Barnabas – Grace to Encourage

Sunday May 16, 2021   Phone: 717.625.2992
Pastor David Miklas e-mail pdmikBBM@aol.com
Message:  Barnabas – Grace to Encourage – Text: Acts 4:33-37

Barnabas – The Grace to Encourage

 

INTRODUCTION: All of us need encouragement from time to time, and we all remember times when a little encouragement made a great difference to us.

 

Many great musical composers at one time were ready to quit unto someone stepped in and said, “No, you can’t quit!”

 

Many great writers submitted hundreds of manuscripts before they were recognized and would have given up if someone hadn’t come along and said, “No, I believe in you. Keep writing, you can do it.”

 

Many great athletes would have given up on themselves, but there was somebody who wouldn’t let them, as they urged them on with words of encouragement.

 

And I too, in my Christian experience, remember vividly various people who have been a source of great encouragement to me. Pastors, Sunday school teachers, and various individuals in the work of the Lord, these have been a source to urge me on when the chips were down and things looked bleak. Thank God for them

 

May God help us to lean the deep needed ministry of being encouragers.

 

The dictionary defines encouragement as “The act of inspiring others with renewed courage, renewed spirit, or renewed hope.”

 

In the New Testament, the word most often translated as encouragement is “parakalien.” It comes from two Greek words: “Para” “alongside of” and “Kaleo” “to call”

 

An encourager is one who puts courage into the fainthearted,

hope back into the spirit.

 

In Hebrews 10:24-25; we read that the church is to be a place of encouragement,

 

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting (word for encouragement) one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

 

ENCOURAGEMENT is an urgent need of our day. “We live by encouragement and we die without it, SLOWLY, SADLY, and   ANGRILY.”

 

Barnabas is an excellent illustration of someone we should all seek to imitate as he distinguished himself as an encourager, a motivator of others. His story is wrapped up in several exciting chapters of the Book of Acts.

 

Barnabas was a disciple in the early church when, in order to meet the needs of the church, we read in Acts 2:44-45 “And all that believed were together, and had all thing common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

 

Continuing on we go to Acts 4:34-37, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, (35) And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (36) And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, (37) Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.”

 

Barnabas was one of those rare personalities who thought life consisted of helping and encouraging others. In fact, in every place where he shows up in the New Testament record, he is doing just that.

 

He was such a motivator the apostles finally changed his name from “Joses (Joseph) to Barnabas,” which as you noticed means “Son of consolation.” If he were on the scene today we might call him “Mr. Encouragement.”

 

Searching the passages in the Book of Acts we find three qualities that we can observe and hopefully build into our own lives, from the example of Barnabas.

 

First Quality: “Encouragers perform while others pretend.” Because of the need that had arisen in the church at Jerusalem for funds, it should not surprise us to learn that Barnabas sold some of his expensive real estate and gave the proceeds to the church.

 

When word of Barnabas’s generosity spread through the early church family, there must have been much rejoicing and gratitude. Perhaps his gift was the catalyst that prompted others to give, including Ananias.

 

Ananias and his wife also sold property, but here’s where the similarities end, as we read in Acts 5:1-2, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.”

 

These two wanted the RECOGNITION but didn’t like the REQUIREMENTS. They couldn’t bring themselves to make the full sacrifice, as Barnabas had done.

 

Here is the difference Barnabas performed, Ananias pretended. Barnabas gift was genuine, sincere, without hypocrisy.

 

That’s the reason they were judged so harshly, by death, they gave under false pretenses. They missed the blessing that could have been their, because they were unwilling to pay the price up front. “THEY PRETENDED!”

 

On the other hand, THANK GOD for those who were true encouragers! (Relate some: George Lee, Dr. & Mrs. Gene Pike who have come under the coat of animinity have given large sums of money for the work of God at just the right moment.)

 

Let us learn well the lesson, of Barnabas and Ananias “True encouragers do not pretend, they perform.”

 

Second Quality: “Encouragers see potential where other saw problems.” The next mention of Barnabas in the New Testament record is in connection with the Apostle Paul’s rise to prominence within the church. The story actually begins with the conversion of Paul on the Road to Damascus, where his heart was totally transformed.

 

Now instead of persecuting the followers of Christ, Paul desires to join them, Acts 9:26; reads, “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed (that is he desired) to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.” They had every reason to be afraid of him. Here’s what Paul was before his dramatic conversion experience with God on the Damascus.

 

In Acts 8:3; we read, “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”

In Acts 9:1-2; we read, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

 

The Disciples were skeptical of Paul’s conversion, and to bring him right into the center of their fellowship was unthinkable, to everyone except Barnabas. Barnabas had heard Paul’s testimony, believed him and was willing to stick his neck out for him.

 

Notice Acts 9:27-28, “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.”

 

When no one wanted anything to do with Paul, Barnabas stood up WITH him and FOR him.

 

What an encouragement that was for this new one in the faith, recently a Christ hater now turned believer.

