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A Cup Of Strength (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 6, 2022 6:00 am

A Cup Of Strength (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 6, 2022 6:00 am

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It was Barnabas and Barnabas alone who reached out to Paul when others would not, and he got him. Paul gets converted. He's in Jerusalem.

The Christians want nothing to do with him. Barnabas, Acts 9, verse 27. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road.

And that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly in Damascus in the name of Jesus. The legacy that Barnabas has left to the church is astounding, and I want a piece of that action. Barnabas shows that it's not what we take into heaven, but what we leave on earth. That's quite a big statement. Because really, what can you bring to heaven that adds anything? Is there something like, oh, Rick's here.

Oh, now we're really going to have a good time. Well, I got to verify that, but Barnabas, he's a big deal. He's a heavy hitter because he brought encouragement and courage into the arena.

He didn't bring it, you know, to the ice cream parlor. He brought it where the fight was, and he did it effortlessly from what we know of him. And I can't go into all the things from him. Just reading the section we read, we read how he encouraged them. He was a man. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. We'll get to that as we do exposition through the book of Acts, but here's a little timeline going on to what's happening when he shows up where it says that he went to Tarsus to get Saul. He was Saul at that time.

He became Paul, but here's a timeline. Stephen, Jewish, living in Jerusalem, becomes a Christian, stands up to Judaism and says, your Messiah has come, and you crucified him. And he just blisters them, the leaders.

He just flays them. So thoroughly was his sermon that the apostle Paul couldn't get it out of his head. So they killed Stephen. After Stephen was killed for preaching the gospel, the Christians dispersed.

We just read that a moment ago. They dispersed because persecution ignited in Jerusalem. Earlier, the Jewish common people, they accepted the Christians, admired them.

But now, now that everybody understands where the lines are, they're persecuting them. The apostles remained in Jerusalem at this time, but especially the Hellenistic Jews, the Jews that were influenced by the Gentile culture, the Grecian culture. They're the ones that, almost nomadic, they leave. They go up to Antioch, which is in Syria, to the north of Jerusalem. And a movement of the Holy Spirit happens there. So much so that we're first called Christians in Antioch. That's where the Gentiles will begin flooding into the church. That's where we get Galatians chapter 2 where Paul says, I had to deal with Peter and Barnabas because of how they dealt with the Gentiles in the church. Well, when that movement started up in Antioch, Barnabas is dispatched by the believers in Jerusalem, by the leadership. Barnabas, go check it out.

Tell us if this is real or if it's false. He goes up there and he's astounded by what he finds. He knows instantly what to do with this. I got to get Paul. The man that he brought to the disciples years ago that they sent away, he's going to go get him. He's going to travel, well, 80 miles by sea, over 100 miles by land, however way he went, we're not told, but he traveled. He's traveled, you know, just trying to fly somewhere.

Go 100 miles today and it's difficult. Imagine then when you walked, you rode on a cart, a horse, or something else, or a boat that was rickety. I mean, look how many times Paul suffered shipwreck.

No less than five. Anyway, Barnabas, he encouraged people by believing in them. Paul picks up on that as the disciples.

That's why the name is loaded. I love as a pastor giving someone a chance to serve. It's kind of disappointing when you get, we take this very seriously. Take it to the Lord, does this person, we come and make the offer, we'd like you to head this ministry.

This is very serious on my end and it is disappointing when they kind of treat it like, yeah, you know, kind of ho-hum, which isn't often, but sometimes, because you're believing in them. You say, I believe that God is calling you to help the body to serve in this capacity. When Paul was converted, he goes up to Damascus in Syria and he rocks the world. So thorough, so damaging was his work to Satan that they sought to kill him. And they had to let him out of the, over the city wall in a basket.

That's like a laundry basket or something. I don't know, but that's, how humiliating. He escapes for his life and he comes to Jerusalem after his conversion.

His situation is desperate and he's desperate for two reasons. One, his former friends, because remember, Paul was persecuting the Christians. He stood by the clothing of the men who stoned Stephen to death.

Being a Pharisee, he was not permitted to be part of the actual stoning, but he was there. He heard the sermon and Stephen just dismantled all of his prejudices concerning the Christ. Well, those former friends, they hated him with the intense hatred that men give to a turncoat, because that's what they thought he was to them.

He traded sides. No good trader, we send him out to arrest these heretics and he becomes one. Then, his new friends, who weren't very friendly, the Christians, they avoided him. After all, he persecuted them. He persecuted their family members and friends. They did not hate him, but they feared him and they doubted him. It's not nice to be doubted, is it, when someone doubts you.

They're questioning you, your ability, your integrity sometimes. It was Barnabas and Barnabas alone who reached out to Paul when others would not, and he got him. Paul gets converted, he's in Jerusalem, the Christians want nothing to do with him. Barnabas, Acts 9, verse 27, But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly in Damascus in the name of Jesus. Barnabas brings him to the apostles. When he comes in there, he says, Paul, tell him, because Barnabas didn't doubt him, he believed him. He took a risk, a big risk.

It took hope. He was hoping that they were going to accept him, but that hope was supported by courage. He had to be brave to go to Paul to do this, to pull off such a daring move, and he did it twice with Paul, twice. Later, when Paul proved to be too much for Jerusalem, here's another Stephen. James, the brother of the Lord, he wasn't as aggressive in dealing with Judaism, not even close. He was part of the problem in Paul's life. Paul points out in a Galatian letter, men from James came up, they came to spy us out our liberties, and he just, he puts his little shots in there. And James is a big figure in the church in Jerusalem. Anyway, later when Paul proved too much, here's what it says in Acts chapter 9. And when he, Paul, spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed with the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. Paul, they're going to kill you. We got you a ticket here for a boat ride to the other side of the Mediterranean.

Get out of town. And when Paul left, they waved and they said, whoo, be a lot more peace now with our neighbors without Paul here. That's not written, but it's there. Because we know subsequent events, what Paul had to deal with from Christians, Jewish Christians who weren't getting it yet. We'll come to some of that. Paul was there for years.

We don't know exactly how long, but we know it was some time. And thus our text, Acts 11 verse 25, then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. So he first brings him to the apostles who were afraid of him, and now he's going to retrieve him to bring him up to Antioch. Fine, we'll bypass Jerusalem. God's doing something in Antioch.

I need this man. He does something about it. Acts chapter 11 verse 26. And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. And so it was that for a whole year, they assembled with the church and taught a great many people, and the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. They were teaching them. That presupposes they needed instruction. You ever just come to Christ and you know it?

That's insulting. And that's why God raised up teachers in that church, to handle the Jews and the Gentiles alike. Then, then God singles out these two men, and we still haven't gotten to the value of Barnabas.

We've got some of it, but there's a bigger one coming. God singled out these two men, Acts chapter 13 verse 2, as they ministered to the Lord and fasted. That means as they worked in ministry and fasted, hoping God would tell them something. Fasting is not designed to get something from God.

Fasting is to get God, to silence the flesh, to subdue it so I can hear the Spirit. And he continues in Acts chapter 13, Luke does, And they ministered to the Lord and fasted. The Holy Spirit said, Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.

And of course they go into Asia and they start making converts and building churches there. But he's not done yet. Barnabas is not done. That is more to his ministry.

It is his nature to build up, to help the helper. Acts chapter 13 verse 13, Now when Paul and his party set sail for Paphos, they came to Pergar and Pamphylia, and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. That John that is mentioned there is John Mark, the writer of the Gospel according to Mark. He was the cousin of Barnabas. And no question, he's part of this outreach ministry with Barnabas and Paul because of Barnabas. John Mark lived in Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas, they went to Jerusalem to take offerings to the church there, who was struggling during the famine to give them an account of things. On the way back John Mark says, where are you guys going? Can I come? And they come along.

We're going to share the Gospel. Well John Mark goes out and finds the mission field is ugly. Living with those Gentiles proved too much for him.

He was somewhat of a sheltered child. So Barnabas reached out to Mark after Paul rejected him because after John Mark left them on that mission field, or it says here in Acts chapter 13 verse 13, and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. He quit the ministry. Paul said, bookmark that, he's not a good servant. Barnabas didn't have that view. So later when Paul and Barnabas say, hey look, the work in Antioch is stabilized, we need to go out and make more converts, go out into all the world, let's do this. Then we pick it up in Acts chapter 15, Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch teaching and preaching the word of the Lord with many others also. Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing. Now Barnabas was determined to take with him John called Mark.

Then the contention became so sharp that they departed from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. Barnabas lost a great friend that day in order to show grace to another friend, his cousin Mark.

Paul wanted no parts of John Mark. Barnabas was trying to listen, the lad just goofed, I've spoken with him, let's show some grace Paul. Paul said, I will show grace, just not today. Later that great friend Paul, whom Barnabas lost, Paul later boasts of Barnabas nonetheless, the friendship recovered. Their mutual respect was never lost. He writes to the Colossian church, he says to Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you with Mark, the cousin of Barnabas.

There's no shame there. He's rejoicing, he's boasting in Barnabas about whom you received instructions. If he comes to you, welcome him. If John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, my friends, if he comes to that church, you guys better take care of him. He writes in his last letter, maybe a few years before he was actually martyred, but he's thinking he's going to not survive this imprisonment, 2 Timothy 4. He says, only Luke is with me.

But listen what this man on death row says, get Mark and bring him with you. For he is useful to me for ministry. If it weren't for Barnabas, Mark wouldn't be there.

He wouldn't be in the picture. Humanly speaking, had Barnabas not been who he was, there'd be no Paul, the apostle, there'd be no John Mark that we would know of, that did the work that they did. Humanly speaking, had it not been for Barnabas alone, as men go, had he not come to the aid of these two men, we would lack 36% of the New Testament. That's a third of your New Testament gone.

Mark's 8% and Paul's 28%. There would be no letter to the Romans. The two incredible letters to the Corinthians wouldn't have them. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, both Thessalonian letters would not be there. First and second, Timothy, the letter to Pastor Titus, gone. Philemon, Hebrews, gone. And of course the Gospel of Mark. Again, it's not what we take into heaven, it's what we leave behind.

This man could pour a cup of strength into anyone who would hold their cup out. Acts chapter 11, when he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all with purpose of heart that they should continue with the Lord. A pause there, he encouraged them with purpose. Some encourages are irritating because they encourage you and it's a false encouragement. Things are going to be alright when they have no knowledge it's going to be alright.

They're going to get much worse and they're telling you it's going to be okay. Because they feel like they've got to say something positive. Truth takes back seat to emotions at that point.

Now that doesn't mean they're bad people, but we try not to do that. At a funeral, especially when there's a lot of grief surrounding, I try to just keep my mouth shut until I get into the pulpit and preach from God's Word. What am I going to tell the family? Is it going to be okay? They have to work it out themselves.

I don't know what it's going to be. Verse 24, Acts chapter 11, he continues, for he was a good man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith and a great many people were added to the Lord. Because when you have a man like that in your environment, things are going to happen for the kingdom. Now granted, Jeremiah was a man like this too. A righteous man and things didn't happen the same way. But these men also faced persecution.

I'm almost done. Hope needs courage and encouragement as I mentioned earlier. And there's the difference. Sometimes I need someone to encourage me so that later when faced with the opposition, I'll have the courage built on that foundation. I cannot think of a single thing that functions well or as designed by itself. In all of creation, even amongst the Godhead, there's the Trinity. We need other things to do things. It's not just one thing. There are combinations of things that we need.

Thus the armor of Christ that we wouldn't know about had it not been for Barnabas. So I don't want to only hope to make it through another day. I mean, you may come to times when you have that season in your life, but you can't, should your entire Christian life be characterized by, I hope I make it through another day. That kind of hope lacks too much courage.

