The First Mission Journey Acts 13:1-12

April 6, 2017

The First Mission Journey

Acts 13:1-12

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Antioch church has some similarities with our Japanese Fellowship Church.  Do you remember?  From today’s text we also find good characteristics of Antioch church. Do you find the similarities?

I. Characteristics of Antioch church: international, multi-racial, and various ethnic groups but one purpose – serving the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Names shown in Acts 13:1 indicate different nationalities, different ethnic, (color), and different social standing (see Manaen brought up with King Herod).

Antioch church is a praying, worshiping, fasting, and the Holy Spirit filled church.  The Holy Spirit is always center of the church…lead by the HS and sent by the HS.  (Verse 2)

Jerusalem church was the 1st Christian church, but shifted to Antioch church as the 2nd church.

Antioch church had a very unique idea in that time - sending missionaries to other part of the world. Following Jesus’ command, Mark 16:15… today’s Scripture, the Great Commission of Mission.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Antioch church set apart Barnabas and Saul. Then the church put hands on them - called anointing and commissioning. By the way, Saul was gone for a few years. So Barnabas went to look for Saul in Tarsus, found him, and brought him back to Antioch to help Barnabas…Saul was a sidekick at first. Later Saul changed name to Paul and became the leader in the mission journey.

 

II.  Now they went to the very first mission journey; first, they went to Cyprus island... Barnabas’ home land…. He decided to reach out first to his home place; neighborhood and surrounding communities.

Then they went on to other parts of the island.  They proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.  This was also a familiar method for them…speaking in the Jewish community for Jews. 

Two major incidents miraculously took place by the HS.

(1)    They met sorcerer called Elymas or Bar-Jesus, means son of the Savior.  He prevented them to reach out to proconsul, Sergius Paulus who was a high official from Rome to govern the island.

Saul looked at this bad guy, in this way….

 

9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”

As  soon as Saul said so, this evil man became blind and heeded someone to lead him by hand. Does it remind you something?  Yes, Saul himself encountered Jesus and became blind for 3 days.  Now Saul conveyed it to other man.

When I was in Singapore during my pastoral internship… with Etsuko and baby Mari Anna.  We experienced some strange phenomena there.   We felt evil spirits were working hard especially during Buddhist feast.  Many strange things happening in our life…

One morning Mari Anna woke up with many deep scratches in her face… although she did not have any long nails.  I also met a young girl possessed by demon. She changed some times and talked with man’s voice.  I know those evil powers really exist. But they cannot do anything to our Lord Jesus..He is the God, almighty. He is victorious over any other powers.

Another point here is; Saul changed his name to Paul. The name “Saul” was from the OT “King Saul”... he was the first king of Israel- powerful at first but arrogant.  On the other hand, “Paul” is a Roman name, meaning small or insignificant.  Changing Saul to Paul is like a great king becomes a little person.. it reflects his humility. His personality has changed as the name changed.

(2)   Another amazing incident is Proconsul saw what happened to the sorcerer, and…

 

12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

Yes, this Roman high official, the governor of the island, believed in Jesus and became a Christian just like us. God used even evil man to bring the other man to Christ.

This was the very first convert mentioned in their mission journey. The Holy Spirit did work in the conversion as well as condemning of the evil man.

So, their first mission journey started to bear fruit. 

 

III.  Let us look at the reasons of success… What made this mission journey possible?

1.      Antioch church sent off missionaries – they anointed, commissioned, supported them with prayer and financial need. The church was always with them and behind them. All church members traveled together in prayer.

 

Our church, JFC has been sending out missionaries and Christian workers in the past.  We now send out Nao Hayashi, next week, and Rutsuko Ueyama, last week to Japan.  We believe and pray that they will serve in Japan as a good Christian workers for the Lord. They can serve in their new church, in their community, and for their family, friends, and coworkers.  With lots of prayer we are commissioning them as our missionaries (coworkers) to Japan.

 

2.      The Holy Spirit was always present.  The HS was the center of the mission and all other activities.  The church followed the guidance of the HS.  Barnabas and Paul also followed the HS as the word of God, living Christ working within them.

 

3.      Everyone had burden for mission.  Especially, of course, Barnabas and Paul had passion for mission.  They want to reach out to the people, to tell them the gospel, to spread the Word.  It is because Jesus commanded so in Mark 16:15.

 

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 

They had passion for mission. Do you have passion for mission? Do you have passion in other ministries? What can you do for the Lord this week? Are you willing to tell the gospel to your friend?  Are you going to invite your family members to the church next week? Are you going to show your love for Jesus to other people in need?  Ask Lord for what you can do. Rely on the Holy Spirit. Then you may find a new mission in your life.  This Japanese fellowship Church is surely a mission centered church. I thank Lord for this wonderful church.  It may be the second Antioch church in the 21st century.

 

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