7/2/2017 "The True Christian Church"

The True Christian Church

(Acts 11:26)

Today, the most commonly used term when describing a 'believer' following Jesus Christ is the word 'Christian'. People like to talk about the Christian church and the Christian faith. However, it is true that many of those who confess themselves to be Christians today do not really know what "Christians" means.

If a person was born in a Christian home, grew up in a Christian environment, attended a Christian mission school, and regularly attends worship, it does not explain what it is to be a Christian. There is a clear difference between being a Christian and becoming a Christian. So today we want to learn what the Bible says to be a Christian.

I am very fascinated by this term as I prepare for the word "Christian" in the text today. Although the term "Christian" was used 80 times in the New Testament to describe believers, the word "Saint" was used 60 times, the word "disciples" was used 30 times, and the word "Christianity" Used facts.

Christians did not make this name by themselves. It was the name given by the unbelievers. Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote in 116 AD about Nero's persecution of the people they call 'Christians'. At this time, the word "Christian" was a term for abuse, derision and shame, but Christians turned this shame into a proud honor. Christian is a person who is saved by Christ.

"And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. "(11:26)

Stephen preached the gospel and was martyred (Acts 7). And massive persecution has begun in the Jerusalem church by the secular power that supports the Jews and them. And they were all scattered abroad in the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Now they have been scattered abroad, and that is the way they are about to travel.
Antioch is located about 480 km north of Jerusalem, the third largest city in the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria. What did those scattered in Antioch do? They preached the Lord Jesus. Of course, they preached the Gospel only to their own Jews. But some of them also preached the gospel to the Gentiles. And the result is verse 21.

"And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." (11:21)

Numerous people believed in Jesus and were saved. The expansion of the gospel was possible because the church in Jerusalem was scattered. Stephen's martyrdom and subsequent persecution of the church seemed like a crisis of the gospel on the surface. The buds of Christianity seemed to be cut off. So many people were forced to think that Christianity is over now. But the result was the exact opposite.

Many people have accepted the Gospel. The Gospel was extended from Jews to Gentiles. The gospel did not die. Rather, the kingdom of God has been steadily expanded. 

Therefore, beloved, I hope you will believe that as the persecution and crisis come closer, the gospel will expand. Who can remove the gospel when our God protects the gospel? The second coming of Jesus is delayed to save even one person. What forces can interfere with the gospel? Do not be afraid of persecution, do not be afraid of the crisis. Crisis is an opportunity soon.

"And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." (11:21)

God's power was with them. God blessed the Gentile mission of Antioch church. You can reap a lot of fruit if your hands are on your way to our evangelism. But what effect can I have if I alone witness? What can I do alone if the Lord does not help?

“Jerusalem: and they will come forth."(11:22)

Barnabas said that he should go as far as Antioch. The church in Jerusalem heard the news of Antioch. So they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There would have been a lot of people in the church in Jerusalem, especially Barnabas. Barnabas was a blessed man. Because he was specifically chosen for the work of God.

May you also enjoy the blessings of choosing to do the work of God. May we be chosen for the important work of God, and chosen whenever we have an important plan in our church. Those who are often used by God are blessed people. The church that is used in the important plan of God is a blessed church. Then what kind of person was Barnabas so that he was specifically chosen?

In Acts 4, he was a man of exhortation and comfort. In verse 24 he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. He had a good personality. He had a good faith. He had a very good relationship with God and with people. So the Antioch church is a blessed church. Because they met a great leader like Barnabas.

As a result, the Antioch church began to revive greatly. It was revived by meeting good leaders and being obedient and trained. Do you want your children to be used by the Lord great and mighty? Parent attitudes are important for this. A big dream for your child. Have a big wish. And always support them with prayer and prepare their faith and ability. I believe that there will be a lot of loyal God's people in our church like the second Barnabas.

"Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:" (11:25)

Why did Barnabas go to seek Saul? To co-operate with Saul. But a deeper meaning is that God began to use Saul as a Gentile missionary. The age of Saul was slowly opening. God called Saul. And God has trained him. And when it was time, God finally began to use Paul.

Are you now being used by God? I hope you continue to be used by God. Are you readying something now? Please be prepared to believe that your age will come in the future. In Acts 13, Paul (= Saul) and Barnabas are being sent as missionaries.

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (13:2-3)

Since then, Paul has been leading the mission and the name of Barnabas has gradually been concealed. Barnabas, now under Paul's service, is now serving Paul. Perhaps Paul might have been a god (though not surely). So what was Barnabas's position? Would not Barnabas taste like work? But not at all. I expect you to learn Paul's passion for God's work. At the same time, I hope you will learn Barnabas' beautiful personality.

He was more lacking than me. I led him and I helped him a lot. He grew well because of me. From a certain moment he started to lead me ahead, and he is heavier than me. Before, I was the star and he was the supporting star. Now he is the star and I am the supporting star. Do you feel good? Does it taste good to work? But Barnabas did not. Therefore, do you know why Barnabas is good?

Barnabas is his pride if the gospel is to expand. I thought that it was not important to me. He thought what would happen if my name did not show up. If the gospel can be extended to the whole world, now he can go under Paul and follow him. Barnabas is so wonderful. He is a great person.

Why did the church in Jerusalem send Barnabas to Antioch? It was to build up the Antioch church. By sending Barnabas to Antioch, the church in Jerusalem loses one good worker. At the same time, the Antioch church may become larger and more important than the church in Jerusalem. But the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch. Even though they may lose their churches by yielding to good laborers. They were willing to send Barnabas.

Verse 26: Both Barnabas and Paul taught the members of the Antioch church for a year. As a result, they were told that they were Christians from the Romans.
Verses 27-28: When the Church of Antioch grew well, the prophets came to Jerusalem from Antioch, and among them the prophet, Agabus, prophesied that there would be a great famine under the earth. And as predicted, famine came. Then what is the response of the Antioch church?

Verse 29: We sent an aid offering through Barnabas and Paul to help the church in Jerusalem. The Antioch church members participated in the donation. Everyone gave his offering in his own strength. Here you can see the attitude of offering.

They lacked financial resources and their church had a lot to do but they thought of their neighbors before themselves. They first thought of hunger for their neighbors rather than their hunger. When the persecution came to the church in Jerusalem, all the members were scattered all over the place. However, because of the persecution, the Antioch church was established, and the Antioch church grew well enough to be a central church in world missions even though it is a short history. They were recognized as Christians.

"For unto you is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." (Philippians 1:29)

If you trust Christ alone with God, you will often suffer. Especially if you are a true Christian, you will suffer much more than other average Christians. When Peter denied the Lord Jesus three times, the Bible said that he went out and cried terribly. He was miserable.

In Acts 5, however, Peter was imprisoned and stabbed for Christ's sake. But when he was released he was so happy.

"And they departed from the presence of the council, and they were counted worthy to suffer for his name." (Acts 5:41)

I was able to read stories about loyal soldiers who were fighting in a battle some time ago. In order to occupy the highlands, the soldiers with the flags went out too far as they advanced through the bullets and shells, which bulged into the highlands. At that time, one sergeant reported the fact to the commanding officer.

"Commander, would you ask the soldier with the flag to retreat back to us?"

At that time, the chief commander said that he said this.

"No, our country does not have to retreat for our company. We have to move on to where our country is. That flag is our homeland to be loyal to us!"

I think that people called Christians today should do the same. True Christians should rise. Do not wait for what the kingdom of God will do for you, but you must move forward toward the kingdom of God.

I pray that our church will be used more like Antioch church. To do so, please show that you are a Christian in this society. Please sacrifice yourself and serve your neighbors. I hope that our church will become the Antioch church of this age.

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