Three Cautions From Acts 11
CAUTION: care taken to avoid danger or mistakes.
Acts 11:22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
1. Stay Encouraged!
Encouragement: persuasion to do or to continue something.
A] What does God say?
B] What do spirit-filled believers say?
C] Prayer encourages and strengthens – you see the light at the end of the tunnel!
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”
BUT encouragement doesn’t mean “tell me what I want to hear.”
Jehosaphat aligns with Ahab and seeks advice from the prophets: 2 Chronicles 18:13 [NKJV] “And Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.”
Encouragement is found in obedience!
“But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” 2 Chronicles 15:7 (NKJV)\
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TODAY TO STAY ENCOURAGED?
25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
2. Stay Grounded in the Word.
2 Chronicles 17:9-10 “So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people. And the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah…”
Catholic, Coptic, and Protestant: The Great Schism
Pope / High ranking bishop / Pastor
Mary / Saints / Priests can marry / Purgatory
Mass [Knox and Mary queen of Scots] – once and for all sacrifice or repetitive?
In the book, Rome Sweet Rome: Our Journey to Catholicism, Scott and his wife Kimberly tell how they started looking at the Eucharist differently than Protestants: “One evening, we had an opportunity to be at a Mass where there was a Eucharistic procession at the end. I had never seen this before. As I watched row after row of grown men and women kneel and bow when the monstrance passed by, I thought, These people believe that this is the Lord, and not just bread and wine. If this is Jesus, that is the only appropriate response. If one should kneel before a king today, how much more before the King of Kings? the Lord of Lords? Is it safe to kneel or not? But, I continued to ruminate, what if it’s not? If that is not Jesus in the monstrance, then what they are doing is gross idolatry. So, is it safe to kneel (142)?”
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TODAY TO STAY GROUNDED?
Oswald – “Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples …Math 28:19….not,”Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”
3. Stay Compassionate – “A giving heart is a godly heart.”
Relief to Judea
27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Prophecy: forth-telling vs. foretelling – The divine enablement to proclaim God’s truth with power and clarity in a timely and culturally sensitive fashion for correction, repentance, or edification. The ability to reveal God’s Word accurately. People with this gift ask: “What went wrong? What caused this?”
Points on Giving:
1 Cor. 16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
Sunday collection – “Each according to his ability.”
It’s not natural; it’s a discipline: Reaping and sowing.
Serving is giving, but it doesn’t replace giving.
Isaiah 3:15 – What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the face of the poor? Declares the Lord GOD of hosts.
Amos 5:12 – For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, You who distress the righteous and accept bribes And turn aside the poor in the gate.
How not to Enable – Attitude, Character, and Work ethic
K.P. Yohannan, in his powerful book, No Longer A Slumdog, seeks to help the people of Asia. He makes a striking comparison between life in America and the slums of developing countries:
“After a risky home delivery on the dirt floor of the family shack, you were dried off with a dirty rag or an old newspaper…Your home was made of tarpaulin sheets held up by bamboo sticks. It was pretty crowded with your whole family living in less than 100 square feet of space. The shack was right next to a railroad track, and every 10 minutes a train would come roaring through. Sleep was difficult under these conditions.
“When you were born, you were already malnourished. The little milk your mother was able to give couldn’t do much to ensure your growth. You might also suffer night-blindness from Vitamin A deficiency. Soon your mom had to resume her day job of cleaning streets with a hand-broom and washing other people’s clothes, because when she didn’t work, the family didn’t eat. So you were left in care of an older sibling.
“As you started to crawl, you explored on your hands and knees the open sewer trenches running along the alley between neighboring shacks. If you had clothing at all, it was made from rags found in the nearby dump…”.
But in our pride and arrogance we say, “Those poor Third World countries. God help them.” No, God help us.
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TODAY TO ENCOURAGE A GIVING HEART?