Summary: Barnabas a man of intergrity, generosity and a man willing to develop the gits of others even at his own expense
Story: I once read a story in one of Richard Wurmbrand’s books.
“An elder of a local free Church in Communist Romania was brought before the judge for embezzlement - a crime he had not committed.
His defence lawyer started his defence summation by telling the Court of a well-known story about the man that was circulating around the village.
One day, the man had been attacked while he was taking the church collection home to bank the next day and the thieves made off with all the money.
Fearing for the eternal souls of the thieves, the elder called after them,
“You haven’t stolen the church collection, which I have at home, you have only taken my money and I give it to you freely.”
The Judge stopped the defence lawyer and said: “You don’t seriously believe that nonsense do you?”
The defence lawyer replied: “No”
“Then why are you bringing it up in my court” the judge growled.
The defence lawyer replied:
“My Lord, if someone had tried to start a rumour like
that about you or me, it would never have got off the ground.
The very fact that this rumour could even get off the ground is a testimony to my client’s character.”
And this morning I would like to look at Barnabas, a man with a wonderful Christian character, whose gift of generosity is mentioned at the end of Acts 4
It’s the same sort of character that Jesus wants his followers to have.
A Christian character to go with our Christian profession.
It isn’t easy – but God is more concerned about what is on the inside of us than externals.
I like Barnabas because he is a man of integrity.
In these verses in Acts, he is introduced to us for the first time in the Bible.
What do we know of Barnabas?
It is interesting that hardly anyone knows Barnabas’s real name – it was Joses.
He must have been a larger than life character for the apostles gave him a nickname —Barnabas, which means son of consolation or encouragement.
It comes from the same root as the name often used by the Lord when talking about the Holy Spirit—the Comforter.
Barnabas provided help, encouragement, comfort, and wisdom to those around him.
He was a man described as full of the Holy Spirit – and as such he acted as such in the lives of the apostles.
He was a Jew from the tribe of Levi.
He was a native of the Island of Cyprus.
He played an important role in two churches –
The Church in Jerusalem (the mother church) and The Church in Antioch (the great Missionary church that was Paul’s “sending Church – to use today’s parlance).
I would like to reflect on a few of his character traits this morning
1. Barnabas was a man with a big heart – a generous man
Here in our reading from the book of Acts, we read of him selling off land – presumably in Cyprus from where he came to help the church support those who needed money in the church.
We see Barnabas’s generous heart as he helps the Church in Jerusalem see that Paul really has been converted: