A Message of Encouragement and Grace

There is no doubt that we are all experiencing something extraordinary! What is interesting, however, is that while we are experiencing something similar—depending on your age, personality, and a host of other factors—how we process what is going on is entirely different. For some, this is a perfect opportunity to get rest and spend time with family. For others, this is a stressful, anxiety-ridden experience. Learn what the Bible says about Encouragement in this post A Message of Encouragement and Grace

two people walking outside with a dog

I have my good days and my bad days. On the days I can keep myself busy, I am okay. But there are days when I run out of things to do and start to sink into boredom and mild depression at the thought that there is no end in sight.
No matter what your reaction to this experience, one thing is sure, we need each other.

Encourage One Another

What does the bible say about Encouragement?

"19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." (Acts 11:19-26)

The Setting of Acts 11:19-26

Shortly after Stephen is stoned to death, the Christians fled persecution. Luke tells us that they continued to preach the Gospel and that many people had come to faith in Christ. Luke records a significant number of converts, due to the hand of the Lord was upon the believers. It was leading to the geographical and cultural expansion of the Gospel. The Gospel spread geographically and culturally. The Gospel was moving from Jews in the Diaspora to the Gentiles.

Who was Barnabas?

·   Acts 4.36-37 is where we first encounter Barnabas in the book of Acts. He is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament, and all but 5 of those are in the book of Acts.
·   His name is "Joseph" and was nicknamed "Barnabas," which meant "son of encouragement."
o  Bar = "son of."
o  Nabas was Hebrew referring to a prophetic exhortation which encouraged or built people up. We also know from this text that he was a Levite. That is, he was from the priestly tribe of Israel. We learn that he was from Cyprus, and this enabled him to be an essential bridge between the Hebrew and Hellenistic worlds in the church.
·   Barnabas was a well-documented encourager!
o  Saul (Paul) converted to Christ on the road to Damascus en route to Jerusalem to meet the Apostles. They are justifiably afraid of him, and it is Barnabas who takes Paul to the Apostles. It is Barnabas who retells the story of Paul's conversion to them and not Paul himself. Acts 9:26-27.
o  Paul and Barnabas disagrees with John Mark. John Mark had let Paul down on a previous journey, but Barnabas wants to give John Mark another opportunity to serve. Paul and Barnabas disagree and separate at this point. Later, Paul calls for John Mark, and he describes him as one of his closest companions and servants in the Gospel. Barnabas takes this opportunity of encouraging a young man who has failed in the past by offering him another chance to serve. He saw in John Mark the grace of God, even if at this point, Paul does not. Acts 15:36-40
·   We can learn a lot about encouraging one another through Barnabas.

How to Encourage Others?

We cannot encourage others to be or follow what is not in our own lives (Acts 11:24)

Luke gives us a description of Barnabas' character. It is because of his nature that young believers accept his words and, recommendations concerning the church at Antioch will be accepted by the Apostles back in Jerusalem.
·   His character of goodness, integrity, and uprightness marked him out as the right man for this task.
·   Luke describes no one else in the book of Acts as 'a good man.' Luke further tells us that he was a man' full of the Spirit and faith.' It is this that is the source of his character, the source of the goodness in his life.
·   Note to what Luke says of Barnabas' time in Antioch – a multitude were added to the church. More people came to saving faith because of Barnabas.

Look for the grace of God working in people's lives. (Acts 11:23-24)