 

There is one other incident in the life of Barnabas that follows this same pattern. The Jerusalem church had commissioned Paul and Him to carry a letter of affirmation to the Gentile Christians in Antioch. We read about this in Acts 15:22-29,

 

“Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: (23) And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: (24) Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: (25) It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, (26) Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (27) We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.”

 

After delivering the letter, the two mean stayed on in Antioch for a short time according to Acts 15:35, “teaching and preaching the word of the Lord.” Apparently Paul felt it as time to leave Antioch and suggested they backtrack and visit every church where they had previously presented the gospel on their first missionary journey. I continuing read form verses 36-40

 

“And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. (37) And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. (38) But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. (39) And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; (40) And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”

 

As you can see, here was a strong disagreement between Paul and Barnabas concerning young John Mark. As far as Paul was concerned, John Mark had disqualified himself by deserting Paul (Acts 13:5, 13) during the first missionary journey.

 

But Barnabas, bless his heart, didn’t focus on Mark’s problems. He saw his POTENTIAL. He believed in John Mark so deeply that he parted company with Paul in order to take John Mark! Remember “Encouragers see potential where other see problems.”

 

To Paul’s credit, he did change his mind about this young man, at the close of his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes in II Timothy 4:11: “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” 

 

O how often we feel encouraged when we are seen as assets rather than objects, and our mistakes as opportunities to learn from rather than as failures to be put down by. “Encouragers see potential where other see problems.”

 

Third Quality: “Encouragers care more about people than prominence.” This third principle for encouragers is illustrated in Acts 11. Barnabas had been commissioned by the church in Jerusalem to go as their representative to the Gentile church in Antioch. A great movement of the Spirit had taken hold of that assembly and the word had gotten back to the leaders in Jerusalem.

 

When Barnabas arrived in Antioch, he did the one thing he always seemed to do in every situation, verse 23. “He exhorted (another way of say this would be he encouraged) them all.”

 

Going back to Acts 11 Barnabas’s encouragement fanned the flame of fire that was already burning brightly, and in verse 24 we read, “and much people were added unto the Lord.”

 

But here is where Barnabas parts company with many in the ministry. Instead of climbing up on the platform of this successful campaign, he went to Tarsus to see if he could locate Paul, verses 25-26,

 

“Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: (26) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

 

More important to Barnabas than any notoriety he might receive from this situation, was the WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE who were coming to know the Lord in vast numbers.

 

Realizing that he was not adequate alone for the task of teaching and discipleship, Barnabas brought Paul into the center of the revitalized church and shared the teaching ministry with him.

 

Foremost in Barnabas mind was the growth of these new believers. And that is the heart of an encourager! “Encouragers care more about people than prominence.”

 

The modern day Barnabas is far more comfortable behind the scene, working one on one, than in the spotlight of attention. Some of the great encouragers I have known absolutely refuse to be publicly recognized. They are not motivated by anything other than their “LOVE FOR PEOPLE.”

 

Let me put a handle on all this. In Matthew 23:11; we read, "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." The Bible teaches,

 

"Those who we EXALT the Lord HUMBLES." And those who "we HUMBLE, the Lord EXALTS."

 

"Those who we think are NOTHING, the Lord thinks they are   SOMETHING. And those who think they are SOMETHING, the   Lord thinks they are NOTHING.

 

900 times the word SERVANT is used in the Bible. We even read of the Lord in Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many."

 

Yes even God calls the Lord Jesus Christ "MY SERVANT." “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." What is a servant – here one

 

Find a piece of trash on the floor you seek to pick it up

Find a hungry stomach, you try to feed it

Find a cold body, you seek to cloth it

Find a lonely soul, you give it fellowship

Find someone away from God you seek to win them back

Find someone who is discouraged, you seek to encourage them

 

You know what the great proof of being a servant is. It is ANONYMITY.  Listen to these words.

 

You know Lord, how I serve You

With great emotional fervor In the limelight.

But how would I react,

I wonder if you pointed to a Basin of water

 

And asked me to wash the callused feet

Of a bent and wrinkled old saint of God

Day after Day – Month after Month

In a room where NOBODY SAW

AND NOBODY KNEW

 

Let those last words sink in "NOBODY SAY – NOBODY KNEW" The art of servant hood is Anonymity. That’s what you find in those who are great at encouragement. THANK God for those who encourage others, for one day they will here, "WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT." Here is a prayer response, “Lord, help me to be a Barnabas.

 

May I continually encourage others by being a good steward of what You have given me?

May I be a good example to my children and to other members of my larger family the body of Christ? Help me to always seek your kingdom first, trusting that You’ll meet my needs accordingly. And may my motives always be right and proper.

May I not give to get, but rather to honor You and to encourage others?”

 

Remember the opening statement, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Why not this week find someone you can encourage along the way.

 

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If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "Barnabas – the Grace to Encourage” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.

 

Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in

 

Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”

 

If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pastormiklas@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.

 

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In His Amazing Grace,
Pastor David Miklas
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