Sunday, January 13, 2008

“Be a Barnabas”

We are told often to "be a Barnabas." What does that mean? How can I be a "Barnabas?"

Acts 9:26-27
"When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus."

Barnabas vouched for Saul and brought him to the leaders of the church. He put his reputation on the line and generously invested in Saul. Over time, Saul and Barnabas traveled and helped begin churches.

Saul the great persecutor became the great pastor because Barnabas looked beyond himself to invest in Saul. Relationships centered upon Jesus have life transformation potential.

One wonders if Paul would have made it without Barnabas. The Damascus dust may still have been on Paul's sandals. The fear of Paul's murderous threats toward those of the Way was still very much a reality when Barnabas took Paul to the apostles and vouched for the veracity of his testimony (Acts 9:26,27). Barnabas did not have to do this, but this act of encouragement provided a necessary link between Paul and the fulfillment of his calling. Several years later, Barnabas was prompted by the Holy Spirit to look for Paul (Acts 11:25). No doubt the Damascus Road testimony had been forgotten by most, but not by Barnabas.

Barnabas, in keeping with his name, always seemed to be looking for someone to encourage in the ministry. The Tarsus tentmaker had seemingly been overlooked by the established church and bypassed for meaningful ministry assignments. But Barnabas remembered. Because of Barnabas' influence, the Antioch church found a place for Paul and helped him develop trusted relationships and a respected teaching ministry (Acts 11:26; 13:1,2).

This was not the only time Barnabas took such an initiative. Remember John Mark (Acts 15:37)? Regardless of the baggage or failure from the past, Barnabas was there.

How many ministers have needed a modern-day Barnabas to come alongside them to give them ministry opportunity? How many people sit dejected on the sidelines because of a failure? A marriage or family relationship disintegrated. Where is the brother or sister in the genre of a first-century Barnabas to look for the forgotten, to believe in the divine call, to hope for the best?

The 21st century needs larger numbers of Barnabas-minded ministers. Deserting the call is pandemic. Be a Barnabas. The silent sufferers are hidden in the shadows of the successes of others. Be a Barnabas. The challenge is before us. Scan the topography for the bypassed, the overlooked, the rejected. They (the hurting) are all around you. Their desk is besides yours. They are your neighbors. They are the cashier at Wal-Mart. Be a Barnabas. Look for someone who has failed and who is hurting. Be a Barnabas. Look for someone who is discouraged, down-trodden, defeated, and get involved in their life. Show them the love of God. Speak encouragement into their hearts…BE A BARNABAS!

In Acts 4:36 we learned that Barnabas means, Son of Encouragement. Clearly then, it is a good thing to want to be be a Barnabas by being an encouragement to others. The problem is that being a Barnabas gets lost in translation. How am I supposed to be a Barnabas? What does it look like? Where do I start? What is my aim? In Acts 11 we are given an explanation of what it means to be a Barnabas.

"When [Barnabas] came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith" (Acts 11:23&24).

Being a Barnabas means

  1. Rejoicing over the outpouring of God's grace no matter who God uses. It wasn't about Barnabas being used to do great things it was about God doing great things.
  2. Encouraging others to remain faithful to the Lord. Our encouragement, like Barnabas', should always have God as it's goal and God as it's foundation. Don't short change God.
  3. Encouraging others to remain faithful to God with steadfast purpose. The NASB translates the phrase "with resolute heart." The NKJV says, "with purpose of heart." It is our calling as the church to get to others' hearts. To just address the feelings is to pull up short. To only exhort others when we feel like it falls short. We must seek God's wisdom and strength purchased for us by Christ. We need that strength to have steadfast hearts; hearts that love our brothers. And we need that strength to get involved in the lives of people whose hearts are faltering.
  4. Being full of the Holy Spirit. Seek daily the Convictor of sin, righteousness, and judment. Seek daily the Comforter. Seek daily the one who points us to Jesus. It is the Spirit who will guide us into God's will through Scripture. It is the Spirit who will strengthen us to complete God's will through His indwelling.
  5. What does it mean to ENCOURAGE?
  • First, we encourage one another when we remind each other of the promises of God.
  • Second, we encourage when we stand with one who is alone.
  • Third, we encourage others when we overlook an offense.
  • Fourth, an encourager underscores the significance of another.

6. How can I become an ENCOURAGER?

A. The first thing we need to do is have a clear view of ourselves.

B. Second, share your struggles with another.

C. Third, try to spotlight the positive while you try to overlook some of the negative.

Why not strive to be a Barnabas today by sending someone an email, text message, card, phone call, or even a SMILE that says…DON'T GIVE UP HOPE…GOD HASN'T FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU!

I love you guys, and pray that you have a wonderful, hope-filled week. BE A BARNABAS! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR" reading:

January 14, 2008 Genesis 46:1-50:26

(MESSAGE) He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

2 Corinthians 1:4 (KJV) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Bible Study Tools online: (This has different versions of the Bible for you to read from, as well as Audio Bible for you to listen to) (Different Devotionals. Some you can have sent to your email daily) (Great study sight) (My favorite. You can download Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries to your computer. I use this daily) (International Bible Society. Different translation of Bibles for you to read from) (My wife's online Bible Study) (Daily Bible reading, prayer request, etc. Laurie Adams (Associate Pastor Wife) developed and maintains)