Acts 11:19-26

Peter and a Gentile named Cornelius had a vision that brought the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentile people. God had this whole thing rigged! Through persecution the church was scattered and shared the gospel wherever they went! In the first part of Acts chapter 11 Peter was criticized for sharing the gospel to the Gentiles. He shared with them about God’s vision. A strong Gentile church was established that identified those Gentiles who were followers of Christ and for the first time they were called Christians. We see in this passage the Blueprint for the Gentile Church. The Actions, Affections for Christ, and the Attitudes they had towards the church gave them a strong identity. May this challenge us as well!

They Were Intentional vv.19-20

Are we intentional?  Are we building relationships intentionally to share Jesus Christ?  Barna Group recently put out an article that stated that only 51% of church goers were familiar with the Great Commission.  I believe we’ve lost a desire to be intentional for Christ. 

They Were Inspirational v.21

They were moved by the power of the Holy Spirit and their circumstances, but it specifically said “the hand of the Lord was with them.”  According to John 15 we are nothing apart from the power and presence of God.  Let us make a commitment to never strive to do ministry apart from Christ.  That we petition the powerful throne of God for the mighty work of God!  Oh, may our heart cry to the Lord for the lost, that we would take Heaven by storm for His glory.  That we would seek the hand of the Lord to awaken our church, our community, our nation, and our world for His glory alone!  

They Were Influential vv.22-24

Because of the great work that God was doing in Antioch, word got back to Jerusalem.  Hey send Barnabas to get the real story!  You know there was some doubt.  No, not those Gentiles! They can’t be doing God’s work!  God will work in the most unlikely people and the most unlikely places so that He alone gets the glory!  They influenced the Christian epicenter of the time and showed them that God is bigger than one area!  “Hey Jerusalem, you don’t have a corner market on the gospel!  It’s going global!”

They Were Instructional v.26a

There was a fervor spun from a great desire to bring glory to God to learn!  May we as Christians continue to long to learn the Word, become students of people, and students of culture. Why?  For the glory of God!  The glory of God defines us as Christians.  There is a white hot passionate flame within us to know more in order to proclaim His glory more!

Pour yourselves out, reproduce believers, train disciples to make disciples.  If we can be good at one thing, be good at making disciples that make disciples.      

They Were Identifiable v.26b

They were called Christians!  The word Christian was a derogatory term used by outsiders, nonbelievers.  Its meaning is little Christ.  These little Christ identified them with Jesus Christ.  What was meant to be derogatory was a pure delight.  “Call me a Jesus Freak!”  As believers, we don’t wear uniforms, but we better be identifiableWe better make people wonder why theirs an attractive joy within us

Our identity is in Christ!  Our lives are saturated with the glory of Jesus Christ!  People, our identity is not in the passions of this world, how much money we make, the type of car we drive, the size of house we have, or our retirement fund. You have died with Christ, you will be resurrected when its time.  That is our identity!       

They were first called Christians in Antioch!  They had a distinct identity!  Wouldn’t it be amazing if people drove through Pearl River County and they felt the glory of God and conviction of sin!  Jonathan Edwards wrote this concerning his town as a reference to the Great Awakening “Ever since the great work of God that was wrought here about nine years ago, there has been a great abiding alteration in this town in many respects.”

What is the result of their identification as a Christian in Antioch?  They were Impacting a Culture for Christ!  Let me ask this question, “If we, Oak Hill Baptist Church, ceased to exist, would the community miss us?”  Are we making an impact on the community?  Are we a bridge or a barrier to the gospel?  Let’s pray for a mighty movement like Acts 4:31 in which they prayed and boldness came upon them for the cause of Christ!