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Summary: Part VI of a six week series demonstrating how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

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BARNABAS: THE ENCOURAGING FRIEND

FULL MANUSCRIPT

By Dr. Rik B. Wadge, Ph.D.

Introduction:

+A 200-year-old church was being readied for an anniversary celebration when calamity struck: the bell ringer was called out of town.

The priest immediately advertised for another.

When the replacement arrived, the priest took him to the steps leading to the bell tower, some 150 feet above them. Round and round they went, huffing and puffing all the way. Just as they reached the landing, the bell ringer tripped and fell face-first into the biggest bell of all. Bo-o-o-o-ong!

Dazed by the blow, the bell ringer stumbled backward onto the landing. The railing broke loose and he fell to the ground. Miraculously, he was unhurt—only stunned—but the sexton thought it best to call an ambulance.

“Do you know this man’s name?” the paramedic asked.

“No,” the Priest replied, “but his face sure rings a bell.” + +

This morning we’re talking about encouragement, let me encourage you to keep your head out of a large bell.

William Barclay writes: +"One of the highest of Christian duties is the duty of encouragement. It’s easy to pour cold water other’s enthusiasm; it’s easy to discourage people. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a Christian on his feet.

Today we’re going to look at Barnabas. + Even the name Barnabas means +encouragement. Lit. +"son of encouragement"

Everything that the New Testament tells us about Barnabas is encouraging.

The proper Definition of Encouragement: +"To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; To give support to; to foster; To stimulate; to spur on."

We’re going to look at 3 separate events in the life of +Barnabas which brought encouragement.

I think we’ll have a better understanding of what it means to be an encourager.

+I. Barnabas Encouraged the Church by his Giving.

Acts 4:36-37

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

Comments:

Poor churches in Asia Minor needed food, and help.

+Acts 20:35 ’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"

+Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.""

Cartoon: Man stands, hat in hand, in pastor’s office. "Hello. I’m here to get personally involved by using all of my gifts in a ministry of sensitivity and extreme sacrifice to challenge a secularized, value-impoverished society with the radical claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Great, the Pastor says, when can you start? I have Thursday afternoons free, from three to four P.M."

Our generation doesn’t have a clue of what it means to sacrificially give in regards to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Scripture tells us that:

+* Giving encourages us to practice unselfishness.

+* Giving keeps us from becoming too attached to material things.

+* Giving models the life that Christ lived.

+* Giving results in eternal rewards.

+* Giving teaches us the value of servanthood.

+* Giving makes us more cheerful, caring people.

+* Giving prompts greater sensitivity toward others.

+* Giving provides an example for others to follow.

Is it any wonder that the apostle Paul wrote that +"God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7b).

Sir John Templeton, founder of the Templeton funds with currently over $15 billion under his stewardship and management. His greatest living legacy is the Templeton Prize and progress in religion. He makes the following observation: +"I have watched 100,000 families over my years of investment counseling. I always saw greater prosperity and happiness among those families who tithed than among those who didn’t. Tithing is simply an outward expression of spiritual growth, and spiritual growth leads to material growth."

* Giving also brings relief and encouragement into the lives of others.

One man wrote: +"The Lord loves a cheerful giver but He’ll even accept it from a grouch!"

+II. Barnabas Encouraged the Church by his Faith.

Acts 9:26-28

+ (Acts 9:26-28 NIV) (Saul)"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. {27} 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. +{28} So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord."

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