This morning we want to tackle a fairly large passage of Scripture – approximately two chapters in the book of Acts – but we are going to go through it fairly quickly. Today we want to take a bird’s eye view of the first official missions trip recorded in the Bible.
You’ll recall from a couple of weeks ago, the church in Antioch was told by the Holy Spirit to appoint two men – Barnabas and Saul – for the special work that God had called them to. At this point, we’re not told exactly what this special work would be, but as we read on, we discover that it would include traveling over 1400 miles to visit dozens of towns and cities, preaching the Gospel and planting churches all along the way.
This would be no small task, so to assist them in their journey, they would take along John Mark – who was a cousin of Barnabas and the eventual author of the Gospel of Mark.
This first missionary journey is recorded for us in Acts chapters 13 and 14 – and as I said, that is a lot of Scripture to cover in one sermon, so we are going to go though it fairly quickly. We won’t be looking at each verse in detail, but rather, we want to zoom out and try to see the big picture. What are the themes and what are the principles that we can learn about life and ministry as we look at this first missionary effort?
So naturally, there will be lots of good bits in these verses that we just won’t get a chance to look at today, but that just means there are lots of great things for you discover in your own personal study of these chapters later on!
Now we have already looked at some parts of Acts chapter 13. Two weeks ago, we went through the first 5 verses that talk about Barnabas and Saul’s commissioning as missionaries. Then last Sunday, Mike took us through a big chunk of Paul’s sermon in the middle of chapter 13. So we won’t rehash all that stuff. But there are four main stories that come out of these two chapters, and so that’s what I want to look at today.
The first story takes place in Paphos, so let’s begin reading in Acts chapter 13, starting at verse 4, as Barnabas and Saul first leave Antioch. It reads like this: