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Life of Paul Part 7 - How to be an Encourager

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2020 6:00 am

Life of Paul Part 7 - How to be an Encourager

So What? / Lon Solomon

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The Bible together and opened it. Two of the book of acts acts chapter 11 Matthew Mark Luke John acts as Chapter 11 were to continue in our study of the life of the great man. The apostle Paul, I want to begin this morning with a quote in the market to tell you to start off with Bob but you may recognize it. By the time were done and they will tell you, here we go. I quote my life will change when it aids 38 I passed a woman lying in the street half eaten up by wrap and enhance.

I took her to the hospital but they could do nothing for her. They only took her because I refused to go home until they did. From there I went straight to the town hall and asked for a place where I could take such people. They gave me an old empty building within 24 hours we began bringing in the thick and the suffering. Since then, more than 40,000 women and children have come to our home.

We washed them address them and put them into a bed with proper medical care. Some children we pick up from the streets. Others are brought to us by hospitals where they been left behind by their parents. No matter how they come.

We have never refused a child more than half of them die here but in their last hours they find human and divine love. We are not social workers.

We want to bring God to these people. There are a lot of institutions caring for the sick.

We don't want to be among them. We are not another organization offering social services.

We have to be more to give more. We have to bring God's love to people's lives."

Now the woman who said this. Her name was Agnes, but you may recognize or better by her other name, and that is mother Theresa, Mother Teresa, the founder of the missionaries of Charity, the winner of the 1971 Kennedy prize in 1973 Templeton prize in 1975 Albert Schweitzer prize in 1979 Pulitzer peace prize in 1996, only the fourth person in history to ever be named an honorary citizen of the United States of America you know folks sometimes in our world.

There is just a good person that comes along like Mother Teresa or like Billy Graham like ex-president Jimmy Carter, just a good person and you know I want to talk today about another good person from the Bible, a fellow named Barnabas and my hope is that by the time were gone.

You will not only understand about Barnabas, but really Barnabas will become an example that you are jazzed about following about copying about hiring for God to build into your life as a 21st-century follower of Christ to building your life. The qualities that we see in this man's life to come along method Barnabas's example change our lives when we know about this man to start with what we learned last week from acts chapter 4 Barnabas was not the man's real name is real name was Joseph. He was born and raised as a Jew on the island of Cyprus. He converted to a personal faith in Jesus and he moved to Jerusalem to ally with the Christian community there as the apostles got to know him better.

They nicknamed him Barnabas. Barnabas literally means the son of encouragement and they nicknamed him yes because they could see this trade in him.

This guy was an encourager. This was like up Barnabas was like a big old shaggy dog, a big old girl go golden retriever we said last week he just wants to lift every body all over that was Barnabas and we saw him exhibit and display this trait in his treatment of the apostle Paul asked chapter 9 snowfall came to town and I wanted to connect up with the followers of Christ there.

Nobody wanted anything to do with you, so it says in verse 27 that Barnabas came alongside Paul put his arm around him and then he escorted him brought him to the apostles told him how Paul on his journey of seeing the Lord, Lord spoken to Paul: preach fearlessly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. Barnabas embraced Paul. Barnabas reached out to Paul. He encouraged the man's life and of course as a result, Paul became accepted there in the community in Jerusalem, but it didn't last long.

Verse 29 he talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.

So the brothers took him and send him back to his home city of Tarsus. Not after we left all last week. Let's pick up see what happens this week. Chapter 11 verse 19. Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Steve and that the persecution by the way that Paul in his earlier years had championed and led those people. They traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch telling the message only to Jews but some of them went men from Cyprus and Cyrene. We went to Antioch and began to speak to the Gentiles. There also telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus and the Lord's hand was with them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

Antioch was the third most prominent city in the Roman Empire, behind only Rome itself in Alexandria, Egypt, and this is where some of the followers of Christ that were spread throughout the Middle East.

Because of this persecution went, but they did something very unique there they started telling Gentiles about Jesus scandalous unbelievable what they did and lo and behold Gentiles started coming to Christ and they started building there a church that mixed Jewish believers with Gentile believers all in the same church loving one another, worshiping together caring for one another.

Focus is the first time this has ever happened. This is the first kind of church like this ever to exist. We'll talk more about this in the weeks to come, but it happened. First, and Antioch.

Verse 22 and news of this recent years of the church in Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check it out. They sent home. What was really going on up there.

Barnabas go up there. Make sure everything is kosher. So they send him up there to check this out and verse 19 says he arrived verse 23. Rather, when he arrived he saw the evidence of the grace of God, and he was glad that Barnabas got there and he was cast when he saw what was going on. Jewish people coming to Christ. Gentile people coming to Christ together worshiping the Lord being in church together and he was excited and the Bible says and he encouraged them will of course he did. His name Barnabas.

Of course he did, and he encouraged them with all of their hearts to remain true to the Lord for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit in faith and a great number of people were brought to the Lord there in that city civil law. This is great right a mean look at this church probably looking at making an impact on its community. This is not right.

I would hear, but there was a problem. The problem is, the church is growing so fast it'll Barnabas couldn't keep up with it all by himself. He was really the only spiritual leader they had and the demands became more than he could meet so we went to the Lord and he prayed. He said he Lord I need some help and God said Barnabas I got good news for you on the put money in the church budget for you to hire an assistant pharmacy. Thank you so much God and he went off looking for an assistant and look where he went.

Verse 25 Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Paul to how far away is Antioch from Tarsus when we show your map and if you look here's Jerusalem going north up the Mediterranean is Damascus and all the way north, here, here is Antioch right here in southern Turkey today and Tarsus is over here almost 100 miles on foot, Barnabas had to go to find Paul in the city of Tarsus. They threw how long is it been since they'd seen each other is been somewhere between six and 10 years since Barnabas and Paul last saw each other. Jerusalem, Paul went on to say in Tarsus and he's been there 6 to 10 years and Barnabas goes looking for any he finds him and is a one-man pulpit committee. He convinces him to come to Antioch. Verse 26 we found Paul talking to Antioch so for a whole year. Barnabas and Paul met with the church and taught great numbers of people and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch if you want to know where the name came from. It came from the Gentile population and Antioch know the word Christian, which literally means a Christ person. Christians are Christ people literally. It was a derogatory name. It wasn't meant to be a compliment at the beginning old there go those Christians again. We've adopted the name and made it into a badge of honor, but it was first given to us in Antioch. The next time you play Trivial Pursuit you know all right good now to stop there because we have a question to ask and it is the important question of the day. You know what it is. Don't you I were not yet okay everybody ready, deep breath 123.

Okay now we got a good lawn. This is great. I appreciate tell me all of this Barnabas is a great guy and an eight but you know what his uncle change my life. One book tomorrow morning to know we were first called Christians in Antioch differences.

This makes well let's see if we can't bring it home to your life in my life today friends if we were to take a survey here this morning of the most famous Bible quote of all time and I'm not there is a lot of bowl of verses. It would probably get a vote, but I'll bet you one verse. It would get an awful lot of vote is John 316 know to think for God so loved the world, that's right. And you know the Bible teaches without equivocation that God loves every person in the world he loves everybody the same. He loves everybody equally. He loves every body without regard for race or color or creed or nationality or economic standing. But even though God loves everybody the same. You've heard me say it before.

I believe that God like certain people. Morning like other people, and I believe God really liked Barnabas to say when I how do you know that you will look at verse 24. It says in verse 24 that Barnabas was a good man and what's interesting is that Barnabas is the only person in the entire New Testament about whom God ever uses this phrase he's the only man or woman anywhere in the New Testament about whom God ever says that they are a good man. They are a good woman and I was thinking this week. What is it that caused the Lord to single this man out and speak of him in such a such a complementary way, what is it that God likes so much about Barnabas what we've already answered Barnabas was an encourager. Barnabas was a guy who he was on a compass half-full sort of God. He was a can-do guy. He was a guy who always looked on the bright side, he was a guy who was always a good cheer. He was a true optimist. This is Barnabas that you know the definition of an optimist, don't you, and optimist radio is the definition and optimist is a 90-year-old man who marries a 25-year-old woman and buys a seven bedroom house right next to an elementary school that is an optimist.

Yeah okay and that was Barnabas. He was a true optimist and godlike. Now here's the point. If God really like this guy.

And God goes on record in the Bible is saying that he does then it would seem logical to me that the qualities in this man's life. The character traits in this man's life are things you and I on a copy and see if we could aspire to have God build in our lives and that makes sense. You make sense to me.

