Topic:A Good Man
News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 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. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
The gospel had broken through the Jewish barriers that had held it in and was now reaching out to the Gentiles. The result of this first preaching was that many Gentile converts came to Christ. This news was a bit disconcerting to the disciples at Jerusalem. They did not know what to do about this movement of the Holy Spirit. Since they were themselves Jews, raised in the tradition that they were God’s chosen people, you can imagine what happened. They never thought that God would move to reach the Gentile world and so they hardly knew what to make of it. When word came to them that Gentiles were becoming converts of Jesus Christ, they were utterly astounded. Were these real Christians?
To settle the issue, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. He did not come to attempt to control this new thrust by the Holy Spirit; he came down to investigate it, to see what God had been doing. The three reasons they chose Barnabas are given: (1) he was a good man, (2) full of the Spirit, (3) full of faith.
Good man means more than simply that he behaved himself. This is a reference to his disposition. He was an easy-going, cheerful, open-hearted, gracious individual. He has appeared this way to us already in the pages of Acts. He defended Paul when he came back from Damascus, disillusioned and defeated. The other apostles would have nothing to do with him because he was still suspect. But Barnabas brought him in and championed his cause. He was that kind of man.
He was full of the Holy Spirit. That, of course, is the supreme qualification. Being full of the Holy Spirit meant that the fruit of the Spirit was evident in his life. He was filled with love, joy, long-suffering, patience, and gentleness. He lived this way not because of his own easy-going character but because he was drawing upon the power of an indwelling Holy Spirit.
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Third, he was a man of faith. That means he acted upon what God said. He did not wait for his feelings. A man of faith simply believes God and expects him to act. He doesn’t even think about how he feels himself. Faith is not a feeling. Faith has nothing to do with your feelings. Faith is simply a recognition that God has promised something, and, since he is God, to expect him to do it, and therefore to act on that basis. That is the kind of man who gets something done.
Make me to be available to you, Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit, a person of faith, flexible, ready to move according to the steps that you outline. Make me willing to change. Save me from being rigid, unbending, and inflexible in my attitudes to others.
The one who depends solely on God to live through him will be a ‘Barnabas’ in his servant relationships with others: gracious, Christ-like and overflowing with encouragement. Will you look for ways God can use you to strengthen and bless others with His overflowing life in you?