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True Happiness among Kingdom People 2. Authentic Kingdom People, Authentic Happiness. The Assist – Harmony & Growth. Barnabas Son of Encouragement What it does not mean Why Son of Encouragement? made people better The act that stood out. Acts 4
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True Happiness among Kingdom People 2 Authentic Kingdom People, Authentic Happiness
The Assist – Harmony & Growth • Barnabas Son of Encouragement • What it does not mean • Why Son of Encouragement? made people better • The act that stood out
Acts 4 32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Acts 4 36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. • Significance of a Levite selling land • Significance of “from Cyprus” – Hellenistic Jew • Sacrifice • Generosity
The Assist – Harmony & Growth • The strategic value of Barnabas action • Who are the people who create harmony and growth? • Encouragement by word and/or deed
Paul advanced the Good News of the Kingdom more than any other person. • Barnabas was the person who created the opportunity for Paul to reach his full potential.
Acts 11 22News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When 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. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and 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.
Failed the Assist • The nature of encouragement is that some fail you! • The case of John Mark • Acts 15:36-41
Acts 15: 36-41 36Some 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.” 37Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38but 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. 39They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Why Cyprus? • Who had the support of the church? • How do we understand Barnabas’ action?
Why the conflict? • Acts 13:13 13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia,where John left them to return to Jerusalem. • Why did John Mark leave them? • Option 1: Tired • Option 2: Afraid: going to malaria area • Option 3: Did not accept Paul’s leadership
Barnabas and Mark • John Mark the younger cousin of Barnabas. • “My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas” (Colossians 4:10). • John Mark rejected Paul’s leadership mid-way through the missionary journey. • Barnabas refused to listen to John Mark and supported Saul’s promotion.
Encourage at a cost: recognize and promote another person who is better. • Like in a game, you feed the ball to someone who scores the goals. The assist. • At work: what happens when you are better than your boss? • Another example: John the Baptist • “he must increase and I must decrease” • Opposite end of the spectrum: someone is much better than I, I must destroy him.
The Tension of Barnabas & Paul • Barnabas, “Paul I gave you a second chance.” • Paul, “Is it because he is your cousin?” • Paul, “He could not accept my leadership.”
Nepotism a reality in society • Was this a case of nepotism? No. • E.g. George Washington asked John Adams not to withhold office from John Quincy Adams. • The actions of the Encourager can be misunderstood with a bad motive. • Irony: it is the honorable who are hurt by such accusations, not the real nepotist. • Barnabas and Paul never worked together again. Perhaps coincidence, perhaps as a result of this situation, probably coincidence as later events seem to indicate. • People of principles can differ.
John Mark • John Mark, the unremarkable man • The young man who fled naked from the Garden of Gethsamane 51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
Acts 12:12-13 12When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. • Son of Mary – no info on father, possibly dead • Fairly wealthy – big house, used by church, had servant • Cousin of Barnabas (much more prominent in church)
The Remaking of John Mark • Conflict at Perga (Acts 13:13), about AD 46. • Conflict in Acts 15:37-40, about AD 50. • Paul was in prison, wrote several epistles, mentioned Mark
Philemon 1:23-24 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. • 2 Timothy 4:11 11Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. • 1 Peter 5:13 13She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.
Papias: Mark was the note taker of Peter as Peter taught in Rome. • The Holy Spirit chose him to write the earliest record of the life of Jesus Christ. • In ancient literature: Nicknamed “stumpy fingers,” either born with it or accident. • Chosen to write the first Gospel
Limited talent • Created a huge problem for the community • Given a second chance and too it. • Handicapped in writing • God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. • Talent of Paul: God used to bring the Gospel to Gentiles • Talent of Barnabas: God used him to be an assist to Saul, John Mark, and many others
Cost of Being an Encourager • Giving people a leg-up / step on shoulders / step on me. • The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. • Head-count to measure greatness? • How many we helped. • One professor gave a very significant advice to me. How many people did your supervisor help? Not how good he is in his field.
The Kingdom of God has more than surface happiness • It is a joy that rises above conflict • It looks forward to reconciliation, failing which we make our case before the righteousness judge • Poem
Builder or Wrecker I saw them tearing a building down, A gang of men in a dusty town. With a “yo heave ho” and a lusty yell, They swung a beam and the side wall fell. I asked the foreman if these men were as skilled As the men he’d hire, if he were to build. He laughed and said, “Oh, no indeed. Common labor is all I need.
For those men can wreck in a day or two, What builders had taken years to do. I asked myself as I went my way, Which kind of role am I to play? Am I the builder who builds with care, Measuring life by the rule and square? Or am I the wrecker who walks the town, Content with the role of tearing down?