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After a full year of local evangelism, Barnabas and Paul, still under Barnabas's leadership, were sent by the church on a missionary journey through foreign lands. This is the first missionary endeavor in Acts that is intentional and carefully planned, yet Luke makes it clear that God was the one who took the initiative. He works through human decisions, but salvation history follows a superior plan--one conceived in the heart and mind of God.
Paul's first journey established him as the leading missionary among the apostles. Such recognition, however, is only part of the story. From the beginning, enormous difficulties and supernatural forces worked against him and Barnabas. . . . At every turn, he risked his life for the sake of the gospel.
God never promised an easy path for Paul, and trials never diminished his missionary zeal. Upon returning to Syrian Antioch, he and Barnabas "gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles", a door that would never shut.
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