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June 26, 2020 4:00 am
The we live in a fiercely independent and individualistic society.
As a result, more and more people are struggling today with loneliness and discouragement so important for us to have good friends and to be good friends today on Truth for Life.
Alister Ben points us to the example of Barnabas whose reputation earned him the name son of encouragement or study is drawn from the book of acts chapter 9 where very happy to have our little group. We know who's in it. We know who we want to be in it and we know we don't want to be in. Well when that exists in the fellowship of God's people. We are just in point of identification here with the group in Jerusalem because Saul himself had no place to go and there was no one to taken and then come these four fantastic words that begin. Verse 27 but Barnabas took him. And when you take somebody. It involves time. It involves efforts and it involves a rearrangement of your plans. And since most of us are cagey with our time are not necessarily committed without effort, and don't like our plans being rearranged as much as we want to be Barnabas we may be one of the disciples that close the door and Saul's face because we didn't want to give up the time you think about the evangelism of our churches in terms of their outreach when we greet people and we tell them about our church and about the pastor that we have in the ministry does that are there and we invite the we say them.
You know you want to come along some Sunday and the individual is intrigued and they say and how do I get there would be a lot easier to say you know such and such a petrol station is that near you.
Yeah what I'll tell you what, I'll park my car in the forecourt of that station and you park your car there and you come and drive with me that'll give us a chance to talk. That'll give us a chance to get to know one another. That will give me an indication of some of the people that you may need and like to be introduced to some time. We asked the person where you come from and they say all I come from Georgia we say oh yeah, we've got a lot of people from Georgia in our church when you come look out for them. Maybe you'll bump into them a few weeks ago and I was with my daughters and trying to exercise trying to keep up with my girls as they ran around the track and as we pause for a cup of water. I lady said to me, aren't you the pastor.
Why was some miles to my church, and so I said well I am a pastor but I don't think I am the past. She said no no no no that church that such and such church isn't that where you're from. I said yes I said do you come she said well I started to come but I don't come.
I said well why not. She said well I came and I was invited to an event that was specially geared I was told for people like me. They said that if I came I would find out a lot about the church and the church would follow up on me and find me a place of involvement.
I said so you went to the event they see said yes I said will tell me what happened.
She said well he went around the room and we all said who we where where we come from and I said I come from Virginia and I was new to the place and I knew nobody she said by three weeks after I'd been to the event. I never heard a thing from anybody et al. and then she said I call the office and I got no one and then I called again and I got someone I told the person I said hey I can do your thing, you know, and you said you follow-up and you are interested in your glad you have newcomers and nothing happened. So the guy says whoa. Well let me give you the names of one or two single people that you could maybe contact so she takes down the names and telephone numbers of a couple believes he doesn't know this girl is shy she got an extrovert type of person she tries a couple of times to form and eventually she just gives a net I was my church. I'm having to tell you that as soon as I found out we sorted it out. This lady greets me now. Every Sunday tells me how thrilled she is to be a part of thing but stuff like that goes on all the time. I running my church is unique.
Barnabas was not can a gang Barnabas to see something when's the last time you to somebody to church. You see, it is the spirit of Barnabas when it's in the heart of an individual. It exudes this kind of compaction. How I long for Barnabas's in my church, and in my life. I told you before that I was brought up in Glasgow. Glasgow was the second city of the British Empire. It was there that they had built this large mission Hall. The tent hall. It was called after the meetings of Moody and Sankey at the turn-of-the-century and there on a Saturday evening when I used to go as we boy there would be 2200 people and again on Sunday. Another 2200 people. It was a vast spot and the responsibility that was given to those who were the ushers was a real and important one. I tell the story with purpose because my grannie had told one of my aunts who died as a missionary in India before I was born on this particular evening when she was heading for church. She told my aunt now when you go to church tonight. Look out for somebody don't just go with your friends.
