Beginning at Acts 11:19, let’s go on thru chapter 12. We learn that disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians in Antioch in 11:26. Verse 20 tells us that #5, the Gospel of #4, the Savior was proclaimed in Antioch, and that a great number #7, believed and turned to the Lord in #6, repentance in verse 21. Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to look for #9, New Life evidence of the grace of God in their lives. Barnabas was himself a #1, righteous man, who was living a #9, New Life in Christ; being full of the Holy Spirit and faith says verses 23 and 24. Verse 24 says that another “great number of people were brought to the Lord.” This implies that they, too, upon hearing the message of #5, the Gospel of the #4, the Savior, Jesus Christ, #6, repented and #7, believed, resulting in their experiencing #8, the New Birth and coming to also enter into #9, a New Life in Christ within the foundling church starting there at Antioch. It was all these new converts that were first called Christians, or “Little Christ’s,” there… Why? Because others saw that these people were being changed as a result of their newfound faith in Jesus Christ, becoming like their #4, Savior! We can find a #9, New Life practice of liberal giving for the relief of others’ needs in verse 29. What we read in Acts chapter 11 at Antioch now becomes, and should be today, the norm within anything called a Christian church today.
Chapter 12, gives great evidence that what I just said had become the norm. But first, we see three #9, New Life matters. They are, in verses 1 thru 3, persecution, verses 5 and 12, prayer, and in verse 6, peace. Peter is about to be martyred, and he can sleep! But, here’s the point I opened with: The chapter closes, by simply stating that, “the word of God continued to increase and spread,” in verse 24. What else could this possibly mean, other than that the message of #5, the Gospel of #4, the Savior, Jesus Christ, concerning His death for their sins, and His rising from the dead was being proclaimed unto them? What else could be inferred, but that hearers were #6, repenting, turning to the Lord, and #7, believing upon Jesus, and being #8, Born Again with the regeneration that comes from the Holy Spirit! These same people were being credited with God’s own #1, righteousness to their own accounts before Him, and were beginning to live a #9, New Life before others, such as they saw the change that came about in these peoples’ lives. And what were these new believers excited about? They had come to the understanding that their #2, sins had been paid for by Christ, and that they were no longer under God’s just sentence of #3, severe judgment; but that they now #10, possessed everlasting life, and were going to dwell in God’s Kingdom with Him forever!!! Is this not precisely what The 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message truly are? And, is this not to be the norm to be found within any church that calls itself Christian? It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell