Barnabas leaves us a tremendous example of how and why we should encourage others. In this sermon, we review three points on encouraging others.
These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.
Many of us have nicknames. Some are shortened versions of our regular name. My birth name is Edward. Some call me “Ed”, or “Eddie”. My wife can tell how long someone has known me based on what they call me. Some have nicknames like “Sissy”. “Bugsy”. “Freckles.” “Bones.” Most of us have had nicknames in the past. Let’s read about an example of this in scripture. Acts 4:36 Acts 4:36And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
American King James Version×Vs. 36 – Joses is a shortened form of “Joseph”. This guy was given the nickname “Barnabas”, meaning “son of encouragement.” That is a pretty cool nickname. Colossians 4:10 Colossians 4:10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salutes you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom you received commandments: if he come to you, receive him;)
American King James Version×Perhaps Barnabas and Mark were cousins. In any case, Barnabas became a great encourager for Mark. Barnabas means encouragement or exhortation. Some are called Slim, or Four Eyes, or Freckles. Names based on characteristics of our face or body. But Barnabas has the name “encouragement”. Wouldn’t it be cool to be called “Peaceful guy”? Or “Old wise one?” Or “Mrs. Friendly”? Wouldn’t it be cool if we had names like that? A few weeks ago, we talked about leaders. We said they were those that had the ability to influence others. A leader can encourage others.
Today, I will give three points on why we should encourage others. God wants us to encourage others. God used Barnabas in great ways. It is important that we encourage others. In difficult times and in happy times. 1. We should encourage for growth. The early history of the first century church was a history of change. Many were added to the church. There were powerful personal examples. But it was also a time of great persecutions. Families were ripped apart. A time of great trial and persecution. Acts 7:2-3 Acts 7:2-3  And he said, Men, brothers, and fathers, listen; The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelled in Charran,
 And said to him, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and come into the land which I shall show you.
American King James Version×, 52-53, 57-58 Stephen was one of the first deacons ordained. He made this statement to the Jews and the High Priest. Vs. 3 – In the rest of the chapter, Stephen recounts the history of Israel. Yet the Jews rebelled against God in spite of the blessings. Vs. 52 – He accused them. Vs. 57 – Stephen was powerfully calling this group of leaders on the carpet for their wrongdoing. They had had enough. Acts 8:3 Acts 8:3As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
American King James Version×Vs. 3 – Imagine what people thought of Saul at this time. If someone did that today, they would not be well like. He was breaking up families. He was hauling some to prison and killing others. The church was trying to follow the example of Christ, but Saul was creating havoc.
Acts 9:1-2 Acts 9:1-2  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
American King James Version×Vs. 2 – Saul went to the leaders and asked for the authority that anyone that follows this Christ guy, I can just haul them to prison. He wanted them gone. He sought the authority to do that. Saul ends up having a conversation with Christ. He is blinded. He is healed. He is converted. He is baptized. He receives the spirit. He becomes a new man. Acts 9:26-27 Acts 9:26-27  And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
American King James Version×Vs. 26 – No duh. He did all these bad things to people and families. Here he is converted. He has God’s spirit. He is baptized. He is trying to live right now. Vs. 27 – Can you imagine being there, and having a father or son taken from you at the hand of Saul, and then he shows up wanting to be included. Barnabas was very good at encouraging. He stood up for Saul. He said that he is a different man now. As we encourage people toward growth, we should not put them in a box. We need to encourage them to growth. Encouragers don’t put people in a box and leave them. I remember how rowdy he was as a kid; now he is an adult and must be the same way. Encouragers don’t profile people and leave them in a box and put duct tape on it. Maybe you have seen some grow up here locally. You’ve had them for sleepovers when they were kids; now they are grown. Don’t keep them in a box. We won’t always be the snotty nosed little kid that did all that at church. They have the same potential we all do. Barnabas saw how God had worked with Saul. Barnabas was there saying, let this one in. This one has change. God is working with him. We must encourage growth.
