Barnabas Son of encouragement - Part 2

SERMON TOPIC: Barnabas Son of encouragement - Part 2

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 20 August 2023

Topic Groups: MENTORSHIP, ENCOURAGEMENT, DISCIPLESHIP

Sermon synopsis: The word “mentor” is defined as “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”
Scripture gives us numerous examples of mentoring. A disciple is someone who follows a mentor, role model or teacher.
Hence the followers of Jesus call him Rabbi (teacher).


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BARNABAS – SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Part 2

SUPPORT MINISTRY

Barnabas is one of the best examples of supporting ministry. He didn’t need to be in the spotlight - he was content to work behind the scenes.

We don’t have a single recorded word of Barnabas. He was satisfied to work in the shadow of Paul and to allow him to be the spokesperson.

Yet his impact was immense through his influence and encouragement of both Paul and John Mark in their early ministry years.

The word “mentor” is defined as “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”

Scripture gives us numerous examples of mentoring. A disciple is someone who follows a mentor, role model or teacher.

Hence the followers of Jesus call him Rabbi (teacher).

MENTORING

Most people who have been greatly used of God have, at some point, received guidance, wisdom and mentoring from another more mature person. There was someone who was prepared to invest time and effort into their life because of the potential they saw in them.

Throughout Scripture we have examples of men who started out by being a supporting ministry, as God prepared them for ministries of their own.

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

Motivating and inspiring

How many of you have heard of Robert Moffat?

In 1807 when he was only 12, he was at church in Scotland. After the offering, the boy stepped into the offering plate. When asked what he was doing, he replied, “I’m giving my whole self to Jesus!”

At 20 years old, he became a missionary to Africa.

Motivating and inspiring

For more than 50 years Moffat and his wife took Jesus to the Tswana people and the bushmen.

In 1835, Robert Moffat was back in Scotland looking for people to come and assist in what was then called “the dark continent”.

As he spoke, he told them, “Many a morning I have stood on the porch of my house, and looking northward, have seen the smoke arise from villages that have never heard of Jesus Christ. I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages—villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world ... The smoke of a thousand villages ...”

THE SMOKE OF A THOUSAND VILLAGES

In the audience that day was a young Scot who was studying to be a doctor and had decided to give his life to the service of God, but where and how he was not sure.

He listened to Moffat’s story, and never forgot those words - “the smoke of a thousand villages.”

THE SMOKE OF A THOUSAND VILLAGES

The young man was David Livingstone, who became the most famous missionary to Africa, a renowned explorer, and fierce opponent of the slave trade.

But he was initially inspired by the words of the more obscure missionary - Robert Moffat.

As mentors, we need to motivate and inspire others to greatness.

DAVID LIVINGSTONE

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

Encouraging

Paul is undoubtedly the most influential of the apostles. He became the apostle to the Gentiles and besides preaching in Asia Minor, took the gospel to Europe. Approximately half of the book of Acts deals with the life and ministry of Paul.

His profound Epistles that constitute half of the NT still impact the world today.

Encouraging

ENCOURAGEMENT

But it was Barnabas who initially encouraged Paul, when no-one else would accept him, and Barnabas who offered him his first ministry position in Antioch which ultimately led to his mission trips to Asia Minor and Europe.

It was the support and encouragement of Barnabas that was instrumental in establishing Paul in his ministry.

How many of you have heard of Edward Kimball?

Probably not too many.

EDWARD KIMBALL

Kimball was concerned about a 17-year old Sunday School student of his, who worked at a shoe shop in town.

This poorly educated boy attended church because of a promise he’d made to his uncle in return in return for giving him a job in the shop.

But he frequently fell asleep in church because all the sermons sounded alike to him.

Kimball was not content just to give Sunday School lessons – he took a personal interest in his boys, and would make an effort to visit them during the week.

The 17-year-old boy’s name was D. L. Moody. His name is still well known today, more than 150 years later.

Kimball recalled the incident in the shop as follows, “When I was nearly there, I began to wonder whether I ought to go just then, during business hours. And I thought maybe my mission might embarrass the boy, that when I went away the other clerks might ask who I was, and when they learned might taunt Moody and ask if I was trying to make a good boy out of him. While I was pondering over it all, I passed the store without noticing it. Then when I found I had gone by the door, I determined to make a dash for it and have it over at once.” 1

1 The life & work of Dwight Lyman Moody By J. Wilbur Chapman

“I found Moody in the back part of the store wrapping up shoes in paper and putting them on shelves. I went up to him and put my hand on his shoulder, and as I leaned over I placed my foot upon a shoe box. Then I made my plea, and I feel that it was really a very weak one. I don’t know just what words I used, nor could Mr. Moody tell. I simply told him of Christ’s love for him and the love Christ wanted in return. That was all there was of it. I think Mr. Moody said afterward that there were tears in my eyes.” *

Within a few months, the young shoe store clerk surrendered his life to Christ and expressed a willingness to repent and be mentored in the faith by Edward Kimball and a few other men in Boston’s Mount Vernon Congregational Church. **

* Ibid. ** https:// cslewisinstitute.org/ resources/ dwight-l-moody-evangelist-and-master-disciple-maker

D.L. MOODY

D. L. Moody went on to become one of the greatest evangelists ever, sharing the gospel with 100 million people. And this was in the age before modern mass media like TV, radio and the internet. He also founded the Moody Bible Institute and the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago.

And ironically years later Moody would lay his hand on the shoulder of Kimball’s own son and point him to Christ.

Years later Moody recalled, “… one day I recollect a Sunday-school teacher came round behind the counter of the shop I used to work in, and put his hand on my shoulder, and talked to me about Christ and my soul. I had not felt I had a soul till then. I said: ‘This is a very strange thing. Here is a man who never saw me until within a few days, and he is weeping over my sins, and I never shed a tear about them.’

“But I understand it now, and know what it is to have a passion for men’s souls and weep over their sins. I don’t remember what he said, but I can feel the power of that young man’s hand on my shoulder tonight.

“Young Christian men, go and lay your hand on your comrade’s shoulder, and point him to Jesus tonight.[“Life and Work of Dwight L. Moody: The Great Evangelist of the 19th Century” by Rev. A. W. William]

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

Not giving up on people

Paul and Barnabas parted company after a disagreement which centred around John Mark. Just who was John Mark?

He was a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10).

John (Yochanan) was his Hebrew name, while Mark (Marcus) was his Greco-Latin (i.e. Roman) name.

Many believe that the young man whom Mark alone mentions in his gospel, who escaped from the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested was John Mark himself.

Mark 14:50-52 (NIV) Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Not giving up on people

John Mark was the son of a Christian woman called Mary who lived in Jerusalem.

It was to their house that Peter came after being released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:12).

They appear to have been a family of some financial means as they employed a servant Rhoda (Acts 12:13) …

… and the house was large enough to house the “many people” who “had gathered and were praying” (Acts 12:12) for Peter’s release.

After the relief mission by Barnabas and Paul to the church in Jerusalem, John Mark returned with them to Antioch (12:25).

IMPERFECT PEOPLE

John Mark joined them on their first missionary journey as a ‘helper’ (13:5), but for unknown reasons abandoned them to return home.

Acts 13:13 (NIV) From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.

IMPERFECT PEOPLE

We don’t know why Barnabas’ youthful cousin quit the first time. Maybe the pressures of ministry were too much for him. Perhaps, the reality of mission work was different from what he had imagined.

In any event, the incident seems to have left Paul with the view that John Mark was unreliable and thus unsuited for mission work. So while Barnabas is keen to take John Mark again on the second mission, Paul refuses.

Paul took the initiative with the second missionary journey:

Acts 15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”

Acts 15:37-39 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company …

Barnabas doesn’t consider the issue to be as extreme as Paul does, and is willing to give John Mark another chance. Knowing Barnabas’ nature, it wasn’t just because this was his relative – he had done a similar thing for Paul before. Perhaps Barnabas saw a brokenness and repentance in the young man’s attitude, or was just more forgiving because of Mark’s youthfulness.

Paul and Barnabas cannot agree and so they go on separate missions. “Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus” (Acts 15:39)

Acts 15:40-41 … but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

The Bible doesn’t attempt to sweep this account of disagreement among prominent early church leaders under the carpet. It doesn’t try to sanitize or justify the issue.

The Antioch church was a church with real people.

There has never been a church without real people, warts and all.

IMPERFECT PEOPLE

So if you fall into the category of someone who is looking for a perfect church, then this passage will startle you.

My dad used to say, “If you find the perfect church, don’t join it – or else it won’t be perfect any more.”

But just as family members love and support one another despite their differences, God expects the same of his children.

The solution is not to go into isolation and avoid other believers, because someone has offended you at some point.

As I heard one pastor very aptly say, “If you’ve come to this church, because you’ve been hurt at another church, just give us some time – we’ll hurt you too”.

