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Acts 11

Talks for Growing Christians

Further Expansion of the Church to the Gentiles

Acts 11

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Lesson Number 20

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Peter played a major role in God’s expansion of the Church to the Gentiles.
  2. Barnabas played a major role in God’s expansion of the Church to the Gentiles.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s give like the Christians at Antioch.

Questions

  1. Review the events leading up to Acts 11.
  2. What was the cause of contention in Jerusalem?
  3. How did Peter refute the arguments of the Jewish believers?
  4. How do verses 15-17 seal Peter’s case?
  5. What was the problem in Antioch, and how was it resolved?

Answers

  1. In the previous chapter Peter opened the door of the Church to the Gentiles when God sent him to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion.
  2. Some of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were not pleased that Gentiles were being brought into the Church without being circumcised.
  3. He simply recounted the facts of his vision and Cornelius’ conversion, emphasizing that this was not his idea, but God’s.
  4. Peter equated the Holy Spirit coming down upon the Gentile believers to what had happened at Pentecost to the Jewish believers. The Lord had promised this baptism of the Spirit. Who was Peter to argue with God?
  5. Members of the church in Jerusalem heard that the gospel had come to the Gentiles in the large city of Antioch of Syria. They sent Barnabas, the “son of encouragement” to check things out. Barnabas saw the work of God there and brought Paul to further teach the young believers.

Discuss/Consider

  1. When the Jewish believers in Jerusalem contended with Peter about his evangelizing the Gentiles, Peter had an excellent response. He simply recounted the facts of what happened, emphasizing God’s supervision of the situation. After hearing this, the believers responded excellently as well. Can we glean any tips here for dealing with disputes within our churches?
  2. Every time we have seen Barnabas in the book of Acts he is giving, helping, or encouraging others. What character traits do you see in Barnabas that you would like to have in your life?

Challenge

  1. The Christians of Antioch gave money to help the churches of Judea who were hit by a famine. We should be like the Christians of Antioch and give early, spontaneously, and proportionately.

Key Verses

  • “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts 11:18
  • “When [Barnabas] 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.” Acts 11:23
  • “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Acts 11:26

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