Look for someone who may be lonely. Look for someone who perhaps is a visitor just be on the lookout and so she went and she went to church with her mother's instructions ringing in her years. She took her seat and as she sat there she was involved in the opening parts of worship and suddenly a man who was an ex professional boxer, who was a dreadful usher. If you like, in the sense that he always made an awful lot of noise and people in the in the mission all used to complain about them. We don't need characters like this is our ushers like nice demure and and quiet archers used to go there first seat over there are and you could hear him blooming all throughout the hall and then his big book should be coming across when you get to the seat in need of him books come in all over the place dropping on the floor and crashing and banging and he didn't just dish out Bibles and books and throw people into seats he look them in the way he asked them the name and he found out where they were from and into that vice crowd walked a girl who had arrived that weekend to be a nurse in Glasgow. He said to her. Who are you and detecting our accent. He discovered that she was from the blank aisle of Scott immediately thinking through the group that represented the church. He said to himself. I bet that girl Bertha bag would be just the person to sit next to and so he went on one of his Christ buying wall of tracers all around the church and doubtless there were a bunch of old folkies complaining about them. That night as well. Why doesn't he just put them in the first seats.
Why does he have to roam all around the church, for goodness sake what's going on here and he went and he brought this girl who knew no one to a girl whose mother had said lookout for someone and I can continue the story for you dear ones, but the implications of that man doing that on that night have spanned four generations since as a result of one act of genuine friendship and encouragement. There are no inconsequential moments in our days.
There are no chance encounters. There is no inconsequential task, the church my church is sustained every single week.
As a result of men and women whose names you will never ever know men and women just like you and just like me.
Let's turn to ask Chapter 11 because this is the last little vignette that we have a Barnabas that I like to consider with you and will do this, just briefly ask Chapter 11 in verse 19 tells the news of the great blessing which followed the scattering of the Christians. As a result of the persecution which had accompanied the death of Stephen a reminder to us.
Incidentally, and in passing that we ought not to judge the Lord by feeble sense or but trust him for his grace. This CalPERS says because behind a frowning Providence.
He hides her :-) and in the persecution which hit the church in Jerusalem.
The believers themselves realize that they were buffeted and tossed but God and his purposes was scattering them through Phoenicia and through Cyprus and through NTR and the message up until then was going only to the Jews. But then in verse 20 we read. However, men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks 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. And so the news of this goes back to headquarters to the church in Jerusalem. This was not an immediately welcome story for them because it confronted them with all new departure that they were necessarily ready for up until now, the expansion of the gospel had been Judea steak and almost wholesale lease so but here the word and come back late Greeks now were becoming Christians. This was a new departure who could they send for an encounter such as this is no surprise to us and when the news of this reach the years of the church of Jerusalem. They send Barnabas to Antioch is not everybody in your church can cope with new things is not everyone in your group that is prepared to see God's Spirit at work in different ways. If we have lived our lives channeling the spirit of God into our own concrete little trenches determining this is the where normally the way in which God will work then the day that God expands the banks and process spit it out in a new way and in a new dimension.
There will not be too many of us that will be able to respond to that with a kind of alacrity that was marked hereby. Barnabas, what are we told of him.
Barnabas, when he saw the evidence of the grace of God.
He was glad how many people are there in your congregation who are glad when things are new and things are different. Can you rejoice in you songs and in you hymns or must we only saying those same old hymns.
I love those hymns. I know them off by heart to I have no word to say against them.
Let's sing them and sing them all, but there is more that God is doing some of us who lived a little longer need to realize that as the church moves on into a new generation, while we have an unchanging message. We have a changing world and we have changing times and it's not everybody who can see the evidence of the grace of God and be glad. Are you glad for the evidences of the grace of God you glad when you see young people sing his praise. I preached in Ireland a few years ago.
These are dear and godly people but I share the platform with a bunch of guys that were all old enough to be my dad and some of them to be my grandpa on one particular evening, we didn't have the same people playing the piano in the organ. We had a group of about 25 young people playing all manner of instruments making a right royal hullabaloo down on the right-hand side as I sat on the platform. The hymns sets all manner of beat some of them sounded like Israeli folksongs. Some of them sounded like half-baked pop songs. Some of them sounded like Gloria all knows what not and you know there are at least a couple of men on the platform beside me who refused to sing a note refused to sing and no no and a younger man is not supposed to rebuke an older man, the word of God says that but in the flesh I could gladly have taken the two of them and bang their wooden heads together right there and then right on the platform for what they did not realize was that there from the streets of the trouble torn province of Ulster where young men and women redeemed by the grace of God, they did not come from their background. They did not know their songs they did not come from the out of the chute from which they had a marriage but they were in love with Jesus Christ. It was stinking heart in this tent and on the evening before the final days meetings. I made a dreadful tactical adder.
