Summary: Looks at the Characteristics that Barnabas had and encourages us to live our lives with those characteristics so we might use your gifts in an extraordinary way.
Barnabas – Encourager Extraordinaire
Last week we began a new series called from Ordinary to extraordinary. We saw how God took someone who was no leader at all and used him to lead a great victory that God orchestrated.
Now God is not going to make everyone into such a leader, because after all if everyone was a leader like that, who would follow, but I do believe we are all called to be leaders in some capacity, perhaps not leading hundreds or thousands, but
by being a leader in our families,
by being a leader in setting an example,
by being a leader in using our gifts.
The man I want to talk about today was such a leader.
He was not a leader so much in leading an army or any type of organization, but he was an ordinary person who used the gifts God gave him and it had extraordinary effects.
This man’s name is Joseph and he was a Levite from Cyprus.
Joseph? If you are not sure you know who Joseph is, you may know him better by the nickname they used to call him, Barnabas.
We are first introduced to Barnabas in
Acts 4:36-37 (p. 773)
We are going to looking at Barnabas throughout the book of Acts as we trace his life and the use of his gifts and talk about the effects he had on others and the effects he had upon the kingdom of God by the use of his gifts.
So let’s read
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),
Here we find that the name, Barnabas, means Son of encouragement.
We see in several places that people where often known as the son of their father.
We see that Peter, before his name was changed was known as Simon son of Jonah (Matthew 16:17) (in the KJV it is Simon barjonah).
It was a way to indicate better who a person was.
For Joseph from Cyprus, whose son he was not a fact that distinguished him from other Josephs, it was the fact that he was such an encouragement.
Can you imagine if we were all known by a prominent character trait instead of our name?
Would it be positive or negative?
Remember, it is others who are giving this name.
I am sure that some of us could think of people that might be known as
Bar whiner or
Bar negative attitude
Maybe some would be known as a
Son of Gossip or
Son of a liar
I am sure that not everyone would be known by a negative character trait.
I am sure there are some that you can think of that have such a strong spiritual gift in their life that they might be known in accordance with it
Maybe you can see someone who has a strong spiritual gift of giving that they would be known as
Son of Generosity or
Son of mercy or
Son of Servant because they are such great servants
Some may even be known like Joseph from Cypress, as Barnabas, Son of encouragement.
Ok, so what?
We all have a spiritual gift. We all use our gift, but I don’t see anything extraordinary happening through me.
What is so extraordinary about using a spiritual gift?
Well, it could be nothing if we don’t really use it and exercise it.
It is like a muscle.
We all have muscles, but if we don’t exercise it, our muscles become so weak that we, as well as others, may wonder if we have any muscles at all.
The same is true for spiritual gifts. If we don’t use them and exercise them, nothing extraordinary at all will happen through us.
But when we use what God has given us to the utmost, as Barnabas did, then we can truly have extraordinary eternal effects.
What extraordinary effects did Barnabas have?
I want to propose that without Barnabas, we would not have over half of the New Testament.
How can I say that?
It is because Barnabas used his gift of encouragement that
Paul was able to become the person he was and write 13 books of the New Testament and
it was because of his encouragement that
John Mark became useful to Paul and Peter and the Lord and was able to give us the gospel of Mark.
He encouraged both of these men and was there for them when no one else was.
So this morning, I want to take a look at Barnabas and see some of the characteristic traits of this man and how those characteristic traits helped him use his gifts and can help us use our gift in an extraordinary way.
The first character trait we see in Barnabas, from the Scripture we read in Acts 4, was that