Ephesians 4:22-24 Ephesians 4:22-24  That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
American King James Version×Vs. 24 – This is proof in the pudding that God wants us to grow. We should encourage others to grow. God doesn’t want the old man. He wants us to build toward godly character. He wants the old man dead and buried. That is part of the purpose of baptism. God wants us to change, to grow. We should support others in that process of growth. Tell them that it is great when they change, or when they come across scriptures and new understanding of them. It is wrong of us not to expect people to grow, to change, to overcome. People will grow up. Despite the bricks you put on their shoulders, kids grow up. Likewise, the more we pray and study, the more we grow. Get rid of the box we put people in and allow them to grow. Get rid of the memories of the past. 1 Peter 2:1-2 1 Peter 2:1-2  Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:
American King James Version×I’m sure most of us have been around infants. Literally 1/3 of us are under 18. Babies like to grow. Despite what we feed them, they grow. Before we moved out here, one of my nephews, Dalen, learned to crawl. Little babies are fearless. They try to crawl, and then they face plant on the carpet. They get up and do it again. I remember our boys learning to walk. They pick up the foot but then they are off balance. Kids fall on their face or sit down on their bottom, but they are right back up wanting to go again. Babies like to eat. Teenagers like to eat. I like to eat. We should encourage others toward growth. Get rid of the boxes. Throw it out with the trash. Encourage them. 2. Encourage for potential. Saul at this point is Paul. Both Paul and Barnabas are considered apostles.
Acts 14:14 Acts 14:14Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
American King James Version×Acts 15:36-40 Acts 15:36-40  And some days after Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brothers in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do.  And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.  But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.  And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus;  And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brothers to the grace of God.
American King James Version×Vs. 36 – Noble idea. At the time, the apostles were roving ministers. They roamed the countryside visiting people. They had already been on one tour; now they wanted to go back on another. Vs. 38 – Paul said, no we aren’t taking Mark; he abandoned us last time. Paul put Mark in this box. He left us one time; not again. Vs. 40 – Contention arose between Paul and Barnabas. They did the work, but they had two different ways to carry it out. Barnabas saw the potential in Mark. That potential was able to grow. Barnabas wanted to continue teaching young Mark. 2 Timothy 4:11 2 Timothy 4:11Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
American King James Version×Here, Paul ate his words. He swallowed crow. He realized that year later, Mark had become valuable to him. Barnabas was up on Mark’s potential. Mark grew until Paul wanted him. Paul sent for Mark. It is important to encourage people to their potential. We all know things thanks to God’s spirit that many in the world don’t realize.
John 14:2 John 14:2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
American King James Version×“Mansions” here is a poor translation. The Greek word is “mone”. It means a place where one may remain or dwell. G3438 μονή monē mon-ay' From G3306; a staying, that is, residence (the act or the place): - abode, mansion. Thayer Definition: 1) a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode 2) to make an (one’s) abode 3) metaphorically of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers Part of Speech: noun feminine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G3306 Citing in TDNT: 4:579, 581 So Christ says, “In my Father’s house, there are many places to dwell." “Place” is from Greek “topos” meaning an opportunity. G5117 τόπος topos top'-os Apparently a primary word; a spot (generally in space, but limited by occupancy; whereas G5561 is a larger but particular locality), that is, location (as a position, home, tract, etc.); figuratively condition, opportunity; specifically a scabbard: - coast, licence, place, X plain, quarter, + rock, room, where.
Thayer Definition: 1) place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space 1a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district 1b) a place (passage) in a book 2) metaphorically 2a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly 2b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting Part of Speech: noun masculine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: apparently a primary word Citing in TDNT: 8:187, 1184 Jesus Christ is preparing an opportunity for us to dwell in the house of God. This is the potential of us and all humanity. God will create these opportunities. There is room enough for everyone. The potential we have is incredible. We should encourage each other to that. Things are tough this week, but don’t forget about the potential. There is a great thing that will happen in the future; I know you want to be there. Remind them of our great potential. Ephesians 2:19-22 Ephesians 2:19-22  Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
 And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord:
 In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
American King James Version×Vs. 19 – This is our potential. We are not strangers and foreigners. We are on the inside, where it is toasty, roasting marshmallows, maybe. Vs. 22 – This is our potential. We should remind others all the time about being in God’s family and being with Him. It is interesting that God gives the same potential to everyone. Teens, preteens, those not baptized, we all have the same potential. God wants us in His family. It is available to all regardless of age. That is not true in the world. If you hire in as a janitor, you can’t expect to ever be CEO. Or even in the top echelon of the company. But in God’s system, everyone has an opportunity for the top jobs. There are other places that say we will be priests and teachers and counselors. Encouragers, you might say.
