PAUL AND BARNABAS WORK FOR JESUS

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[Acts:13:1-52]; [Acts:14:1-28].

Lesson No.: 
131
Class: 
Elementary
Memory Verse: 

“We declare unto you glad tidings”  (Acts 13:32).

Notes: 

The Call
Our lesson today takes us across the sea to a church in the city of Antioch in the land of Syria. Here we find that a long time ago the Christians gathered to worship God. We read that as the people pray, the Holy Ghost tells them that He has work for two certain men of that church. Paul and his friend Barnabas are to go on a very important errand for Jesus.

Many people in faraway lands have never heard the Story of Jesus, and Paul and Barnabas are to go to preach the good news of Christ. Perhaps they are thinking: This will be a long, hard journey, but God has promised to supply all our needs; we must go and teach people about Jesus and show them how to be saved from their sins.

Missionaries
Do you know what a missionary is? He is one who is sent out to work for Jesus. He goes to places where people do not know how to be saved and he teaches them of the love of God. Paul and Barnabas are among the first missionaries for Christ. They also take with them a young man named John Mark, from Jerusalem.

The Journey Begun
Shall we try to imagine that we are with the three men as they say good-by to friends in the church and begin their journey? Let us go with them down the mountains and toward the seashore. There are no trains or busses, so we must walk to Seleucia, a distance of sixteen miles.

Here we take a boat and sail to the island of Cyprus, which is the birthplace of Barnabas. We have learned much of Paul, but for a moment let us see what we may learn of our newly-found friend, Barnabas. The Bible tells us “he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith” [Acts:11:24]). He was brave and strong and, like Paul, would risk his life to win souls for Jesus. (See [Acts:15:26].) Surely he will make a good helper for Paul. We follow as the missionaries slowly make their way from one end of this island to the other.

A Wicked Man
Now who is this troublemaker we see coming toward us? We learn that his name is Elymas, and he does not like to hear Paul and Barnabas talk about Jesus. He is trying to hinder a very good man from believing on Jesus. But Paul has the Spirit of God in himself, and knows what is in that wicked man’s heart. He says to Elymas, “Thou child of the devil. . . . the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind.” At once, this man becomes blind and tries to find someone to lead him by the hand. It is a terrible thing to hinder one who is seeking God, and surely Elymas was punished for his wickedness.

Glad Tidings
But we must be on our way. We again board a ship and sail to Pamphylia. Here we say good-by to our friend, John Mark, who returns to Jerusalem. We then go to the city of Antioch

-– not the Antioch from where we started, but another city by the same name. We make our way through rugged mountain passes where there are many dangers. Robbers may be hiding along the trail, but God’s angels are watching over us, and nothing can harm us.

Now it is the Sabbath Day, the day the Jews go to their church, called a synagogue. We go to this church and sit among the Jews who are gathered for a meeting. Listen! Someone is reading from the Book of the Law -– the Old Testament. When he stops reading, we see a man coming toward us. What do you suppose he says? The rulers of the church wish to know whether Paul and Barnabas have anything to say. How happy Paul is now! This is his opportunity to preach about Jesus. We watch him as he stands and waves his hand, perhaps to silence the people. He tells them about the love of God the Father; he tells of the birth of Jesus, and of His death and resurrection. Then he says to the Jews, “We declare unto you glad tidings.”

This is our memory verse, and it means, “We bring you good news.” What is the good news? It is the news that through Jesus Christ these people may be saved. Paul tells them not to turn away from Jesus, but to come to Him and be saved. The “glad tidings” have never before reached this land.

The Gentiles
When Paul ends his sermon, we see all the Jews leave the church. But the Gentiles -– those who are not Jews -– gather about Paul and ask him to preach to them the next Sabbath. So the following Sabbath almost the whole city comes to hear the Word of God. This makes the Jews jealous. They are afraid that these preachers are becoming altogether too popular. “How can Paul preach the same Gospel to both the Jews and the Gentiles?” the Jews are probably saying. But Paul and Barnabas tell the Jews that since they did not receive the Gospel, “we turn to the Gentiles.” This is the purpose for which the missionaries have come – to preach salvation to the Gentiles. A great many believe the Story of Jesus and are saved.

Jesus wants all the people to come to Him and be saved. It matters not in what land they are born, or what colour their skin may be. Jesus came to save the lost, and every person born into the world needs to be saved.

The End of the Journey
We follow from place to place as the busy preachers make many people happy. However, not all the people are friendly, and in one city the people throw stones at Paul and try to put an end to his working for Jesus. But Jesus loves Paul and does not let the wicked people kill him. There is more work to be done for Jesus.

After a time we start once more for home. We sail from Attalia to Syria and return to Antioch where the Christians are waiting for us. We listen as Paul and Barnabas tell the people what God has done. A crippled man has been healed on this journey, and a great many people have been led to know and love Jesus. Not only the Jews but also the Gentiles have had an opportunity to learn about the Gospel of Jesus. We read that the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles, which means that they learned to believe on Jesus and be saved. How thankful we are that we, too, have learned about Jesus!

For Jesus
The greatest work that anyone can do is winning souls for Jesus; and we today may be missionaries, too. Although we do not all travel to faraway lands, as Paul and Barnabas did, we may work for Jesus. There are many ways in which children may be a blessing to others. Whatever we do for others because of love, we do for the Saviour Himself. Let us ask Jesus to make us errand-runners for Him.
“Little feet be careful,
Where you take me to,
Anything for Jesus,
Only let me do.”

Questions: 

1. Tell what happened to Elymas. [Acts:13:11].
2. About whom did Paul preach in the synagogue? [Acts:13:23].
3. Did the crippled man have faith for healing? [Acts:14:9].
4. Was he rewarded for his faith? [Acts:14:10].
5. Was God with Paul and Barnabas on their journey? [Acts:13:52];[Acts:14:27];.