Dear Beloved of Jesus at KCPC,
The Apostle Paul teaches the church: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1), and “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil. 3:17; cf. Heb. 12:2).
Our gracious God gives us those in the church to imitate; to aspire by the work of the Spirit to their level of Christ -likeness. Barnabas was one of these examples as we learned through the ministry of the word last Lord’s Day. Some sermons spiritually “stay” with me more than others. Last Lord’s Day’s sermon was one that the Spirit continues to apply in my life and has “staying power” with me. God is good!
Barnabas was a sinner being conformed by Christ’s Spirit who had made some progress in holiness. He was an encourager, a good man, full of faith, Spirit-filled preacher and teacher, and a devoted servant of Jesus in His church.
The church knew him as a great encouragement (“son of encouragement”, Acts 4:36). How do folks in congregation recognize you? What is your reputation in larger church and community? This has been my meditation before God’s face the last two days.
In Barnabas, the people of God recognized his wise mediation, his deep desire to see sinners and brethren reconciled to God and each other, and his faithful commitment to being a peacemaker. The church recognized his generosity, his trustworthiness, his skill at diplomacy, his bold courage in the face of dangers, and he was beloved by many (Acts 4:36-37; 9:26-30; 12:24-13:5; 14:22-23; 15:2-3, 25-26).
In Acts, Barnabas is described by his actions not his words, inviting us to look to Him as one to imitate. Luke focuses on Barnabas’ character shaped by grace more than on his gifts (1 Cor. 13:1-3; Matt. 7:21-22; cf. Acts 10:38ff).
Jesus, our dear Savior, is our “son of encouragement” who promises us, too, that as we abide in Him, doing His commandments, loving one another, we can also bear much fruit and be like Barnabas–like Christ! (John 15:1-14).
Let us pray for one another this week that we all would be described like Barnabas as a “good man full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:22-24). Let us repent of our sluggishness and slothfulness at times in seeking sanctification (cf. Heb. 12:14; 6:11-12; Rom. 12:11-12; Phil. 3:12-15), and turn to Christ, to reflect more of His grace, truth and love (2 Cor. 3:18). He is FULL of grace! (John 1:14-18).
Pray for your pastor that I would be the best example I can be to Christ’s flock, especially as I learn this week at seminary in Grand Rapids. Pray that my life would be worthy of imitation as husband, father, preacher, pastor, son, and friend. I want this very much. Also, pray for your elders who are called to be living examples of Christ to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). Forgive me when I fail. Christ is enough for all of us! 🙂
Let’s pray for one another in this way! (1 Thess. 5:11).
“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:11-12).
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Biggs (in training to be a Barnabas)