So how do we what was it about this man that made him an encourager. How do we become better encourager. Well I got for suggestions to give you so write them down. I hope you will and I hope you use these and really pray that God build them in your life. Number one and encourager Barnabas number one and encourager puts people first. Is it a Barnabas do this will of course he didn't remember what we saw in acts chapter 9. Paul comes to town knowing nobody feeling completely alone.

He wants to connect up with the rest of the Christians in town. They don't want anything to do with and even John the apostle of love don't want anything to do with you and it was Barnabas reaches out to him. Barnabas doesn't say to him. Hey, pal.

Here's her phone number here is the fax number here their email address. God bless you know know he puts his arm around Paul goes out of his way for Paul puts himself out for Paul and what is it say he personally escorted Paul and brought him to meet with the apostles and then what he does is he stands with Paul. He sticks with Paul. He's vouches for Paul. He communicated to Paul you know what you matter to me. Paul, you have value your importance friends, nothing will encourage another human being more than the deliver that message to go out of our way to put ourselves out and communicate to them. You matter to us. You are important to us and that as a church is what we want to do.

We want to be a kind of church that is an encouraging church. That's why core value number one at McLean Bible church is people matter to God and they matter to us. We want people whenever they come across those rub shoulders with us in any way shape or form to come away saying you know what I feel encouraged I matter to those people. They went out of their way for me. They bent over backwards for me. They put themselves out for me. I have value in their site.

The thing they care about most is not there building program not how much land they own, not how many people are on the staff but me I matter to them. That's what encouraging churches to that's what encouraging people do.

That's what Barnabas did number two and encourager number two inspires people to rise to their full potential and encourager doesn't look at people the way they are right now and encourager tries to look past the president and to see people the way they can become for Jesus Christ and then they come alongside those people and try to inspire them to come alongside them and try to champion them to really achieve their full potential for God to Barnabas do this you. Betty did right here in acts chapter 11 what he do, we saw that he went off and personally recruited Paul to come to Antioch and be his assistant now can I remind you that Barnabas could have recruited any number of people want one of the thousands of people in the early church and people are falling all over themselves, considering it a privilege to go to Antioch and work with Barnabas, but he would have to Paul Scott. I also remind you that at the time that Barnabas went after Paul.

Paul was a nobody. You know, he'd been in Tarsus salted away for 6 to 10 years and as we know in Washington out a sigh, out of mind you got this man. Paul had written any books. He didn't have a radio program didn't have a TV show he had written written first and second Corinthians, or anything else yet he was really a nobody, but Barnabas went after him. Specifically, you know why because in that little bit of time they spent together in Jerusalem just brushed shoulders. Barnabas saw something in Paul he saw greatness in Paul now was Paul grade at this moment know with Paul anything special at this moment, no. But Barnabas said you know what this man could really be something for Jesus Christ and he went after him and he didn't just bringing back what he did. Verse 26 that they spent a year together working in that church and Barnabas mentored this man Barnabas embraced this man Barnabas taught this man Paul to believe in himself and to seek his destiny as a servant of Jesus Christ and you know Paul rose to be the wonderful man he did, at least in large part because Barnabas believed and who knows what would happen if even left in Tarsus. The rest of his life. This wasn't the only man Barnabas ever did this for member.

The fellow named John Mark working to get to the story. In acts 15 a little bit later but just to review the story they want the first missionary journey, Barnabas and Paul and they took John Mark along a young man and John Mark deserted him ran away left and went AWOL when you got time to go on the second missionary journey in acts 15 Barnabas said to Paul, I want to take John Mark impulsive what you not think John Mark John Mark ran away deserted is the first time all Barnabas said yeah Paul, but you know what I see something in this kit, this kids got something and if we work with you and we can make them into a real man of God. And Paul said not all my missionary journey. You don't I'm not taken is God I need people I can count on and they had such a disagreement. The Bible says over job market. They parted ways.

