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February 10, 2021 7:00 pm
Pastor Jeff Hawkey continues the series entitled “New Testament Servants,” from Acts 4.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina available daily platform were continuing a four-part seminary series entitled New Testament service, which studies how God shows and equipped particular servants in the Bible to minister his word. Today's message will be preached by pastor Jeff hockey, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in East flat rock North Carolina.
If you would please take your Bible and open to acts chapter 4 acts chapter 4 will look at verse 36 start with it's fair to say that Barnabas is an underrated New Testament figure. I mean, here's a man who was a prominent member of the mother church in Jerusalem. He was instrumental and the founding of the missions minded church in Antioch of Syria.
Here's a man who was a partner in ministry with the apostle Paul, traveling with him on his first missionary journey planting churches in reaching lost Gentiles for Christ. Here's a man who was a member of the important delegation who went to Jerusalem for that first church council to resolve the Church's very first doctrinal crisis and yet we know Barnabas better not for his ministry accomplishment so much. But for the impact that he had on other people.
He was known as an encourager. He encouraged people look at chapter 4 verse 36 now Joseph and that was his real name.
Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth. He was also called Barnabas by the apostles, which translated means son of encouragement.
Now scholars who fixate on etymology really struggle with Luke's translation of the name Barnabas looks very clear here on what the apostles meant when they called this man by his nickname, Barnabas they meant. Here is a man who is a real encourager here is a son of encouragement. If you pardon the pun. Barnabas was, in fact, your average Joe Christian but he was also an encourager that was what he was known for.
That was his reputation.
He was a man who was filled with the Holy Spirit who knew something of the fruit of the spirit joy. He was a joyful man and he spread that joy everywhere he went, and every life he touched God use this man mightily in the brief time that we have together. This morning I want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to be a sign of encouragement to have that same heart that same spirit that Barnabas had to be an encourager of others based on the biblical information available to us. I like us to consider for categories of people that Barnabas encouraged throughout his ministry. The first category would be that of new believers. Barnabas encourage new believers. For one thing, he, he was instrumental at a very key time in the life of Saul of Tarsus will turn over to acts chapter 9. Look at verse 26 year after Saul of Tarsus was saved Christians were very leery of this man who had been a persecutor of the church, and rightly so. But Barnabas took a risk on this new convert look at acts 926 when he saw Tarsus came to Jerusalem. He was trying to associate with the disciples but they were all afraid of him not believing that he was a disciple, but Barnabas took hold of him in brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road and that he had talked to him and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. So here's Barnabas taking a personal risk on a former persecutor of the church Saul of Tarsus, the personal risk. He went out on a limb. He was able to look at this former persecutor of the church and see God's fingerprints on his life. Now let's be clear, it's not a matter of us believing in people for let us not put confidence in the flesh.
It is rather having faith in God that God can get a hold of a life and transform a person from what he was to a disciple of Christ will serve him and glorify him. And so is looking at people with that eye of faith, a new convert who maybe is disheveled. Maybe they come from a very bad former life. Maybe it's drug abuse.
Maybe it's it's all kinds of sinful behaviors, but it's looking at them with that eye of faith and believing that God will make a difference in their lives. We ought to see people as redeemed sinners, and visualize what God can do in and through them just like Barnabas did with respect to solve Tarsus so Barnabas encourage Saul of Tarsus. He also encouraged the new believers in Antioch at the turn over to acts chapter 11 verse 22. So what happened here is that Stephen had been martyred and the persecution that came with that caused Christians to scatter and with that the spread of the gospel. The gospel spread to places like Antioch, Syria, and both Jews and Greeks there in Antioch had heard the gospel and got saved in.
Here's what happens next in verse 22. The news about them reach the years of the church in Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God. He rejoiced and began to encourage them all. With resolute heart to remain true to the Lord for he was a good man in full of the Holy Spirit and of faith in considerable numbers were brought to the Lord the church in Jerusalem. The mother church picked Barnabas of all people. They picked Barnabas to go to Antioch and when he got there he was very encouraged by what he saw a whole bunch of new believers such potential he saw in them.
The potential that could be worked by the power of God.
He rejoiced over what was happening there in Antioch and what did he do he encourage those new believers.
He encourage them to remain faithful to remain strong in their faith. Do not waiver he was a son of encouragement to these new believers. Barnabas rejoiced in his joy was contagious and it spread to the other people there. They were rejoicing and what God was doing in their midst.
