful insight. The majority of disciples focused exclusively on fellow Jews. Some of them, however, had a bigger dream. Jesus is Lord of all, therefore, the gospel is not limited in scope. The focus included outsiders called Hellenists. Hellenists spoke Greek and were Gentiles. Out of this mission endeavor the church at Antioch was born. This church would be instrumental in the spread of the gospel into unknown places. And it started with the work of a few courageous, mission-minded disciples. As the church grows it continues to strengthen and develop a network of partnerships. The church at large relies on one another. When part of the body struggles, the other part comes to the rescue. Antagonists began ridiculing believers at Antioch by calling them ‘little Christs.’ What was meant as slander is now worn as a badge of honor and exaltation. The church continues to wear the name of Jesus wherever she goes. The questions remains. How well do she wear that name?
Use these questions to read, reflect, and live out Acts 11 this week:
What happens when you’re criticized for following Jesus?
Why was Peter sent to Cornelius?
Where are you currently standing in God’s way?
What did ‘some of them’ do differently?
What can we learn from Barnabas?
How does the church respond to disaster?
The Small Groups will study Acts 10 beginning September 02.