Summary: Barnabus. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Acts chapter 11 verses 19-30.


• Anne Mansfield Sullivan had a host of folks telling her:

• That the blind 7 year old brat she was teaching was just not worth it.

• Anne persisted in spite of:

• Temper tantrums, physical abuse, meal time madness, even thankless parents.

• In her heart she knew it was worth the pain:

• Within 2 years the girl was able to read and write in Braille.

• She ultimately graduated from Radcliffe college,

• Where Anne Sullivan had spelled each lecture into her hand.

• The name of that pupil was ’Helen Keller’:

• Who was the American author, activist and lecturer.

• She was also the very first deaf-blind person to graduate from a college.

• Had it not been for the encouragement & pertinence of Anne Mansfield Sullivan;

• Helen Keller would have been a nobody, of little worth.

• And the world would have been robbed of this great woman.

Encouragement is a quality that is so desperately needed to day.

• Ill: Billy Graham “Gift of criticism”.

• “You may have the gift but you did not get it from God!”

This morning we are looking at a man born with the name ‘Joseph’;

• But he had certain qualities that caused the apostles to rename him ‘Barnabus’;

• The name ‘Barnabus’ means "Son of encouragement".

Quote: William Arthur Ward.

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you”.

• This morning we are looking at three character traits that were found in Joseph.

• These are the traits that won him the nickname of Barnabus.

(1). He was a man with a generous spirit.

• There are around 34 referenced to Barnabas in the New Testament;

• All but five of them appear in the Book of Acts.

• The first reference we have is found in Acts chapter 4 verse 36;

• Where Dr Luke the author of the author of the Book of Acts,

• Has been writing about the incredible sense of community and fellowship;

• That existed amongst the first Christians.

• People were sharing their excess or surplus wealth;

• With others in the church who were in need.

• Dr Luke then decides he wants to give a specific example of generosity;

• And he chooses Barnabus.

“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. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There 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 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

In these few verses we are given an insight into Barnabus’ nature:

• We are told that Barnabus sold a parcel of land;

• And with the money he gave it away to meet the needs of the poor.

• He was a man with a generous spirit


• A local charity decided to call on a wealthy businessman;

• And to ask him for a large financial donation.

• The man had a reputation for being a bit like scrooge.

• And he was not pleased to see the man from the charity.

• The man was a bit miffed by the charity person and said;

• “Money, money, money, everybody wants my money!”

• “Do you know that;

• I have a widowed mother who has no other means of support but me?"

• “No”, the person from the charity replied,

• “We did not know that”.

• "Did you know that I have a sister who was left by a drunken husband ;

• With five children and no means to provide for them?"

• “No”, they said, “we did not know that either”.

• "Did you know also that I have a brother who was crippled by an automobile accident;

• And can never work another day to support his wife and family?"

• Embarrassingly, they responded,

• “No sir, we did not know that either”.

• "Well," he thundered triumphantly,

• "I’ve never given any of them a cent so why should I give anything to you?"

Unlike that man, Barnabus was a man with a generous spirit:

• The New Testament teaches that every Christian should give;

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