Paul and Barnabas and Barnabas. The Bible says Polk John Mark within and went off to Cyprus not how we roll the clock forward about 15 years Paul was in jail in Rome about ready to be martyred for his faith and he writes Timothy and listen to what he says first and second Timothy chapter 4 verse 11 Paul says get John Mark. Well, that's interesting and bring him with you Timothy to see me because he is profitable for me in ministry hey John Mark turn his life around. Yes. Did he become a great servant of Jesus Christ, yes, and it was because of Barnabas, who, talking, and believed in him. Hey John Mark felt like a total failure. Fatal left in there. He never would've mounted anything was Barnabas who believed in that kid and taught the kids believe in himself.

He became a great man of God, you know, folks, is none of us will ever achieve our potential for Jesus Christ, but that somebody doesn't come alongside of us and help us learn to believe in ourselves. I have somebody like that my life when I came to Washington in 1971 I was hitchhiking around the country. My dog had a big ole Afro in a backpack not been born again probably about months or less, and it was October and it was getting cold out and have anyplace to say. And God brought across my path, a wonderful man named Bill.

December consumer was one of the good news mission over in Arlington at the time of prison ministry. He took me in and gave me a place to live and little to salary and made me the environmental engineer for the good news mission yet either. Well back then we called it the janitor, but I that's what I did. Hey I clean toilets are rake leaves.

I took out trash. I cut the grass on mop the floors and you know this man asked me what my dream was an ice in my dreams to go in the full-time Christian service he's awarding to do that so I don't know this was the first man encouraged me to start taking seminary classes and preparing myself to let me off half a day even though it paid me my full salary so I could go over and take classes part-time to encourage me to quit. Go to seminary full-time and really prepare myself and when I was scared to death. He sat me down and he said don't you dare be scared, God's got something for you that you believe in what God has for you and you go for long. And I'll tell you 30 years later there was no way I'd be here today to one for Bill. December who did exactly for me. Would Barnabas do for John Mark and what he did for Paul and fold every one of us need somebody like that of mother or father who believes in us a Christian brother or sister or a friend who believes in us, and what God is telling us here is that we just don't need that for ourselves, but more than that God is telling us he wants us to be those kind of people. For others, mass compensate for just a moment if you're here and you've never trusted Christ as your real and personal Savior that there's a message here for you if you're feeling down inside of you that there are some, destiny, and they are if you're feeling down inside you a sense that you could really be something you're right, you could.

God is built you to do something for him but my friend you will never be able to achieve that until Jesus Christ takes over your life. I was never able to achieve it till he took over my life. You want to reach that sense of destiny. Nobody want you to reach more than God, but you can't do it as long as you drive an automobile. You gotta get over the passenger seat and let Jesus drive if you want to get there if you let them drive to get you there. Think about the score.

Number three.

Encourage 1/3 is happy to let other people eclipse them initially. Some very interesting watching. You see, think you see anything change here. Acts 1126 so for a whole year. Barnabas and Paul. Acts 1130 sending their gift by Barnabas and Paul asked 1225 when Barnabas and Paul had finished, acts 13 to set apart for me Barnabas and Paul.

Acts 1342, as Paul and Barnabas were leaving.

Acts 1343. Many of the Jews followed Paul and Barnabas.

Acts 1346 and Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly.

Acts 14 one at I Coni and Paul and Barnabas asked 15 to so they appointed Paul and Barnabas.

Do you think that shift is accidental. I don't you think it's coincidence, absolutely not. I think the Bible telling us very clearly that when Paul and Barnabas began their partnership. Barnabas was the one who had the notoriety. Barnabas was the one who had the fame and the attention, but it wasn't too long before in the plan of God. The apostle Paul began rising, and eclipse thing Barnabas he began having the fame he began having the notoriety in the point that I want you to see is that Barnabas was okay with this.

He didn't get defensive. He didn't get threatened. He didn't get territorial he was happy about this and I'll tell you why because encouragers are happy when other people. Eclipse them in the plan of God are fine with that.

You and I will never be able to be in encourager until we can genuinely rejoice when somebody goes past us in the work of God, and eclipses us, but we're excited because it in the about us, it's about the work of God number four and finally encouragers and I think this is the most important one in and encourager is always directing people's focus on the Lord no matter where encourager finds people. Their goal is to always leave people more focused on Jesus more focused on God's power, more focused on God's promises more focused on God's faithfulness and God's strength and where they found people and encouragers life versus Philippians 4 verse 13 we can do all things through Christ who gives a strength that a Barnabas do this you. Betty did ask chapter 11 verse 23, it says and Barnabas encouraged them look what it encourage him to do.

