Summary: We are called by God to be encouraging and edifying to the body of Christ!
Date Written: July 18, 2006
Date Preached: July 19, 2006
Where Preached: OZHBC (Wed - PM Service)
Series Title: Basic Bible Study
Sermon Title: Are You an Encourager?
Sermon Text: Acts 4:34-37
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 4:34-37 (NASB)
Here we are introduced to one of the most influential members of the early church in Jerusalem. He is introduced by his given name, but then we are quickly told about his nickname, Barnabas.
He was called Barnabas by the apostles because of his spirit and actions in the church. He was an encouragement to all who served Christ. The Bible illustrates one example of his ability to encourage the faithful in his generosity.
But we find that God had placed Barnabas here not simply for his generosity but for what he could do to encourage those who were working in the kingdom.
Throughout Scripture we can see the character of Barnabas being revealed…
1. In Acts 11, we read that he was a righteous man, full of the Holy Spirit and he had the respect of those who served with him…
2. In Acts 13, we read that Barnabas was called by God out of the congregation to be a partner with Paul in sharing the Gospel of Jesus with the Gentiles…
3. In Acts 14, we read that Barnabas was humble as the people desired to worship him and Paul… but they refused this adoration and insisted they worship the God who empowered their ministry…
4. We find all throughout the book of Acts and the NT that Barnabas was one who saw the potential in those around him, 2 of the most influential people in the NT were encouraged by Barnabas’ vision for their potential in Christ…
We know that after Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus that he was in a difficult situation. He had left the service of the Temple and Chief Priest, but no one from the church wanted to trust that Paul had really changed.
Barnabas was one of the 1st in the church who saw the potential in Paul… the potential that Christ had illuminated on the road to Damascus… and in Acts 9:26-28 we read how Barnabas went out and brought Paul to the disciples and defended his ministry!
26 When he 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. 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and 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. 28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.
Acts 9:26-28 (NASB)
The bottom line here is that Barnabas saw Christ in Paul and believed that God had changed his life and believed that Paul had been called by God to preach to the Gentiles… Barnabas believed in Paul when NO ONE else would…
We also see another situation that ironically involved Paul as well… Barnabas and Paul strongly disagreed on the inclusion of a certain man to come on their 2nd missionary journey.
Paul did not want this man to come because he had abandoned them on their 1st journey. Barnabas believed that this man had changed and he wanted him to come and be a part of the ministry and believed that God could and would work through him.
This man was John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark. Paul had lost faith in Mark because of his immature approach to the ministry on their 1st journey, but Barnabas had not lost faith… Barnabas believed in Mark and that God could and would use him in a great way.
The disagreement was so strong that Barnabas was willing to separate from Paul and take Mark with him on another separate missionary journey. Barnabas was a great encouragement to Mark in his time of trial.
This evening I want to ask you a question. Do you see potential in a member of our church? Have you come along side of them to encourage them and lift them up in the kingdom?