1 Peter 1:3-4 1 Peter 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
American King James Version×Vs. 4 – Have you ever thought about your reward – your crown – being reserved for you? Think of it like a restaurant. You’ve made a reservation. They put a plaque on the table; no one else can sit there. Ever thought about your entrance to the God family being reserved for you? It is. Jeans fade. Cars rust. Their engines rust. Humans age; their organs fail. We all die. But our reward does not fade. It is reserved in heaven. This is a great way to encourage others. The potential God has for us does not fade. Quite a contrast to this society. The potential we have is a perfect promise that God will keep to those that are faithful to Him. 3. Encourage others to remain. Let’s continue the story of Barnabas. Acts 11:21-23 Acts 11:21-23  And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.  Then tidings of these things came to the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would hold to the Lord.
American King James Version×Vs. 21 – Vast amounts of people committed themselves to God. Vs. 22 – It is interesting that of any of the apostles they could have sent, they sent Barnabas, the son of encouragement. Unless you are up on your history and geography, Jerusalem to Antioch is meaningless. The distance is like 300 miles; like from here to Dallas. They didn’t just send him around the corner. Not just to Aunt Sally’s house. They sent him 300 miles to encourage a group of new converts. Vs. 23 – “They should continue with” is one Greek word. It is used only 6 times. It means to remain or to abide. G4357 προσμένω prosmenō pros-men'-o From G4314 and G3306; to stay further, that is, remain in a place, with a person; figuratively to adhere to, persevere in: - abide still, be with, cleave unto, continue in (with).
Thayer Definition: 1) to remain with, to continue with one 2) to hold fast to: the grace of God received in the Gospel 3) to remain still, tarry, stay Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G4314 and G3306 Citing in TDNT: 4:579, 581 Let’s replace the English words with that translation. He encouraged them that they should remain. That they should grab hold and not let go. The KJV says, “To cleave unto.” To remain. To abide. We talked about the anchor. We talked about a buoy in the water, and how many limbs to wrap around it. We should be encouraging others to remain. Barnabas encouraged others with everything they had to remain. He encouraged them to be steadfast. That is a great theme for each of us to do. They should stand fast despite the financial and health concerns. We should talk to others about remaining and being steadfast. We should encourage them to abide in God. To cleave to God. To persevere. To be steadfast.
Revelation 3:11 Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×This is from the letter to Philadelphia. Hold fast what you have. Whether God gives us a literal crown, or it is symbolic, we must hold it fast. We must keep our fingers tight on that crown. We must remind each other why we are here and what is in store for all of us. The Sabbath is a great time to talk about that. To brainstorm what the future will be like. It gets our mind off ourselves and on to God. Practice being an encourager. Remember we are leaders by influence. How are we influencing others? Let’s use some of that influence to encourage others. Life is not always easy. We have difficulties. It is easy to lose our focus and have our vision shifted off the kingdom of God. I’ve worked for hard bosses that cause you to shift your focus. Let’s remember as we contact each other through the week, to encourage each other to stand fast. It is not natural to talk about these things. How are you? Oh, great. Let me tell you about my week. We love to talk about ourselves. Let’s pray that God will help us realize when the person we are talking to needs encouragement. They may say their week was okay, but it was the pits of their life. We have more than enough people in this congregation to take care of this. Take the time to listen to what people are saying. God expects us to think of the other person and to have compassion for them. Pray that we will know when they need help. Pray that we can conduct all our affairs as an encourager. Someone comes up to you and says what you said last week was so encouraging. You don’t remember what you said. But you can thank God that you were encouraging. God is able to inspire you so that the other person can be encouraged. We should be wiling participants in that process.
Romans 15:4-6 Romans 15:4-6  For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
 That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×Vs. 5 – “Comfort” is “encouragement” in Greek. G3874 παράκλησις paraklēsis par-ak'-lay-sis From G3870; imploration, hortation, solace: - comfort, consolation, exhortation, intreaty. Thayer Definition: 1) a calling near, summons, (especially for help) 2) importation, supplication, entreaty 3) exhortation, admonition, encouragement 4) consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment 4a) thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter) 5) persuasive discourse, stirring address 5a) instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse Part of Speech: noun feminine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G3870 Citing in TDNT: 5:773, 778 Not only is our God a God of patience, He is a God of encouragement. We are to be like God. If nothing else, we should be encouragers because that is what God is. We should be of one mind and one mouth toward others living in Christ Jesus. Barnabas had the nickname “encourager”. What a great nickname! Let’s encourage others to remain. To be there when some need a helping hand. Encourage others toward that great potential we all have. Let’s use our influence to encourage.