Part of serving the Lord is learning to forgive our brothers and sisters and learning to live with and love those who aren’t yet perfect.

Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

FORGIVE OTHERS JUST AS GOD FORGAVE YOU

NOT GIVING UP ON PEOPLE

There are some people who go the extra mile, who continue to hope and invest, or offer restoration when others have simply moved on.

Barnabas was willing to take a chance on mentoring John Mark when Paul had run out of patience with him and viewed him as being unreliable.

Barnabas’ faith in John Mark seems justified and his mentorship, along with giving him another chance in the mission field, seems to have paid off. There seems to have been a reconciliation between Paul and Barnabas because Paul later refers kindly to Barnabas in Galatians 2 and 1 Corinthians 9:6.

PAUL’S FELLOW WORKER

But it also seems that Mark later became a fellow worker with Paul when the latter was imprisoned in Rome. Paul lists Mark first among his fellow workers.

Philemon 23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

PAUL’S FELLOW WORKER

Paul sends greetings from Mark and instructs the church at Colossae (in Asia Minor) to welcome him if he visits:

Col 4:10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)

Then when Paul writes his last letter before his pending execution, he requests his dear friend Timothy in Ephesus to fetch Mark and to join him and Luke (2 Tim 4:11).

Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

HELPFUL TO PAUL

Facing his execution, Paul wants to spend his last days with Luke, Timothy and Mark.

That leaves no doubt as to the fact that Paul changed his opinion about John Mark in later years.

In addition, he explicitly says that Mark “is helpful to me in my ministry”.

HELPFUL TO PETER

But Mark also assisted Peter in his ministry.

Remember that as a youngster, Mark knew Peter. *

* Peter was part of a Christian group in Jerusalem that met in Mark’s home. It was to this house that Peter fled on his escape from prison. Mark was also in the Jerusalem church when Peter, John and James were the leaders.

PETER’S COMPANION

When Peter is in Babylon * he refers to Mark being with him, and affectionately calls the younger man his ‘son’.

1 Pet 5:13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.

According to Papias and many of the early church fathers, Mark acted as the interpreter for Peter. In the 2nd century Irenaeus refers to Mark as “the disciple and interpreter of Peter”. **

* Some believe this to be a pseudonym for Rome. ** Against Heresies” Bk. 3 Ch. 1

GOSPEL WRITER

Mark’s relationship with Peter parallels both Timothy’s and Luke’s relationship to Paul. The early church fathers agree that the second gospel was compiled by Mark recording Peter’s recollections of Jesus’ ministry. [Irenaeus, Papias, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius]

GOSPEL WRITER

Regarding the Gospel of Mark, Papias cites John as saying, “Mark, in his capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he recalled from memory—though not in an ordered form—of the things either said or done by the Lord.”

Eusebius, quoting Clement, adds the detail that Mark had accompanied Peter for a long time and had compiled the gospel recollections of Peter at the request of Christians in Rome. *

* The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it… This is the account of Clement. [Eusebius, Eccl. History 6.14.5-7]

SOURCE FOR OTHER GOSPEL WRITERS

In the introduction to his gospel, Luke acknowledges using earlier accounts of eyewitness testimony. It’s apparent that one of these sources was Mark, and these two gospel writers clearly knew each other well - every time Paul mentions Luke, he also mentions Mark (Col 4:10-14, 2 Tim 4:11, Philemon 23-24).

Luke considered Mark to be reliable, quoting him more than any other source - 350 verses from Mark including some entire passages.

MISSIONARY TO AFRICA?

A widespread, but somewhat late, tradition credits Mark with founding the church in Alexandria, Egypt. Both the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria claim their roots back to Mark. 1

1 However Clement (2nd century) and Origen (3rd century) who were based in Alexandria, make no reference to Mark’s connection with their city. It is attested by Eusebius, Jerome, the Apostolic Constitutions and Epiphanius. However Acts 2:10 indicates that there was representation from Egypt on the Day of Pentecost, so it’s possible that some of the 3000 saved that day could have taken the gospel back to Egypt. In Acts 18 Apollos is called “a native of Alexandria” who “had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately”, so it’s possible that there was already a church in Alexandria at this stage. It also says that “he knew only the baptism of John”, so it’s unlikely he was trained by a movement founded by Mark, who would have known about baptism from Barnabas and Paul. Because of the strong tradition, it is quite possible that at some point Mark came to Alexandria and became a prominent leader in the church. But it is unlikely that Mark was the first Christian leader active in Alexandria in the 1st century. There were probably others before him.

MARTYR?

There is no earlier evidence, but the 4th century “Acts of Mark” says that Mark was martyred, while being dragged through the streets of Alexandria.

So this man, who as a youngster had dropped out of a missionary journey, later becomes a trustworthy assistant to both Paul and Peter, writer of a gospel, missionary to Rome, Asia Minor, Cyprus and Egypt and possibly a faithful martyr for Jesus.

NOT GIVING UP ON PEOPLE

Had it not been for Barnabas, who believed in him and gave him another chance when others viewed him as a quitter, I wonder if his story would have had the same ending.

Young people today need a few adults like Barnabas – who will mentor and father them - believe in them no matter what, stick with them through thick and thin, and stand by them in times of trouble. This ministry of encouragement can have a lasting effect on the lives of young people.

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

Teaching

Moses was mentored by his father-in-law Jethro (Exodus 18).

Notably it was Jethro who observed how Moses was operating as a judge and taught him the benefits of avoiding burn out by using delegation.

Teaching

E.g. He taught him the necessity of ensuring doctrinal purity.

1 Tim 1:3 (NIV) As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer

When Paul leaves Timothy in Ephesus, he writes him a letter (1 Timothy) explaining what he needs to do.

John the Baptist was called Rabbi (teacher) by his disciples (John 3:26). He taught them to fast (Luke 5:33). He taught them to pray:

Luke 11:1 (NASB) It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

He taught his disciples the importance of repentance, having fruit to back up your claim to repentance, baptism and the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3-18)

He also repeatedly pointed them to Jesus (John 1:29-37, 3:27-30, Luke 3:16-17).

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

Opportunity to serve alongside

We saw how Barnabas not only continually encouraged Paul; he saw potential in him and gave him an opportunity to perform ministry.

Opportunity to serve alongside

At Antioch Barnabas shared his ‘pulpit’ with Paul and the resultant outcome is positive. Needless to say, this opportunity provided invaluable experience for Paul.

Acts 11:26 (NIV) … So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people ...

Joshua was Moses’ servant before becoming Israel's leader.

Ex 24:13 So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. (NASB)

Elisha was Elijah’s servant before becoming God’s prophet.

1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha … set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

“The boy Samuel served the LORD by assisting Eli” (1 Sam 3:1, NLT).

We see how he would even repeatedly run to Eli at night when he thought the old man was calling him.

Every morning Samuel used to get up and open the doors of the Tabernacle (1 Sam 3:15) – a seemingly menial task for someone who would later be a priest, prophet and judge of Israel.

At first Timothy was Paul’s understudy and assistant:

Phil 2:22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

Paul would leave Timothy in Ephesus to appoint leadership after clearly explaining the criteria for elders and deacons.

1 Tim 3:14-15 (NIV) Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God ..

MENTORING

Motivating and inspiring

Encouraging

Not giving up on people

Teaching

Opportunity to serve alongside

Role model

Role model

Mentors should not only teach – they must lead by example – i.e. be positive role models.

There must be no hint of hypocrisy, e.g. “do what I say, not what I do”.

Role model

Jesus made His style of mentoring clear: He led so that we can follow.

He said, “If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

John10:27 (NIV) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Mark 1:17 (ESV) And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” i.e. I’ll teach you how to evangelize – by example.

John 12:12-17 (NIV) When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

He challenges the Corinthians to “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).

He tells the Thessalonian Christians to “follow our example” (2 Thess 3:7).

He instructs the Philippians, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice” (Phil 4:9). i.e. “Let me mentor you. I’ll be your role model.”

Paul describes this mentoring as part of his leadership model.

Leaders in the local church should mentor. Peter writes to elders, “Be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3).

Paul reminds to the elders at Ephesus, “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you” (Acts 20:17). In other words, “I showed you, now you show them.”

ROLE MODEL

In all truth, if a Christian leader is not mentoring someone, to that degree he or she is not living up to his or her calling. *

Of course, God has filled the body of Christ with many potential mentors besides those who are named as elders or shepherds. *

* https:// gotquestions.org/ Christian-mentoring.html

The official church leaders cannot personally meet all the mentoring needs of everyone. While it may not be possible for shepherds to personally, intentionally, hands-on mentor each sheep that needs mentoring, they are to help these needy sheep find godly mentors. *

To provide for the mentoring needs of their local community of faith, the leaders must be intentional, continually expanding the circle of mentors by “equipping others” to mentor. *

* https:// gotquestions.org/ Christian-mentoring.html

CONCLUSION




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