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June 3, 2021

The Inclusiveness of a Local Church

Acts 13:1 Now there were in Antioch, in the local church, prophets and teachers: Barnabas and Simeon, who was called Niger, and Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen, the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

When the flow started with the one hundred twenty in Jerusalem, only typical Jews were involved. But according to the record in 13:1, the prophets and teachers in the church in Antioch were from a number of different sources. Barnabas was a Levite, a Cyprian by birth (4:36). Niger, whose name means black and should denote a Negro, was probably of African origin. Lucius the Cyrenian was from Cyrene in North Africa. Manaen was the foster brother of Herod and was governmentally related to the Romans. Hence, Manaen must have been Europeanized. The Herod in 13:1 was the one who killed John the Baptist. It was the Lord's sovereign doing that the foster brother of John the Baptist's murderer became one of the leading functioning members in the church. Finally, 13:1 mentions Saul, a Jew born in Tarsus and taught by Gamaliel according to the law of Moses (22:3). The five prophets and teachers recorded here were composed of Jewish and Gentile peoples with different background, education, and status. This indicates that the church is composed of all races and classes of people regardless of their background, and that the spiritual gifts and functions given to the members of the Body of Christ are not based upon their natural status. Here in 13:1 the Lord set up a pattern. From Antioch the Lord's move turned to reach the Gentile world, and in the Gentile world there are many different kinds of people, people of different cultures, races, and status. Therefore, at the very beginning of this turn the pattern was established to indicate that the churches are composed of all races and classes of people. (c) 2007 Living Stream Ministry.

Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee, Life-study of Acts, pp. 298-299. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. Please visit us at www.emanna.com. Send comments to: comment@emanna.com.

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