Summary: This is a sermon that shows how Barnabas was an encourager and how we also can be encouragers...
THE ART OF ENCOURAGEMENT
TEXT: Acts 11:19-26 W. Max Alderman
INTRODUCTION: I certainly hope that I am not in error when I call encouragement an art. If this be so, then perhaps the one who encourages is an artist. If his encouragement was a painting, it would be a painting that offers both value and challenge with the mid-tones being contentment. The artist will instruct the new student to put on the mid-tones first before applying the lighter and the darker tones. The mid-tones pull the extremities together. Perhaps it could be said that the encourager pulls the spiritual extremes together. Barnabas was such a person.
1. Barnabas helped the needy saints. (Acts 4:37)
2. Barnabas welcomed an unwelcomed convert. (Paul) (Acts 9:27,28).
3. Barnabas accepted Gentile believers. (Acts 11:23-34)
4. Barnabas enlisted Paul in his work. (Acts 11:25) (Barnabas encouraged Paul to begin the great missionary work that God had called him to do).
5. Barnabas restored a youthful deserter. (John Mark)
Another notable way that Barnabas offered encouragement was:
1. By his faith. (Acts 11)
2. By his friendship. (Acts 11)
3. By his giving. (Acts 2)
4. By his forgiving. (Acts 15:35-41)
We will now examine our Text and notice three things said about Barnabas that I wish could be said about all of us. Someone said that this would make a good funeral sermon for those who lived as Barnabas. I wish to remind you that Barnabas was a “nick name” given to him by the Apostles.
I. BARNABAS WAS A GOOD MAN – a wonderful way to be marked. (Acts 11:24a)
A. His Disposition Was Good. (Acts 4:36) “The son of consolation”
This name carries the meaning of “an encourager”.
While speaking of encouragement, here are some interesting facts about sand-hill cranes: "These large birds, which fly great distances across continents in a "V" formation like geese, have three remarkable qualities. First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out in front all the time. Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence. And third, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are honking their affirmation." (Larson).
This is not a bad model for the church: we all should be honking encouragement to each other.
This is another great illustration of being an encourager: The Boston Marathon is among the world’s best-known races. One of the most infamous portions of the 26-mile, 385-yard course is "Heartbreak Hill." It’s there, along that hill that thousands of spectators gather. They stand and cheer as they see weary runners about to collapse. During one race a young man was near total exhaustion as he approached the foot of Heartbreak Hill. It was doubtful he could go a step farther. About halfway up the hill an older man, who was obviously in better shape, came alongside the younger man, put his arm around him, and spoke quietly to him. Together, step by step, they painstakingly made their way up Heartbreak Hill.
In the Spiritual arena, we will all have our heartbreak hills. May we be sensitive to those about us, even as Barnabas was?
B. His Dedication Was Good. (Acts 4:37)
Barnabas was willing to encourage the church with his giving. He was dedicated to what he believed in. There is no way to calculate how encouraged I have been as your pastor when someone made a sacrificial gift when there was such a great need. Many churches are in decline and demoralized because so many within their membership are selfishly holding on to what they have and not sharing it with the church and the Lord.
II. BARNABAS WAS FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST – a wonderful way to mature. (Acts 11:24b)
A. The Holy Ghost will Direct Our Course.
There is no telling what can be accomplished when we are willing to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. So often we move in a very carnal and fleshly way. We do what we do to receive the credit. We must again remind ourselves… “It is not all about ME – It is about Him!”
Ronald Regan once said, “There is no limit to what one can accomplish, if he doesn’t care who gets the credit”. When you are Spirit led, according to the Word of God, you do not care who gets the Credit. You do all to His glory! The safest and the best way to travel are by being Spirit led. Barnabas was full of the Holy Ghost and he accomplished those things that brought honor to the Lord, not just to himself. Colossians 3:23,24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
B. The Holy Ghost will Develop Our Character. (I Corinthians 2:10-16)