Summary: Barnabas had an effective ministry in Antioch and surrounding areas. He had an amazing impact on people's lives. This sermon examines why?
We Need Barnabas Christians!
February 7, 2016
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Acts 11:21-24 – “And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.”
Nothing hurts the cause of Christ more than Christians who are hypocrites. More harm has been done to the name of Christ by hypocrites than all the persecutors in history combined A Christian with a good testimony, an intense love for God and a loving, Christlike spirit may not always be popular, but he will be respected and listened to.
The Bible is tragically filled with the stories men and women with sullied testimonies. Yes, we remember DAVID for his victories and his beautiful psalms, but rarely do we think of David that we don’t also recall his adulterous sin with Bathsheba. We remember PETER in the book of Acts who boldly proclaimed the name of Christ. – Yet his denial of Jesus before Calvary is indelibly imprinted in our minds.
But today’s text tells us of a man who had an unsullied testimony throughout the book of Acts. His name is BARNABAS.
This is not the first time we’re introduced to Barnabas in the book of Acts. We first heard of him in chapter 4 which we examined several months ago. When persecution arose in the church in Jerusalem, Barnabas sold his land and gave it to the church to be distributed to help other believers in their distress. So he had a generous heart.
We saw him again in chapter 9. There, Saul had just been converted and when he came to Jerusalem, the disciples feared him greatly. They avoided him out of fear that his conversion might be a ruse to get intelligence about the leaders of the Jerusalem church so they could be captured and killed. But Barnabas stepped forward and befriended Saul when no one else would, and introduced him to the believers in Jerusalem—a crucial step in Saul’s spiritual development.
Now in chapter 11, we see that Barnabas had a very successful and effective ministry. You may never be a preacher like Barnabas, but surely, if you’re truly born again into God’s family, you want to serve God, and want to make a difference in people’s lives—to influence them to come to faith in Christ, or to turn back to God if they are away from Him.
What was Barnabas’s secret? Why was he able to make a difference in people’s lives spiritually? Today let’s put the spotlight on Barnabas and see what his life and ministry can teach us.
I. FIRST, NOTE THAT BARNABAS HAD A FAVORABLE TESTIMONY.
The first part of verse 24 says “For he was a good man.” I think one secret of Barnabas’s effectiveness is in that little phrase. In order to really make a difference in people’s lives spiritually, you must have INTEGRITY in your life to back up what you confess with your lips.
Here he was teaching and preaching to the people. But how effective could he have been if he preached on right living, but lived in open, unconfessed sin himself? How could people believe him if he were a hypocrite?
The first step to service is always integrity of life. Before God can use you, you must have a good testimony. Barnabas DIDN’T just TALK about the Christian life—he LIVED it!
Illus. – I had the joy of winning a man and his wife to the Lord in our church in Bicester, England where I pastored for seven years. He had made a profession of faith and was growing in Christ. There were a number of radical changes he made in his life, but a couple of things he struggled with for a whole longer was his temper and his language.
With God’s grace, his coworkers began to notice a difference: he didn’t blow up under stress any more and his speech no longer contained profanities. One of his coworkers noticed it and asked him if he had “gotten religion” and he replied, “No, I found Christ as a my Savior.” He began sharing with others about Christ and inviting them to church. Some were receptive because they had grown up in church and knew they should be in church.