Preparing for The Second Missionary Journey
Acts 15:30 - 16:5
July 31, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
A. Gospel Teamwork is a big deal
1. Too many people think Gospel work are done only by super-people
2. But MANY hands still make light work
B. Every ministry of a church needs teams of people, groups of people, working together to get the Gospel out
C. Because God uses people, not organisations, or religions, or buildings, or programs… flawed, imperfect, timid, humble people.
D. In Acts 13, God started off with just two men – Barnabas and Paul
1. Called them to a new work – world evangelism – church planting everywhere
2. But that was never going to be enough
a. Two men were never going to turn the world upside down like it needs to be
b. Two men were never going to be enough to reach the entire world
E. So, God is about to add to the team of Missionaries, and send them out again!
F. And God is still adding to His team today, if we will listen and hear His call!
A. The Effects of Godly Standards of Living (Acts 15:25-31)
1. Act 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
2. Act 15:26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Act 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
4. Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
5. Act 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
6. Act 15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
7. Act 15:31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
8. We often forget that we were saved to live differently, holy, godly in this present world
a. We are not saved by holy living
b. But we definitely are saved so that we CAN live godly
c. Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
d. And that means setting limits
e. You see, We have absolute liberty in Christ
1) Sin no longer determines our destiny – Jesus does!
2) John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
f. But our liberty is for more than our benefit
1) Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh [SELF-GRATIFICATION], but by love serve one another.
2) 1Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
9. Setting Limits on our liberties as Christians – having a good testimony
a. So this list of four limits is Scripture – the way we should live
b. No fornication – period!
1) A pure life – virginity until marriage is still the best way
2) A pure thought life
3) And a pure marriage – no adultery
c. And a godly diet – there is such a thing as a good, godly, healthy Bible-based diet!
1) No eating foods offered to idols – demonic
2) No eating blood – demonic and disease ridden
3) No eating unknown meats – more diseases
d. These are good for every one of us still today!
a. Not to become saved, or to stay saved - Not to become more holy
b. But for three reasons:
1) For the conscience of lost Jews who will not listen to a Gentile tell them about their Messiah unless that Gentile lives differently than the world around them!
2) For personal maturity and holiness – placing yourself under limits
3) And for good health – Old Testament dietary laws are good laws. Every athlete limits their diet, why do Christians think it stupid for them to be careful???
c. In simple words… Godly standards help YOU, and help OTHERS
1) Dress standards are good to have – most people have very few limits on what they allow themselves to wear
2) Language limits – say things they should be thoroughly shamed of
3) Restrained music, and entertainments – Rated 12 films are wicked these days!
4) Godly standards KEEP you clean in your thoughts, and imaginations and lifestyle
5) TRUTH: It is easier to keep something clean than it is to clean it up after it has been soiled
B. Visiting Preachers Are a Blessing (Acts 15:32-35)
1. Act 15:32-35 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
2. A Prophet was a Bible preacher
a. Preaching the New Testament before the New Testament was written down
b. Now prophets are just called preachers
3. The church in Antioch was blessed with visiting preachers
a. Already had their own men who preached and taught the Scriptures – they fed the flock
b. Paul and Barnabas loved being in the church and teaching and preaching
c. Judas and Silas came and encouraged and helped the believers with Bible Truths!
d. Make sure you put more trust in REAL preachers than youtube preachers!
e. Silas stayed – he was a Jewish Christian who fell in love with Antiochan Christianity
f. I am praying for more preachers – for your benefit and growth!
C. Let Us Go Again! (Acts 15:36)
1. Act 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
2. There was something stirring in the hearts of Paul and Barnabas
a. They could not just hang around Antioch – as much as they loved the church, and the people, and the preaching and teaching…
b. They were called to GO and KEEP going
1) GO! Is the soul-winner’s Rally Cry!
2) GO! Is the Gospel Preacher’s rally Cry!
3) GO! Is the Missionary’s Rally Cry!
4) Gamblers have this compulsion, WHY NOT CHRISTIANS???
3. So Paul says, Let’s go again! Go and do WHAT?
4. Let’s Go Check on the New Churches
a. There were more than a dozen baby churches spread across southern and central modern Turkey [MAP]
b. It has been almost a year since preaching in those cities and winning those souls
c. Paul worried about those Christians like a father worries about his children, growing and standing on their own – not to be Momma’s boys but mature Churches!
1) Like a parent who hasn’t seen or heard from their kids in a while
2) Like an employer who wants to check on a worker to make sure they are encouraged
5. And Start Some More Churches
a. They end up going over twice as far on this trip
b. Taking 3 years to travel 4500 miles
c. Start another 20 churches before they return back to Jerusalem
6. And, Let’s Train the Next Generation
D. And, Let’s Train the Next Generation (Acts 15:37-41)
1. Paul and Barnabas knew they needed to try and involve more people, especially young men in all areas of the Gospel ministry
2. Acts 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
3. On-the-job-experience is often the best education – mentoring, apprenticeship, discipleship
a. Book learning is foundational
b. But hands-on is best
4. Barnabas picks John Mark again to go with them
a. Barnabas is the best kind of friend
b. Always giving second and third and fourth chances
c. Barnabas saw potential in John Mark
5. Acts 15:38-41 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
6. Paul refuses to let him come this time!
a. Paul is rough in the way he handles people and problems – that’s just his style
b. Sees John as still immature – unfaithful – unable to handle pressure
c. This is not a bad thing for Paul to hold to
d. You wouldn’t want a young man to drive a fire engine without knowing he is stable and able to handle pressure and stress and fear
e. Paul shuts it down – won’t budge
7. Paul picks Silas to come along
8. A Big Disagreement! The argument gets heated and threatens to split these two men of God, and ruin their Gospel work!
E. Watch What God does with this dissention… (Acts 15:39-41)
1. The devil sought to DIVIDE these two men – cause division, breakup the “team”
2. God turned it into MULTIPLICATION
3. Act 15:39-41 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
4. These men never became enemies – were never bitter – just disagreed!
a. They stayed faithful to their calling – they will keep going and preaching
b. Methods stayed the same – Gospel stayed the same - goals stayed the same
c. Took two different routes, with different young men
d. And because of Barnabas, John Mark was used by God to write the Gospel of Mark, which we are studying on Wednesday evenings (and so many of you are missing)!
