Summary: This sermon was used for friends Sunday, we asked members to invite their friends. Uses Barnabas as an example of friendship, and invites people to make Jesus their friend.

Video Clip of Anne of Green Gables "Will you promise to be my secret bosom friend?"

I think all of us have a desire to have a bosom friend, one who sticks with you through thick and thin. But my dad always told me that if you want friends you’ve got to be friendly, that’s what I’d like to talk about today, and I’d like to use an example from the Bible--the guy we just read about--a guy who was so friendly he earned the nickname encourager

Proposition: I think that the life of Barnabas is a great example of what it truly means to be a friend to others.

Interrogative: So we need to ask ourselves, "What was it about his life that earned him that friendly nickname?"

Transition: As we look at the snapshots of His life presented throughout the book of acts we’ll discover a number of things that Barnabas did that truly demonstrate what friendship is all about. The first thing is found in the passage we just read, in which Barnabas shows us that a friend is one who...

I. Sacrifices for Others

Acts 4:36-37 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

This was at least one of the acts that earned Barnabas his name, He sold a property that belonged to him and gave the money to the church to care for its poorer members. That’s putting teeth into your encouragement. And this is the foundation of what it means to be a real friend, it’s the divider between fair weather friends and true friends. A genuine friend helps out even when it comes at great personal cost.

ILLUSTRATION On the 19th of November 1967, in the vicinity of Dak To, Viet Nam Chaplain Charlie Waters was moving with one of the companies of his Battalion when it engaged a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged and the casualties mounted, Chaplain Waters, with complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact. Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of the advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation, giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying. When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting forces, Chaplain Waters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders and carried him to safety. At least 6 more times Chaplain Waters went outside the perimeter to rescue wounded soldiers, exposing himself to both friendly and enemy fire. Chaplain Waters was giving aid to the wounded when he himself was mortally wounded. [from CH Waters’ Medal of Honor Citation]

On that day chaplain Waters was a true model of friendship, he made the ultimate sacrifice for the men he cared about.

The next mark of friendship we see in the life of Barnabas is that he...

II. Seeks the Best in Others

In Acts Chapter 9 we meet up with Barnabas again. A man named Saul had experienced a radical conversion, this man who once had persecuted and executed Christians had now become a Christian himself, but he was having a little trouble gaining acceptance among his former enemies.

Acts 9:26-27 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Saul the former Christian Killer was being shunned by the church, but Barnabas, the encourager, takes him by the hand and brings him to the leaders and says let me tell you about the change in my brother Saul.

A true friend sees good in us that others can’t. They encourage others by saying, "I believe in you"

ILLUSTRATION JACKIE ROBINSON was the first African American to play baseball in the major leagues. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced hostile crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to jeer him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the crowd booed. Then, without saying a word, shortstop Pee Wee Reese went over and stood next to Jackie. He put his arm around him and faced the crowd. Suddenly the fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

Pee Wee Reese was a true friend that day--the one who stood up and said "I believe in this man"

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