I said to the chairman. Do you think it would be okay to preach without my jacket on.
He replied we will have a meeting about that and I will let you know this is the gospel truth. They had the meeting and he informed me that it would be inappropriate to take one's jacket off while I was the last to speak.
I spoke on the Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock I was flying at 430 and midway through my message with the perspiration running all down my face.
I took off my jacket and mainstream and I threw it on the old boys chair right beside landed right on his knee, and I preached and I flew and I was gone. And guess what, they invited me back. I might not even wear a necktie just to rattle them up a wee bit where in the world did we get half of this junk were as bad as the Pharisees 10 Commandments and then another 45 that we came up with in the whole 45 of them not worth a hill of beans all added together on no give as a Barnabas. That's what I say give me a Barnabas when he sees the grace of God.
He was glad, and what did he do he encourage them all to remain true to the Lord with all our hearts. That's the kind of encouragement we need is I don't care what age you are, that's what you need. That's what I need I need somebody to encourage me to remain in stay true to the Lord.
How with all my heart that sets us all. I need because that throws itself against me in this wicked world encourages me not to be true not to stay the course to run a lie down into quits to let go of the batten before I finish my life of the really before I get it safely in the hands of the person is to take it from me. I need someone, you need someone to encourage us to stay the course to run the race to finish the tax only in heaven, will it become apparent just how successful Paul was able to be in his earthly ministry as a result of the fact that God initially placed by his sign Barnabas.
We did so desperately need this in our churches. 50% of the marriages in America are falling apart.
Kids are brought up in in in day care centers, lonely people LME do something it does give you just give you all a real scare. Let McCormick or the Beatles. Hey, Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where the wedding is be all look at all those lonely people. Where do they all come from all let all those lonely people. Where do they all belong to you where they belong.
They belong in the church. They belong in the bosom of Jesus. They belong in the embrace of grace and they will not find their way there in a vacuum, but you may be that link the pastor said Sunday morning substitute for the substitute a Barnabas a friend and encourage her in a world that can be so cold when you're down and troubled said James Taylor in the 1960s and you need a helping hand actually was Carol King and nothing know nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest night. You just call out my name and you know wherever I am. I'll come running. Hey any good to know that you've got a friend because people can be so cold though hurt you go dessert you take your soul if you let all now don't you let them get a friend to have any friends or your friend to anyone.
I figure if I have one true friend in the whole world than I am a rich man, poor is the friendless master of the universe. What makes a good friend guy like Barnabas.
He was a good man you know anyone else that was described just as a good man in the New Testament. Check it out. He was a good man.
He was full of the Holy Spirit and he was full of faith God give us more. Mr. and Mrs. Barnabas, son of encouragement. The title of her message today from Alistair Begg your listing to Truth for Life. Alastair returns in a minute to close with prayer.
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Now here's Alastair to close with prayer. Our God and our father we pause in a moment of silence to thank you for those who on the journey of faith to kindness to the place of mercy and redemption.
Some of us think of loved ones who nurture those in the early days of our lives.
Some of is of a business calling on a friend over coffee or neighbor down the street, a schoolteacher, Sunday school teacher. Our lives are literally littered with the evidences of the need for encouragement of the need for friendship, the need for the spirit of Barnabas be reincarnated in our lives, take our lives and let them be consecrated, Lord, to the take our moments and our days and let them flow in ceaseless prey.
For we ask it Christ may be exalted at the church may be encouraged and it's in the name of Jesus we pray and about looking for Alistair Begg. All of us the truth for hope you're having an enjoyable, relaxing, restful weekend, then join us Monday as we continue our new series called jars of Clay. Today's program was furnished by truth for like Learning is for Living