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When Stephen was stoned to death, many of the other disciples were persecuted causing them to travel as far as Antioch. As faithful witnesses to Christ and obeying the great commission, they preached the gospel.
Acts 11:21 “And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”
Many people in Antioch came to Christ, and it was there that the name “Christian” was first given to them. Acts 11:26b “… the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
”The Church in Jerusalem heard the good news and endeavoured to send Barnabas to encourage, teach and disciple them. Acts 11:22 “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.”
When Barnabas arrived he saw the hand/grace of God at work in the lives of people and rejoiced. Acts 11:23 “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad,”
It is a wonderful and exciting to see God at Work and to be a part of His work. Praise the Lord!
1, Barnabas’ MESSAGE to the SAINTS
Acts 11:23 “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.”
He exhorted them to be faithful to the Lord. Purpose of Heart = to be fixed, firm, steadfast, unmovable and committed in their decision and not wavering. To cleave unto the Lord = to be one with, stuck on, inseparable, to remain following the Lord whole-heartedly. (Joshua 22:5)
2. Barnabas' MINISTRY to the SINNERS
Acts 11:24 “…much people was added unto the Lord.”
As Barnabas ministered to the saints, he also would have witnessed to other sinners that knew not the Lord. He was soul sensitive, because he was Spirit filled.
3. Barnabas MADE by the SPIRIT
Acts 11:24 “For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith:”
It is amazing to me how the Holy Spirit stops here to make a comment on the character of Barnabas. God would have all of His servants to be thus.
4. Barnabas’ MINDSET
Acts 11:25-26 “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: (26) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.”
Barnabas’ main concern was for the work of the Lord and to see people go on for the Lord. He had a co-labouring Spirit and sought after Paul. He did not care for a man centred ministry. AMEN and AMEN!