He encourage them to remain true to the Lord with all their heart. He didn't encourage them to remain true to the church or true to the denomination or true to the building program because churches and denominations and building programs don't strengthen anybody they don't encourage anybody if the Lord his power is present. His promises focusing on that that encourages and motivates people and strengthens people and that's were Barnabas told these people to keep their focus on the Lord, you know what when you meet a true encourager with no do for you still take your eyes off for your problems. Offer your obstacles offer every reason why your life is a wreck and they'll turn your eyes to the promises of God and the power of God in the presence of God in your life you walk away from them.

You will feel wonderful because your focus is where it belongs and that's on Jesus, not your problem is what encouragers do. These are the kind of people we see walking on the street you cross to walk on the side there on because you want to meet these people. Every time you meet them and walk away from them. They help you feel better because they turned your eyes on the God has read the story not long ago about a young African-American man who grew up in a fatherless home came from the slums of Detroit and and yet he had an encourager like this in his life. I want you to hear his story quoting from him. He said, are growing up without a father put a heavy burden on my mother. She didn't complain she was a young woman with very little education, yet she pulled off a miracle mother strength came from a deep-seated faith in God. I can still hear her voice saying Benny, we're going to be fine. And because she believe those words I believe them to a church one Sunday when I was eight I heard a story about medical missionaries traveling to the primitive villages in Africa and as we walked home. I said to my mother that's what I wanted to I want to be a doctor cannot be a doctor. Mother Benny, she said, listen to me and we stopped walking and she stared into my eyes don't think about this for second here they are walking home to the slums of Detroit. Here's a little boy without a dad, and with very little money, but I want you to see with his mother tells she put his eyes on the obstacles the fact he doesn't have a dad that she didn't have much education that their living in the slums she didn't have much money.

Oh, no, no, no, look at this woman Benny. She said if you ask the Lord for something you believe is going to do it for you and I happen.

Well then I believe I'll be a doctor. I said, and after mother's words of assurance. I never again doubted what I wanted to do with my life." This man is named Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Carson, today's chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore that some of my family have the wonderful privilege to meet this Mama my little girl was in a room and next door to her in the room was one of his patients and he came in the room, just the most wonderful follower of Christ.

You'd ever want to meet one of the that the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins would come from the slums of Detroit from a fatherless home with no money and no day but you see Ben Carson had some very important in his life. He had an encourager in his life to her mother who taught them not only to believe in himself, taught them about the power of God, not the obstacle. The power of God in his life and that's why he is where he is today. What a wonderful thing to have somebody like that in your life and friends. This is the way God wants us to be another people's lives to make it our goal that when they walk away from us. No matter what their focus was on when they met us there focuses on God when they walk away from. That's what encouragers do.

So you want to be an encourager. Let's conclude let's somewhat warty what you have to do one of the qualities that made this man.

Such a wonderful man number one. He put people first number two. He inspired people to achieve their full potential for God Barnabas to look at people where they were.

He looked at them for what they could be in Sonoma to help them get their number three. Here was a man was happy to have people eclipsing a helmet that was the plan of God. He didn't care and number four. And finally, and most important here was a man who, every time you met Barnabas by the time you walked away. Your eyes were not on yourself, your problems in your obstacles.

They were on God and the power of God.

This is what an encourager is and I want to challenge each of us, including me, to aspire to be. These kind of people would be wonderful if we had a whole church full of Barnabas is when any wonderful if we could be Barnabas to the city of Washington is a church and and it all starts with you and me just simply asking God to make us this kind of person and in closing, let me say I got got some good news. If you and I can become these common people to wonderful things will happen. Number one everybody you meet will call you blessed and number two God will like you and I think that's pretty cool pretty heavily father thanks for an opportunity to study the word of God today and thanks for this wonderful example of this man. Barnabas Lord use his example to challenge us. I pray uses example to motivate us to aspire to be this kind of person, may we pray and ask you to build these qualities in our life. May we become Barnabas, is for the people in our family.

The people around us for Jesus change the way we live Monday to Saturday change the way we do.

Life, because we were here today we learned about this man and you challenged our hearts. We pray these things in Jesus name, amen

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