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Thoughts on the person and character of Barnabas- Acts 11:24
Thoughts on the person and character of Barnabas
Acts 11:19-26

This past week as I read Acts 11-15 my mind was drawn to person of Barnabas. In Acts 11:24a it says of him "He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith,..."

Ladies, if you are single and interested in dating and marriage--- this is the kind of man to look for. Men, these few words describe for us the kind of men that we are to ascribe to be.

An intro to the life of Barnabas

-He mentioned a lot in the Book of Acts (mentioned 24 times in Acts)
-For quite a while he and Paul were ministry companions- serving, preaching, teaching, baptizing, setting up churches together
-Over arching everything about Barnabas was his commitment to and love for Christ and God's people--- everything he did flowed out of his having a walk and relationship with Jesus Christ. He was all about Jesus.

1. The big thing about Barnabas was that he was an ENCOURAGER--

He lifted people up. By his manner, spirit, teaching of the Word, and action he built up a lot people in their relationship with Jesus Christ

He wasn't always named Barnabas. His mom and dad had actually given him the name Joseph for Acts 4:36-37 says; "Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement) sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet

We are to be ENCOURAGERS

In Hebrews 10:24 it says; "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

We are to seek to be ones who refresh others in life and in the faith--- so we pray "God use me, make me a channel of blessing to others"

2. In addition to being an encourager Barnabas was incredibly generous Acts 4:32-37

When the call went out for the followers of Jesus to share with those who were in need, Barnabas showed no hesitation in selling a field that he owned and laying the money at the apostles feet (for them to distribute to the poor).

In the next chapter of Acts, one reads of Ananias and Saphira who lied to the Holy Spirit about how much their offering to the Lord was. Barnabas was not like them.

The Bible tells us to give to the one who asks. As we learned from Deuteronomy 15:10 if we want to be blessed by God we need to be generous with the poor. "Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."

WE ARE TO BE GENEROUS WITH OUR MONEY, TIME, RESOURCES. We are not to be miserly and tight fisted. What we have is merely on loan to us-- for all we are is stewards--- God is the owner of all things.

What's your giving track record like?

3. Barnabas was the guy who didn't have a problem taking a chance on people

When no one else would come near Paul (Barnabas said-- I believe that Paul is a real and genuine follower of Christ-- I'll take him on--- I'll mentor him, I'll serve Christ with him)

In Acts 9:19-27 recounts this for us saying; "Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus."

Ironically, many years later Paul and Barnabas separated ways over Barnabas wanting to take a guy named Mark with them on a church planting tour--- and Paul not wanting to because Mark had deserted them on an earlier occasion. See Acts 15:36-39 (They reconciled some time later (See 2 Timothy 4:9-11) -- but there again, we see Barnabas willing to take a chance on people no one else would)

As Christians and a church we need to be people of grace and mercy, giving second chances to repentant people, giving opportunities to those who others have deemed to be not worthy. God has a strange sense of humor in who he will use-- Its weak vessels who are surrendered to Him who bring Him the most glory---the key is a surrendered heart that says "YES" to God--- not degrees, not eloquence, etc

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. 1 Cor. 13

4. Barnabas was a HUMBLE guy. He was willing to take direction and he didn't have to be the center of attention

In Acts 11 we are told that the church at Jerusalem heard about how a lot of people in Antioch (Syria) had heard the message of Jesus and who had turned in faith and repentance to Him. So, they send Barnbas to check it. This shows Barnabas to be a man under authority-- who didn't mind being sent on missions by the church, he didn't balk at being told what to do.

Sometimes we get in a tizzy when told what to do (at church, at home, at school, at work). We need to learn to be people who can take direction. Not everyone can or will be a boss-- and we need to learn to be ok with that----- and if you are a boss-- be a kind, compassionate, gentle, humble one-- Don't be like a bull in a china shop.

Barnabas was also incredibly humble. Center stage was not his thing

Remember when we read of how Barnabas took Paul under his wing. It wasn't very long before Paul eclipsed Barnabas in ministry terms-- for it was under Paul that the church grew and grew and grew around the Roman world. Never do we read of Barnabas being jealous or being put out by the successes in the Lord that Paul experienced.

Humility and servanthood are to be qualities that adorn us as the followers of Christ. No glory belongs to us--- it all belongs to Christ.

Romans 12:3 says; " For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."


These words from Acts 11:24 have been rolling around my head this week "He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord."


a. He was a good man

I want to be a good man. It's a nice thing to hear my wife say. I also find it slightly pressurizing because then I realize how many times I fall short.

Girls/ladies: If you are looking for a man-- look for a good man--- and not the bad boy (for you'll never change him)

Guys: Ascribe to be a good man

What does a good man look like?

Note: The word good in v.24 means: pleasant, agreeable, distinguished, upright, humble, useful

Coming to be recognized as a good man-- means building a track record. Consistency

Marks of a good man

Hard working, honest, respectful, one who loves Christ, serious about truth and right and wrong, patient, a servant of others, one who guards his heart and who is saying no to the flesh and temptation, one who is seeking to eliminate his vices and sins

b. He was full of the Holy Spirit

At the moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit -- the Spirit of Christ-- comes and takes up residence in us as a deposit and seal of our inheritance and our belonging to Christ.

The same Holy Spirit who indwelt, led, empowered, gave words to Christ, indwells us.

While the Holy Spirit indwells ever believer, the Bible also tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says; "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,"

So the question is: How can we be filled with the Holy Spirit?

In thinking of this question I read a sermon by A.W. Tozer. He made some good points

i. You need to believe that you can be and that His filling is for you
ii. You need to answer the question "Am I sure I want to be possessed by the Spirit?" Are you sure you sure you want to be taken over by the One who requires obedience to the Word and who will not tolerate self love and self-indulgence and who will strip away from us the things that secretly harm our souls

Another preachers thoughts

i. First, you must sincerely desire God to fill you
ii. Second, confess to God any known sin in your life
iii. Third, ask God to fill you with His Spirit
iv. Fourth, remember that the filling of the Spirit is received by faith (God is not one whom we can manipulate)

Some Evidences of His filling: Expressions of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, self control,) Spirit led words, Spirit directed steps, Increased Sensitivity to His presence, discernment.

c. He was full of faith

He trusted in God. He had responded to Jesus' call to "Believe in him". His confidence was in God (in good times and in bad)

Isaiah 26:3-4 says; "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Taking God at his Word is a big deal--- latching on to his promises is part of being full of faith. Trusting God though all outward circumstances suggest the opposite.


Barnabas- Son of Encouragement-- an inspiration for us all as we seek to follow Christ.

His character

-Humble, Generous, An encourager who wanted to see people follow and grow in Christ.
-Full of faith
-A good man
-Spirit filled
-Generous--- not just considering his own needs, but the needs of others.