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. 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. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Acts 11:22-24
Read Daniel 1:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Notice that we read of the newly converted Phenicians and Cyrenians that they immediately spoke to the Greeks of Antioch, and this became known to the church of Jerusalem. How amazing! The Council of the Jerusalem Church gathered to discuss this new development. They decided to send a representative to investigate. While telephones and internet are widely used today for communication, we still send deputies out on behalf of our churches to visit mission fields and the like. In this way they can see how things are going while experiencing the Lord’s work first hand.
In the case before us, Barnabas was sent out. You may remember him; his name was actually Joseph and he was a Levite from Cyprus. He had sold some of his land to benefit the poor (Acts 4:36), and he was used to bring Paul to the disciples after his conversion (Acts 9:27). When he arrived at Antioch we read that he had seen the grace of God. God’s grace, not man’s work, was the focus of his attention. Why? Because the work of man is fallible while the work of God is lasting!
However, the danger existed that God’s gracious work would be abused. That is why Barnabas exhorted the new believers that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Then a good testimony is given by the Lord of these Christians in verse 24. How beautiful when the Lord Jesus makes such a testimony! Thereby we see that this was not the work of men, but the work of God in building His Church.
Thought: Grace will become apparent.
Psalter 230: 5,6 (based on Psalm 85) The Lord’s salvation will appear To men of faith and godly fear, And glory in our land shall dwell When we shall heed God’s precepts well. Now truth agrees with mercy mild, Now law and peace are reconciled; Behold the truth from earth arise With justice shining from the skies.