5. The church in Antioch stayed unified behind BOTH Paul and Barnabas’ decisions
a. Different choices should never divide a church
b. Disagreements should never be allowed to become doctrinal
c. Different personalities should never be a problem
1) 1Corinthians 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
d. So, the church had no divisions; the same mind of Christ; the same determination to do the will of God
e. They just allowed different directions
f. NOTE: God changes Paul’s heart in time, and he learns to value John Mark
g. About 10 years later… 2Timothy 4:9-11 Do thy diligence [TIMOTHY] to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
6. And the Gospel work continued, but now instead of just one group of two men, there are now two groups of men going in two different directions as Missionaries!
a. Barnabas and John Mark
b. Paul, Luke and Silas
7. And Paul’s team is about to get another member!
F. Paul Meets Timothy (Acts 16:1-3)
1. Act 16:1-3 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
2. Luke picks up the account back in Derbe and Lystra area
a. Where Paul had been stoned the year before
b. But ALSO where a young man named Timothy lived, who had seen the courage and zeal and passion of Paul
3. They Discover Timotheus
a. A Greek name – means Dear to God (hear the part Timo…THEOS)
b. His father was a Greek / Gentile / heathen – never got saved
c. His mother was a godly born again Jewess
d. She got saved probably because of her grandmother – a Jewess too
e. 2Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
f. He had a powerful and godly testimony – other people spoke very highly of him and his walk with God and faithfulness to Scripture
4. What a Gift to the Work!
a. Timothy was the result of his grandmother’s salvation
b. And he was the result of Paul’s faithfulness under pressure
c. Timothy becomes a model pastor – two books of the New Testament are written to him
d. We pastors look to what Paul taught Timothy so we can pastor well
5. Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, Silas and Luke on this Second Missionary Journey
a. Why? To train him – give Timothy the same mind he had – to replace him
1) Almost no one wants to have anything but a Hollywood mindset
2) Timothy took on the heart and mind of Paul – real mentorship
3) Philippians 2:19-21 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state [THE STATE OF THE CHURCH IN PHILIPPI]. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
b. So Paul ADOPTED him – took him under his wing
1) 1Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
2) 1Timothy 1:1,2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
3) Philemon 1:10,11 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.
c. Paul ADAPTED Timothy to the call
1) Ouch. Paul circumcised Timothy
a) Paul never ignored the Jews anywhere he went. He actually prioritized them.
b) Paul was concerned about the Jewish people and their culture
c) He knew the Gospel went to the Jews first.
d) So, To the Jews, he and all who worked with him, became Jews
2) Circumcised him so that Timothy could witness to the Jews
a) Not so that Timothy would be saved by being circumcised…
b) But so that Jews would be saved by him honouring their standards
c) 1Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
3) ‘Adapting’ is a principle of church planting and soul-winning
a) We don’t bring our culture to the lost
b) We bring Christ
c) And if WE have to change to earn their respect, then so be it
d) We don’t adapt the Bible, or the Gospel message – we adapt our LIBERTIES
4) Example of Hudson Taylor
a) Many years were wasted because he was an Englishman preaching the Gospel - well dressed, white shirt, hard shoes, shaven, British accent
b) But he was referred to as a "black devil" because of the overcoat he wore.
c) He finally shaved his head and grew a long ponytail and wore Chinese clothes and adapted his accent, and THEN people started listening to him!
5) What are you willing to change, learn, adapt to, to be able to do the will of God?
a) Language - Clothing styles - Music styles
b) When you get married you are supposed to ADAPT to your spouse!
c) Same when you have a baby
d) And when you change jobs
e) Well, when God calls you to any work, He calls you to ADAPT!
G. The Joy of Establishing Churches (Acts 16:4,5)
1. Act 16:4,5 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
2. Establishing means anchoring them – making them rock solid…
a. In THE Faith – believing the Bible
b. In the Gospel – knowing only one Gospel and being able to present it
c. In Godly Leadership – not do-as-you-please churches, but churches led by well-trained faithful, compassionate, steady, hard-working men of God
d. In soul-winning – we either evangelise or we will fossilise!
3. This is what I have been endeavouring to do right here, and in Mallow, and elsewhere
4. I love establishing churches! I’m called to do it until the day I am taken home to heaven
5. But I yearn for Silas’, Barnabas’, Timothy’s and Luke’s and so many more, to come along, and help me continue what Jesus, and Paul and Barnabas faithfully did, all their lives – turn this dark, wicked, lost world, UPSIDE DOWN with the Good News of the Gospel!
A. Let’s Easily Set Limits on our liberties as Christians
1. For the conscience of lost people around us
2. For personal maturity and holiness – placing yourself under limits
3. And for good health – Old Testament dietary laws are good laws
B. Let Us Go Again and Again to the Work of the Gospel!
C. Start Some More Churches
D. Train the Next Generation
E. Let’s stay unified
F. And always ‘Adapting’ to the Work of the Gospel - What are you willing to change, learn, adapt to, to be able to do the will of God?