Who knows how the Lord might use just a simple word of encouragement that you might give to a new convert. Robert Moffat had returned to England on the only furlough of his 52 year missionary service in Africa and as he spoke to the interested crowds. He said this in the north. I have seen in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages were no missionary has ever been. After he spoke one young doctor approached Moffat and asked if he also might be used of the Lord in Africa and Moffat gave to this young man, a most encouraging answer. He said yes. Yes, the Lord can use you in Africa. In fact, you need to go to these tribes of the north that young doctors name was David Livingston who knows if the Lord might use a simple word of encouragement that you might give to new believers be a son of encouragement like Barnabas. Encourage new believers sets. The first category people the Barnabas encouraged second category would be ministry partners. Encourage your ministry partners your God was doing a great work there in Antioch under Barnabas's ministry so good in fact that he desperately needed some help he needed some assistance and so he went to Tarsus and he brought Saul.
Now Paul back with him and the two of them ministered together there in Antioch as a team.
Barnabas was, not too proud to share the ministry with someone else and even to allow Paul's gifts to outshine his own because they were in it together. Not for themselves before the Lord and so they ministered together in Antioch for about a year. If you turn over to acts chapter 13 were told in verse two. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them the Holy Spirit had selected these two men to now be partners in this great missionary enterprise to the Gentiles. They were going to be partners together on this first missionary journey. Guess where they went. First they went to Cyprus they went to Barnett businesses hometown if you will. And then they went on from there to Asia minor preaching the gospel and planting churches as they went.
They had a very successful ministry missionary ministry reaching the lost church planning ministry.
They traveled together they preach together and yes they faced opposition together and persecution and difficulties they had each other to encourage one another. I think it's interesting, perhaps more than coincidental that when Jesus sent out the 70 he sent them out to buy two when the Holy Spirit sent the first missionary team out on a missionary journey. He sent them out as to Paul and Barnabas. They had each other. They were partners in ministry. Ecclesiastes 49 says two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up when the Lord places you in ministry, wherever that may be whatever capacity it may be, you're not going to be in that ministry alone.
You're going to have partners ministry, you may be serving on a team together with others, and as you do serve in that capacity, however the Lord may use you.
Will you be a son of encouragement to the other members of that team we be in encourager to that senior pastor that you're serving under.
I hope you will great preacher Charles Spurgeon said this pray for the minister.
Encourage him, for there are plenty to discourage him there always carping spirits abroad who will remind him of any fault he will be afflicted by those who will not dare to sign their names to a letter but will send it to him anonymously and then there is the devil who the moment the man is got out of the pulpit will say there is a poor sermon you will never dare preach again. There are all sorts of discouragements to be met with professing Christians will backslide those who do remain low often be inconsistent and he will be sighing and crying in his closet while you perhaps are thanking God that your souls have been fed under him.
Spurgeon says encourage your minister. I pray you, wherever you attend, encourage him, for your own sake, we be son of encouragement that senior pastor that you're serving under we be a son of encouragement to other members of the team that you're serving alongside of wheel encourager ministry partners like Barnabas did.
There's 1/3 category people that Barnabas encouraged and that would be those in need. If you go back to acts chapter 4 Vardy seen the introduction that Lou makes tube to Barnabas. He he tells us about who this man is and it's in this context were first introduced to him were told in verse 37 that he owned a tract of land and sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet. Here's a man who had a generous heart and he sought opportunities to encourage those who were in need, and he did something about it. He was willing to sell some of his property in order to be a blessing to someone who was in need.
Later on in time when Barnabas and Paul are serving together in Antioch.
Guess who the church chose to take the collection that they had gathered up to Jerusalem to encourage the saints who were neither. It was Paul's here is someone who really cared about others and no doubt he gave substantially to that collection himself a true son of encouragement will respond to opportunities to be generous to meet others needs.
James assess in James 215 if a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you say to them. Go in peace, be warmed and filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself is a one of the ways we live out our faith is by giving generously to meet the needs of others. We just recently had one of our one of the mitten missionaries that we support the Largent's and Uruguay home on furlough. They came to our church gave us a an update on their ministry. They recounted what they been through the past few years Ivan has suffered with tremendous back pain, and then he after that, he was treated for that and Uruguay, and that got his stomach calm has stuff and so he suffered with all kinds of stomach problems and then this past year or early in the morning. One morning a tornado hit their home and ripped the roof off.