Otherwise, if I don't get past that, I will stay on the casualty list and I don't want to be there. First Peter again, he says, therefore, now he's writing to Christians that are persecuted. First Peter is to Christians who are under persecution. And instead of saying, it's going to be okay, he says, gird up the loins of your mind. Be sober.

He's using it a second time. And rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. He's a man that knew how to be persecuted.

He's a man that was going to die for Christ because Christ told him he was going to die for Christ. May I always be more inspired than inflicted. In my approach to Jesus Christ, may I be more inspired than inflicted. First John chapter three, for this purpose the Son of God was manifested.

What purpose? That he might destroy the works of the devil. See, John had prefaced that with talking about, you know, we're sinners. We all sin. And that sin is not acceptable to God.

That's the work of Satan. But Christ has destroyed that work, if you will come to him. To be Christ-like is to say, when I get off this cross, I'm taking a lot of people to heaven with me.

That's Christ-likeness. I have a barrage of verses that I'd love to read to you. Second Corinthians four, therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. Galatians six, and let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Don't lose heart while doing good, while other people aren't appreciating your work, because evil doesn't grow weary. Evil doesn't get tired of harassing you.

You better learn to harass back, right? Yes, I say to myself. Hebrews six, nine, this hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil. We go deep into the presence of God. Acts chapter twenty-four, Paul is speaking, giving his sermon to unbelievers. I have hope in God.

He makes that very clear. Which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. There will be those going to hell, and there will be those not going to hell.

And I have this hope in God. So, my closing section here, God uses these imperfect vessels that he has, because he has no other. The only vessel he can hold and say, this is perfect, of course, is the incarnate Christ.

Otherwise, we're all defective, but we can be honorable vessels. Nonetheless, like the great Elijah, Barnabas had his stumble too. And it was with Paul, the man he went and fetched twice. In Galatians, we read Paul writing to the church in Galatia about this event that happened in Antioch. He says, and the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with Peter. It says him, but he's talking about Peter. So that even Barnabas was carried away with the hypocrisy, my buddy, the man that faced death with me. Barnabas, the helper, stumbled on that day, but he recovered.

Christianity was in jeopardy that day of being no more. Not many are fitted to be Peters and Pauls. I'm not. But, by the grace of Christ, I can be a Barnabas.

I can be a helper. I can be a son of consolation. Paul saw Barnabas in Philemon. Philemon had a slave named Onesimus. Philemon was a Christian.

Onesimus broke free, ran away, stole stuff. He ends up in Rome. He gets saved with Paul. Well, not with Paul, but Paul is the vessel used to bring Onesimus to Christ. And Paul says, you've got to go back. I know Philemon, by the way.

You've got to go back. And Onesimus says, okay. So Paul says, I'm going to write a letter for you. He writes the letter. He says, here, you deliver it. He doesn't send them alone, though. So he sends him, and he goes.

He delivers this letter. And in that letter, Paul saw in Philemon the slave owner. Now, don't be one of those people that, oh, you mentioned slavery. They all grow up. It's part of human history. You're not going to get away from it.

They're all forms of slavery. But anyway, Philemon 7, Paul says to him, Paul's writing to the man, for we have great joy and consolation, the same Greek word, comfort, help. We have great joy and consolation in your love. So his love has this other feature to it, consolation, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Man, that's melting Philemon's heart.

How do we know that Philemon submitted to Paul? Well, he publishes the letter. It's a personal letter. It wasn't somebody broke into his dresser drawer. Oh, there's a letter. Just grab it and let's publish it. He made it public to be the cup of strength to another soul in the midst of their sorrow, their trials, their agony, their service, and their routine.

That is what I want. I close with this verse, Mark chapter 9, from the gospel that we wouldn't have had it not been from such a man as this. Where else are you going to find a character like this in human history, except in the Word of God? You may find similarities in other men, but they won't have the anointing. Mark writes, Jesus speaking, for whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, surely I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

God will make it worthwhile. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. We hope you've been blessed by this Believer's Basics series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series or share it with someone you know, please visit We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-06 08:21:58 / 2022-12-06 08:31:31 / 10

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