In the book of Acts, the Antioch church (in modern day Turkey) replaced Jerusalem as the center of Christian activity, the birthplace of foreign missions, the gateway to the ends of the earth, the heart of the unfolding Gospel story and a thriving hub of gospel energy that blessed the nations.

Here are TEN OUTSTANDING FEATURES of the Antioch church that make it one of the best churches in the Bible and a superb model for us today:

  1. , An EVANGELISTIC church
  2. , An ENCOURAGING church
  3. , A TEACHING church (cf. 15:32, 35)
  4. , A CHRIST-CENTRED church
  5. , A SERVING church
  6. A TRUTH-LOVING church
  7. a, A WORSHIPPING church
  8. , A SENDING & MISSIONARY church
  9. (etc.), A UNIFIED church amidst ethnic diversity
  10. , A JOYFUL church

In other words, the early Antioch church was a “perfect 10”, an outstanding example for us to follow here in our “Antioch” to which God has called us in this large city of Johannesburg. Not only is Antioch a model for us to follow, but also our mother church. Who of us would be here today were it not for the Antioch church from which the gospel went west into Europe and from there to us. We owe our very spiritual existence to this one church as a mighty tool God used to bring us from spiritual darkness and into His glorious light.

Oh that many others would one day say the same thing of Antioch Bible Church here in Johannesburg – that in generations to come, many across Africa and beyond would say that they owe their very existence to this one humble church which the mighty God used to bring them the gospel and ground them in His eternal Word.


The Church in Antioch

19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. (ESV)


23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen (ESV)


25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (ESV)


26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (ESV)


27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. (ESV)


Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:2

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 15:1-3

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:2

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 15:1-3

The Jerusalem Council

15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. (ESV)


While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (ESV)


Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

Acts 14:26-27

Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

Acts 14:26-27

26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. (ESV)


Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (ESV)


23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,

Acts 15:3

So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.

Acts 15:31

23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,

Acts 15:3

So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.

Acts 15:31

31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. (ESV)