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Barnabas: Encouragement     Acts 11:19-30     July 13, 2008

In an earlier lesson we gained the knowledge that the name Barnabas means encourager. All of his ministry seems to illustrate the truth of his name. Did the name cause that? I do believe what a child is called will influence the child. I knew a couple who referred to one of there children as dummy. Guess how this child acted in his teen years. We need to give our children names, or nick names that encourage them. I believe the name Barnabas encouraged him, and his gifts from God, enabled him to be just that; an encourager.

1. Barnabas: Encouragement The Church . . Sent Confidently. 11:19-22

A. Confident To Send With The . . Persecution Of Christians. 11:19
19 Those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made
their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one except Jews.

B. Confident To Send With The . . Propagation Of Christians. 11:20-22
20 But there were some of them, Cypriot and Cyrenian men, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Hellenists, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 Then the report about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch.

        The early church received great persecution. The Lord used this to scatter His people. As they went they immediately shared the message of Christ with strict Jewish people. But then some became bold enough to share with Hellenistic Jews and this caused some concern. Who does the church send when such concerns arise? The early church sent Barnabas to check out the situation and report back. Every church needs men and ladies they can trust to handle such concerns. Every church needs people like Barnabas.

2. Barnabas: Encouragement The Church . . Shared Confidently. 11:23-26

A. Confident To Share Because Of The . . Needs Of Christians. 11:23
23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he encouraged all of them to
remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart--

B. Confident To Share Because Of The . . Nature Of Barnabas. 11:24-26
24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith--and large numbers of people were
added to the Lord. 25 Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul, 26 and when he found him he brought
him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers, and the disciples
were first called Christians in Antioch.

        Barnabas encouraged the new Christians to be firm in the faith. New Christians may receive a variety of opposing thoughts and threats. They need to be encouraged and the church shared Barnabas with them. They shared him because of the church's need, and the nature of Barnabas. Note the qualities he possessed as we are told this about his nature: "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." How does God use such a man? Large numbers were added to the Lord. Does this affirm God's approval of Barnabas? He does not get the big head, but seeks to find Paul to share in this opportunity. He wanted Paul because he needed him and Paul needed this experience.

3. Barnabas: Encouragement The Church And The . . Spirit Confirmed. 11:27-30

A. Spirit confirmed Through The . . Prophets Of God. 11:27
27 In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.

B. Spirit confirmed Through The . . Predictions Of The Prophets Of God. 11:28
28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a
severe famine throughout the Roman world. This took place during the time of Claudius.

C. Spirit confirmed Through The . . Participation Of Barnabas And Saul. 11:29-30
29 So each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers who
lived in Judea. 30 This they did, sending it to the elders by means of Barnabas and Saul. HCSB

        God sent other ministers to help Paul and Barnabas. These men where considered prophets, and they boldly proclaimed and revealed truth from God. One of these men made the prediction of severe famine in the land. It is said he did this by the Spirit. What is the test of such a prediction? Note the words, "This took place during the time of Claudius." What might be the most authoritative way a brother or sister would be affirmed in their character? Other people trust them with their money! This church sent their gifts to Judea through Paul and Barnabas. This further confirmed the Spirit's leading in the life of Barnabas , and Paul.