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Summary: Everybody needs a Barney sometimes!

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Portraits of a Paraclete

Acts 4:36-37; 9:19-30; 11:19-26

Everybody needs a “Barney”!

Fred Flintstone, that three fingered cartoon character of television’s first animated prime-time series, and now spokesperson for children’s vitamins and cereal, had a Barney. Barney Rubble, the next door neighbor who was always accompanying Fred. Whenever Fred went off on one of his hairbrained schemes, faithful Barney stayed right with him.

Barney Fife was the overeager sidekick to Sheriff Andy Taylor. Barney was the bumbling idiot that Andy had to keep pulling out of trouble. Don Knotts was on The Andy Griffith Show for five years and won five Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Barney. When Don Knotts left the show to pursue a movie career, many people say that the program just wasn’t the same anymore. Barney may have been bumbling, but he gave Andy sometime to do besides sitting around the sheriff’s office.

Everybody needs a “Barney”! Even if your Barney is a six-foot tall purple dinosaur, our Barney friends have a way of getting into our heart as they stand beside us.

Today we are going to introduce you to a “Barney” in the New Testament. This Barney came alongside the church in such special ways that Christianity was changed forever! Without this Barney, there would be no Ananias and Sapphira, who cheated God and were killed. Without this Barney, there would be no Gospel of Mark in your Bible, In fact, if this Barney had not done what he did to come alongside of others, you would not have any books from Romans through Philemon, because the Apostle Paul would not have been accepted by the Believers. All because of Barney!

There is a wonderful word given us in the New Testament about what a friend really is.

A Paraclete is one who is called alongside to help.

I want to highlight for you five ways this “Barney” was called alongside to help others and how that you can be a paraclete.

A Paraclete is a Provider

Acts 4:32-37

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.

34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales

35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36 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.

(NIV)

His given name was Joseph, just an ordinary follower of Jesus, who was so greatly used by God to provide for the needs of others that the Church gave him the nickname, “Barnabas”, meaning “son of Encouragement”. God called him alongside to share what he had been blessed with. In this case, there was a need for money. We don’t know how long Barnabas had owned the land he sold, or what his intensions were for the land. All we know is that Barnabas saw a need, saw e ad something he could contribute to help with the need, and simply did it!

Even though God can create something out of nothing, He chooses to use paracletes whom He has blessed in order that they might be a blessing to others.

A couple of weekends ago, we held a State Men’s retreat, which some of our men got to attend. As we dreamed about this event last summer, the Lord put it into our hearts that this Men’s Retreat needed to be offered to the men of our state at a low cost. The monies needed for the quality of program we desired would have to be found outside the registrations and outside the budget of the state. God put it into our hearts to ask some businessmen if they would contribute to the cause. Because God placed the burden on one man’s heart, even though he could not attend the Retreat himself, he handed us a large gift. He told us how God had provided exactly the amount of his gift on the day we had first asked him.

Maybe you know of a need and you cannot get it off your heart. Maybe God has already provided you the means whereby you can meet that need. You’ve been blessed to be a blessing! What are you waiting for?

Who has God called you alongside for whom you can become a provider?

A Paraclete is a Protector

Acts 9:19-30

23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,

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