They been through one thing after another and they been in need. But you know the blessing. A blessing to the pastor's heart is for me to see our people respond to those needs and to give generously to them. We took up a love offering for the Largent and so did other of their supporting churches and you know the Lord met every need. So be a son of encouragement like Barnabas. Encourage new believers encourager ministry partners encourage those in need and there's yet 1/4 category people the Barnabas encouraged and that is those who fail internal to acts chapter 15. You know the situation here and Paul and Barnabas left Antioch on their missionary journey. Together they took Barnabas's cousin John Mark with them.
John Mark turned out to be a great disappointment. He abandoned them early in their journey and he returned to Jerusalem and some of the time came for Paul to begin another missionary journey.
Barnabas and Paul could not agree on whether to bring John Mark with them again and so that's kind of where we pick it up here next 15 and look at verse 36. After some days Paul said the Barnabas, but his return and visit the brother in every city in which we proclaim the word of the Lord and see how they are. Barnabas wanted to take John called Mark along with them. Also but Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. There occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another and Barnabas took Mark with him sailed away to Cyprus.
But Paul chose Silas left being committed by the brother into the grace of the Lord, and he was traveling through Syrian's Alysia strengthening the churches.
Let's face it, John Mark had been a failure. He had suffered ministry failure, having abandoned Paul and Barnabas at a time when they really needed them. He had let them down.
And to this day, commentators have a raging debate on who was right in this dispute the Paul was a Barnabas, was it not within Paul's apostolic authority to deny John Mark a second chance.
Should Barnabas have just deferred to Paul in this matter. Well, on the other hand, the apostle Peter had denied the Lord three times, he had failed miserably and what did the Lord Jesus Christ to he gave them a second chain. He restored Peter to a position of ministry where he could serve the Lord and God used him mightily from that point for how many Bible heroes were given second chances. How many of us have been given a second chain's, it would seem the Barnabas was operating on the principle of restoration that we find in Galatians 61 brother and even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted. We have the benefit of hindsight and in hindsight we can see that Barnabas's approach approach worked out for the good because not one but two missionary teams were sent out by the church. The gospel spread even further, and in due time. John Mark and Paul's relationship was apparently fully restored about a decade later Paul is writing to the believers in Colossae and the he says to them.
Colossians 410 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner sends you his greetings and also Barnabas's cousin Mark about whom you received instructions. If he come to you. Welcome him and Paul also writes in second Timothy 411. Some years later. This is now near the very end of his life in prison in Rome. He says only Luke is with me writer of the book of acts and says pickup Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. Here's a man who got a second chance. John Mark useful to the apostle Paul. This man got a second chance because a Barnabas because of the son of encouragement came along and encourage someone who had failed ministry someone who might've just given up.
But there were given another chance.
G. Campbell Morgan was one of about 150 young men who sought entrance into the Wesley ministry and eight Dean 88 he had passed his written exam. The next step was to give a trial sermon in front of a panel. Apparently he didn't do too well when the results were released Morgan's name was among the hundred and five who were rejected. He wired his father with one word rejected. Then he sat down and wrote in his diary very dark. Everything seems still the reply to his wire was quick to arrive. It read rejected on earth accepted in heaven.
Dad can be an encouragement to a son who's going through disappointment like that. A brother in Christ can be an encouragement to someone who's going through disappointment like that someone who feels rejected and that word is just hanging over them like a dark cloud they need someone who will not give up on them like they've given up on themselves.
They need a Barnabas who will come alongside of them and put their arm around them and encourage them say the Lord is not through with you brother get up and dust yourself off and go forward and serve the Lord, do what you can to encourage those who fail so that they, like John Mark like G.
Campbell Morgan and go on to useful service to our Lord be a Barnabas be a son of encouragement encourage those around you encourage new believers encourager ministry partners encourage those who are need encourage those who have suffered a failure or a setback be that brother that Barnabas to them that encourages them be the one that God uses be this man who was spirit filled and full of faith who was used of the Lord to encourage others who spread the joy of the Lord to those around. Will you be a Barnabas our father, we thank you for this profile of this man that you use mightily ministry. I pray Lord that you would help each of us to live up to this standard in our own lives. We might be in encourager to those around is not tearing others down. Not always criticizing, always seeing the bad. May we be that Barnabas son of encouragement to those who need encouragement that they might go on and serve you pray this in Jesus name you been listening to Dr. Jeff talking pastor of Grace Baptist Church in these flat rock North Carolina listen tomorrow as we continue the series of New Testament servants on The Daily Platform