This Week's Gospel Sermons
Welcome To The Jackson Drive Church Of Christ Website!
Schedule Of Services:
Jackson Drive's Address:
February 21, 2010
Many cities were named Antioch, but none other was as large and
important in the first century as Antioch of Syria. To
distinguish this location from other “Antiochs,” it is also
known as “Antioch on the Orontes” or “Antioch by
Daphne.” The city was about three hundred miles north of
Jerusalem, and it was a city of about 200,000 by this time. It
had been growing for nearly three hundred years.
Like so many other cities by the name of Antioch, this one was founded by
the Seleucid ruler, Seleucus Nicator, and named for his father,
Antiochus. He founded the city about 300‑301 bc. From the founding,
Antioch was a supremely important city. He founded the city with
the intent of having it as his capital; after the battle of
Ipsus, he had become sole master of Syria. He also founded and
fortified Seleucia to be the port for his new capital.
He settled many Jews in this city from the start. They were governed by
their own ethnarch and allowed to have the same political
privileges with the Greeks. The early inhabitants of the city of
Antioch were these Jews, Syrians, and Greeks from the Seleucid
monarchy. Each brought elements of their culture and religious
background. As the Romans took control and moved into the city,
they likewise brought in elements of their religion.
Politically speaking, the city declared for Caesar after Pompey fell and
then for Augustus after the battle of Actium. Romans then began
to move in to Antioch and the Roman emperors put the city on a
path to growth and adornment once again. The city became the
capital of the Roman province of Syria and the third largest
city in all of the empire. It became known as “The First City
of the East” or “Queen of the East.”
The mixed religious background actually fostered the spread of the Gospel
of Christ. The large and flourishing Jewish community offered a
prime place for the teaching of the gospel as it spread from
Jerusalem. The interest of the gentile population in things
“religious” as well as their acceptance of diverse religious
ideas, gained an even wider audience for the spread of the Word.
The Church in
Some of those of the Jerusalem church who had been scattered abroad, as
found in Acts 8:4, had gone to Antioch (Acts 11:19).
These had spread the gospel among the Jews who were already
there (Acts 11:19). From verse twenty, it seems that some
from Cyprus and Cyrene came at a later date and preached to the
Greeks (Acts 11:20). A most remarkable thing is next
stated: “And a number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts
11:21). This church at Antioch became a great church. At
about this time, or soon after, the hub of Christianity seems to
shift from Jerusalem to Antioch. Eventually, all three of the
recorded missionary tours of the apostle Paul had their
What Made the
Church in Antioch Great?
This church was great for a number of reasons. It was great because of the
great instructions which took place there. We don’t
know the names of those who did the groundwork here (Acts
11:19,20). Barnabas later went there. Many people were added
unto the Lord (Acts 11:24). Later Barnabas brought Saul
of Tarsus here (Acts 11:25,26). Both of these stayed here
a year and taught many people (Acts 11:26). There were
many other teachers and preachers here, also (Acts 13:1).
Peter even made a trip up here at one time (Gal. 2:11).
The teaching here was strong.
The church was great because of the kind of people who were here.
They were willing to hear and believe (Acts 11:21,24).
Furthermore, these people wanted to be right. When the
circumcision problem came to Antioch they wanted to be right.
They did not want to be involved in sinful things (Acts 15:2).
When they found that which was right, they were content with the
message (Acts 15:31).
The church was also great because of her works (Acts 13:1‑3). Is it any wonder
that the Lord chose these people to be the first called
to Make any Local Church Great
Is it possible for a church of God’s people in any given location to be
great today? Not only is it possible, it is expected! The same
things that made the group at Antioch great will make any group
great today. Any group of Christians who are actively engaged
in the study and spread of the gospel will be great — just
like in Antioch. Any group of Christians composed of those willing
and ready to listen and make application of God’s message
will be great — just like in Antioch. Any group of Christians
who are active in the works outlined by the Lord will be
great — just like in Antioch. Will we study, make application,
and work as did those at Antioch?
— S. Scott Richardson Sr.