Preaching the Lord Jesus Christ to Jews Only?
First Century Christians were preaching the Lord Jesus to residents of the cities they encountered as they flee persecution from Saul of Tarsus.
This oppression arose about Stephen who was stoned to death as he preached the Lord Jesus to the Jews.
Similarly, these Believers were preaching the Lord Jesus to the Jews only. They ignored the Gentiles.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only,” (Acts 11:19).
So, at that time the Christian Church was comprised predominantly of Jews. These disciples of Jesus fleeing persecution thought it safer to preach the Gospel of Jesus only to the Jews.
The Preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ is for Whom?
Even when they were away from the mainland Jews of Israel, they wouldn’t preach the Lord Jesus to everybody.
They went as far as the mid-Mediterranean Island of Crete, but there they still imparted the Word of God only to the Jews.
However, “… some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus,” (Acts 11:20).
Since, Simeon Peter preached Jesus Christ to Cornelius, his friends, and his household, this is the next preaching of him to the Gentiles.
Consequently, as these Jewish-Christians escaped tyranny, they made their way back to their countries of origin.
Because some of these men came from Cyrene, or what we would call Libya today, they decided to preach the Lord Jesus Christ to “the Grecians” or to the Gentiles (Acts 11:20).
And as they went, they preached the Lord Jesus Christ to the people they encountered.
Many of the Gentiles Who Heard the Preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Believed
“And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord,” (Acts 11:21).
Pastors and teachers and preachers take note. The “hand of the Lord” was with these fleeing preachers, (Acts 11:21).
Whenever you embark on the journey of teaching or preaching the Lord Jesus, you are never alone. He was with them, and He’s with you.
As a result, many, many of the Gentiles who heard the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, believed.
Similarly, many will believe your word concerning Christ, and they will turn to the Lord. Your preaching of the Lord Jesus is never futile. Even if one person believes it, it’s worth it.
The Apostles in Jerusalem heard about the revival in these cities, so they cautiously send Barnabas to investigate.
“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch,” (Acts 11:22).
They probably were a bit cautious because of the recent murder of Deacon Stephen; therefore, they impressed upon him not to venture farther than Antioch on mainland Israel.
Barnabas Was Excited for Them
“Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord,” (Acts 11:23).
Now, the tides are turning. Here is Barnabas, a Levite or Jew preaching as Peter did to the Gentiles, (Acts 4:36).
And unlike the Apostles (in Jerusalem) who heard about Cornelius and didn’t rejoice when they received salvation, Barnabas was excited for them.
As a result, he encouraged, strengthen, and implored them to embrace the doctrines of Jesus Christ.
Because Barnabas had qualities like Deacon Stephen, the people listened to him. Therefore, the congregation grew spiritually and naturally.
“For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord,” (Acts 11:24).
Why did the Apostles in Jerusalem choose Barnabas to investigate the validity of the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in these cities?
We may never know the genuine motive; however, we could make deductions about this from clues in the Bible.
Barnabas was a native of Cyprus. This is one of the countries that these escaping Christians retreated to and one that he was very familiar with, (Acts 4:36).
Based on the nickname that the Apostles gave him, (the son of consolation), who better to have around you soon after receiving salvation but someone to console and encourage and strengthen you? Barnabas was that person.
Finally, new converts need a person with Barnabas qualities around them. He was a good man, and they would desire to be like him.
Similarly, he was full of the Holy Ghost, and he was full of faith. Consequently, as he preached to them, he would impart his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to them.
As a result, they would increase in faith, and they too would become full of the Holy Ghost and faith. It is contagious!
Preaching the Lord Jesus Ensures This Happen
I hope you catch it! So, some good did come out of the persecution of the church.
Wherever these Believers went, they preached the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the face of persecution, they never lost focus.
Stephen, Philip, Ananias, Peter, and now Barnabas preached the Lord Jesus, and so should you.
Don’t allow politics and gossip to divert your attention from preaching and teaching the Lord Jesus. Put him first. If you do, everything else will fall into its proper place.
These Pastors preached the Lord Jesus Christ, but they ignored politics and gossip and this happened, many, many more people believed on Jesus Christ. The congregation grew.
So, if you want to see more people receive salvation and watch your congregation grows simultaneously, make preaching the Lord Jesus, the focus of your ministry. Ignore the politics and gossip.