Summary: This sermon examines Barnabas's character as an encourager, his generosity, and his obedience to God and challenges God's people to emulate him.

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Barnabas—Little Man, Big Deeds

Series: Acts

Chuck Sligh

January 25, 2015

NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request by emailing me at

TEXT: Acts 4:31-37 – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”


History books are filled with the deeds and accomplishments of mighty kings and generals and scholars and discoverers who made history. These are the ones we usually read about in the history books.

But some great things have happened that might NOT have happened were it not for some unknown, obscure person about whom we hear little about thereafter.

Illus. – During the first winter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s settlement at Plymouth, the Pilgrims were in bad shape. They had no food, and they didn't know how to hunt; they seemed doomed. Had it not been for an Indian named Squanto—who taught them how to hunt and fish and raise crops in the spring—the Pilgrims might never have survived! They did—because of an Indian about whom we never hear anything again. History records all the great things that happened with the colonists after that, but the story of Squanto is pretty much just a footnote of history.

Likewise, throughout the Bible, certain GIANTS of men and women stand out as uniquely used by the Lord, and their names and deeds are recorded in the Bible’s Hall of Fame. If you’ve been around church for any time at all, you’d recognize their names—like Abraham, Moses, Esther, Ruth, David, Jeremiah, Elijah, Daniel, Mary, Peter, James, and Paul.

But there’s a second tier of notables that we usually don’t pay too much attention to. Timothy, Silas, Dorcas, Aquilla and Priscilla come immediately to mind. Often they seem to be footnotes to the story of the great men and women we’re told about in the Bible.

But like Squanto, the biblical story would not have unfolded as it did but for the deeds of these people whom we might call “second team players.”

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