The First Missionary Journey

Acts 13-14


Introduction:  Note how many things God did to prepare Paul for his life’s work.

  1. Acts 9 – Paul was saved, and told by God of his life’s work.  He was baptized, and immediately came under the jurisdiction of the church in the town where he was.
  2. Paul preached in the synagogues, increasing in strength until the people decided to kill him.
  3. Paul escaped to Jerusalem at the advice of the church at Damascus
  4. Upon arriving at Jerusalem, Paul tried to join the church, but they were all afraid of him.  Barnabas took him, introduced him to the church, and he was received.
  5. At Jerusalem, Paul preached hard against the way he once lived, until the people rose up against him.  Upon advice of the church at Jerusalem, he went back to his hometown, Tarsus, where he stayed until asked by Barnabas to come to Antioch and help him with the Christians there.  See how God allowed growth and friendship to develop before the missionary journeys started?
  6. Acts 9:32-35 – Peter, in the meantime, was used of God to heal a certain man.
  7. Acts 9:36-43 – Peter was used of God to raise Dorcas from the dead.
  8. Acts 10-11:18 – Peter preached to Cornelius and he was saved, and added to the membership of the church at Jerusalem.  Peter did this work, not Paul.  This is because God wanted the church (all Jews) at Jerusalem to understand the direction the work of God was heading.
  9. Acts 11:19-21 – This passage gives a description of what happened to the saints when the persecution started against them. The first of the persecutions was when Stephen was stoned, but Paul continued the persecutions as he was going to Damascus to kill and take prisoner the Christians.
  10. Acts 11:22-26 – Barnabas, under instruction from the church at Jerusalem, traveled as far as Antioch to see about the believers in that area.  When he was the great work, he traveled to Tarsus, looked up Paul, and brought him back with him to Antioch to help him in the work.
  11. God is using Barnabas to help Paul understand the work God has for him.  It was Barnabas that introduced Paul to the church at Jerusalem, and it was Barnabas that introduced Paul to the everyday work of teaching and preaching the truth.  The question as to why the church at Jerusalem didn’t allow Paul to stay in Jerusalem, but sent him to Tarsus comes up.  Was it because Paul was too “active” for them?  No, but Paul needed the time to settle down to the everyday work that was before him.  Also, there is no doubt Paul would soon have been killed if he had stayed in Jerusalem.  Therefore he was sent away.  God had his hand on Paul, and he would be used at a later date, and for a longer time.
  12. Acts 11:27-30 – Paul helps Barnabas deliver relief to the saints at Judea.  This experience helps Paul understand Christian thinking in a greater way, and enables him and Barnabas to work more closely together.  God has plans for the two of them in the future.
  13. Acts 12 – While Paul was at Jerusalem, delivering the relief to the saints there, James was killed, and Peter was imprisoned, and then released by the angel of God.  Herod was also eaten of worms.  Verse 25 states that Paul returned to Antioch.
  14. Chapter 13 – Paul and Barnabas are separated by the Holy Spirit to the work before them.
  15. Chapter 13:23 – churches were already established when Paul and Barnabas came through these towns the first time.  On this trip, the churches are established by preaching faithfulness through much tribulation, ordaining elders in every church, prayer and fasting, and commending the churches to the Lord.