Ask yourself: Do you see the grace of God in the lives of others and encourage them to persevere in the truth? Or do you only see the faults and failings in others?
·  Barnabas saw the grace of God at work, and he delighted in it and encouraged the young believers to persevere in the truth.
·   Barnabas arrives and witnesses what? Luke tells us that he observes the 'grace of God' at work amongst the people of Antioch.
o  He is gladdened by what he sees in Antioch.
o  His generous Spirit moved to joy at the sight of people coming to faith in Christ Jesus.
·   Luke tells us that having witnessed the work of God's grace in their lives, Barnabas encourages them to persevere in the faith in 'remaining true to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.' There is a deliberate play on his name (Barnabas – son of Encouragement) encouraged them.
·   Please note this is no general encouragement but a specific encouragement to wholehearted devotion and commitment to the Lord Jesus.
o  Barnabas did not come and utter nice platitudes but encouraged them to persevere in the Gospel. This was a critical moment in the life of this young church and of these newborn babes in Christ. So often, people come into such situations, and all they do is find fault and raise their self-esteem by criticizing others. Not Barnabas! He arrives, and he firstly seeks to see the grace of God at work.
How did Barnabas know it was the grace of God at work?
·   People were turning from sin in repentance and faith to Christ Jesus.
·   People were professing Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
·   Barnabas did not burden them with rules and regulations – instead, he encouraged them to persevere in their wholehearted commitment to Christ. Did you note the word 'wholehearted?'
o  He encouraged them to be 'true to the Lord.' We would say 'faithful to the Lord.' Loving the Lord above all else. Having the Lord as the one whose word you obeyed, heeded, listened to, and sought counsel.
o  He encouraged them to be faithful to the Truth–Christ Jesus.
o  Barnabas knows that their hearts will determine the direction of their lives.
If the Gospel is to take root and firmly establish their lives, then their hearts must be devoted first and foremost to Christ. You see, the Gospel can only put down deep and firm roots by faith when it is grounded in the heart of a believer. Otherwise when the sun rises, and the heat of the day comes the plant withers and dies–according to the parable of the Sower.

Be prepared to bring others to the task of Encouragement (Acts 11:25-26)

It is not about self but about others. Barnabas was not concerned about his own reputation but about the spiritual welfare of these young Christians. He was not building his own kingdom but Christ's kingdom. Luke tells us that Barnabas goes and seeks out Paul and brings him to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas stay there for a considerable period teaching and instructing the believers.
Barnabas was not concerned about his own reputation when he went to Tarsus and brought Paul to Antioch.
His concern was the:
1.    Glory of Christ,
2.    The construction of the kingdom of God,
3.    The furtherance of the Gospel and Antioch,
4.    The building up of new Christians.
·   His reputation did not matter. He knew these young Christians needed the teaching of Paul. He saw their need, and he knew the answer, and it mattered not that it wouldn't be Barnabas who got the praise and that Paul would give preference over him.

Be Willing to Try to extend Grace and Encourage

·   Barnabas was open to try new things happening in the kingdom of God.
o  He took Paul to meet the Apostles when they all had grave doubts about his conversion.
o  He took John Mark on another missionary journey after he had messed up the first time around.
o  He went to Antioch and praised God for the work of grace in the lives of the Hellenists there.
Barnabas took risks to encourage people in the faith. We must do the same. Will we get it wrong sometimes? Yes – but it is worth the risk for a John Mark who has messed up to have another chance. It is worth the risk for a Paul who has messed up to become a great evangelist and church planter. It is worth the risk to encourage the grace of God working in others.

Open your Mind and Heart

Take Heart: Barnabas saw potential in others when those around him saw only danger, problems, and past failings. What about you? It is a mindset of how you see others. The bible does not tell us to turn a blind eye to people's sins or past failures, and yet the Gospel tells us that none of us have made the mark – all have fallen short – and all in Christ can be forgiven and restored. Barnabas looked for the potential in others and not the failures. I have no doubt there were disappointments for him, as there will be for us, but I am sure there were more times of joy as he experienced at Antioch.

Bible Study Resources

Click Here to get your free Bible Study Resources
Bible Journal PDF
Bible Study Guide
Be Blessed, Friends.

Never Miss an Update
Be sure to subscribe and join the email list below. Once you sign up, you will be alerted via email on all the latest happenings, posts, and hacks on Contemporary Mochanista. Also, find me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

© Contemporary Mochanista | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig