Sermon: The Barnabas Effect
Summary: Like Barnabas, we should strive to encourage others in ways that he did,
which involves having a giving heart, which means giving affirmation, motivation, and just
being physically, emotionally, and spiritually present. The results of a simple ministry of
encouragement can have astounding effects, as was demonstrated in the ministry of
Know: We need to actively make it a life style of encouragement through forming specific
habits of encouragement
Feel: The motivation to focus on encouraging others rather than merely receiving it
Do: Reflect on Barnabas as a model of encouragement and how we can follow his example
Text: Acts 4:32-37; 9:26-27; 11:19-26; 13:1-3
Scripture Reading: Heb 10:23-25
1. Familiar with Murphy's laws? According to Murphy, things that can & do go wrong in life:
b. There are even teen versions of Murphy’s pessimistic list. For example:
- The other line at COSTCO always moves faster than the one you are in.
- The chance of the bread falling with the peanut butter side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet it is falling toward.
- No matter how long or hard you shop for an item—after you’ve bought it, you will see it on sale somewhere else cheaper.
- Any tool dropped while fixing a car will roll underneath to the exact center of the car.
- The repairman will never have seen a model quite like yours before.
- According to Murphy, you will remember that you forgot to take out the trash when the garbage truck is two doors away.
- The shortest distance between two classes never takes you near your locker.
- Even the most absent minded teachers never forget a test.
- Planned dates cause pimples.
2. According to Murphy, world a discouraging place.
a. How many times to you feel discouraged?
b. Any number of thing happen and you feel discouraged
3. We as Christians need to do the opposite - practice Encouragement
a. Definition - En-courage = "put courage into someone"
b. Greek - "paraklesis" - To come alongside
- 1 Thess 5:11 - Encourage one another and build up
- Heb 10:24-25 - Consider how to stimulate to love and good
deeds, not forsaking assembling, encouraging one another
4. Example of Barnabas
a. To us, he seems like minor character
b. He made pretty significant contribution through …
c. The Barnabas Effect - Strengthening, empowering, growing faith
d. We need to strive for the Barnabas effect…
I. (Acts 4:32-37) - A Giving Heart
A. Joseph's nickname - "Barnabas - Son of Encouragement"
1. He was singled out for his contribution
2. He provided for those it need by selling some of his land
B. Why did he do this?
1. v.32 - The congregation was of one heart and soul
a. They had true unity
- Some think have unity if it is doctrinal
- This church had functional unity
- Unity in heart and soul, emotional, spiritual
b. If want to know what unity is, Acts gives us a picture
c. Barnabas was a part of that oneness…
2. v.32 - None claimed anything was his own
a. Barnabas did not claim that the land was his own
b. When need arose, he sold it to help needy
c. Not a hint that "It is mine, you can't have it"
d. Attitude - It is OURS
3. Barnabas had a giving heart
4. Some people "wish" to have a more giving heart…
C. ILL: There was a man who said he wish he could be more giving
1. Man not happy, Said -- If had more, I'd serve God
a. Money - Only enough to support family
b. Time - Every minute taken up with job, responsibilities
c. Talent - If had one, give to God, I can't do much
2. So God gave money, time, talent…and waited…and waited
3. God took it back, man began to say again…if I had more…
4. God said, "Oh shut up"
D. What have you been blessed with?
1. Make a mental list
2. How can you use what God has blessed you with to encourage?
II. (Acts 9:26-27) - Give Affirmation
A. Jerusalem Christians did not accept the newly converted Saul
1. Barnabas "took hold" of him and brought him to Apostles
2. Barnabas affirmed Saul's conversion and new faith
a. He had every reason to doubt, could have been a trick
b. But Barnabas was an encourager, not a doubter
c. His affirmation brought Paul and church together
B. What this means is being willing to think the best, not the worst
1. 1 Cor 13:5 - Love does not keep an account of a wrong suffered
2. 1 Cor 13:7 - Bears, believes, hopes, endures all things
3. Sum up - Love is affirming
C. ILL: Half a jar of water
1. Is the jar half empty or half full?
2. Affirmation is focusing on what is full and affirming it
3. Paul's letters, even to Corinth, began with affirmation
a. Even if the church was full of problems
b. He began with what was half full and affirmed it
c. Where do you think he learned affirmation? Barnabas
D. Look for the positive and affirm it
1. What is positive in people around you?
2. What is positive in life?
III. (Acts 11:19-23) - Give Motivation
A. Gentiles were being converted to the faith at Antioch
1. Jerusalem church hears, and sends….Barnabas!
2. Obviously, the desire was for encouragement
B. So Barnabas goes to meet the challenge
1. Gentiles were so new in many ways
a. Unlike Jewish Christians, many didn't have background
b. Needed lots of encouragement
c. Barnabas was the man for the job
2. What Barnabas did:
- Not everyone rejoiced at inclusion of gentiles
- They were so different, unclean, pagan thought, etc.
- But Barnabas…. REJOICED
b. Encouraged them with a resolute heart to remain true to
- No longer going to feasts (most in honor of a god)
- Lose money, shunned by trade guilds
- Slaves might be persecuted by owners
- Being marginalized might be new to some
c. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Spirit and Faith
- The fruit of the Spirit could be seen in him
- He was a man of faith
3. Result - Considerable numbers brought to the Lord
a. Context - Probably included gentiles too
b. Antioch first "multi-cultural" church
4. Antioch would be the launch pad for the Gentile Mission
a. Who was a major player? Barnabas
b. It was because he was motivational
C. ILL: A circus clown learned a lesson in motivation
1. Bowing, his large top hat came off, elephant sat on it
2. Tried to get the elephant to move
a. Gesture wildly, nothing happened
b. Waved and shouted again and again, nothing
c. Walked around behind and kicked, hurt his own foot
d. Tried to lift elephants behind up, and couldn't
3. Gave up, so went and sat down and ate peanuts
4. Elephant interested in peanuts, so got up and begged for one
D. Can't accomplish much for God kicking and yelling
1. Need positive motivation
2. What kind of motivation do you give?
a. Is it complaining, kicking, negativity, pointing fingers?
b. Or is it positive, affirming, motivational
3. What can you do to positively motivate?
a. Your brethren, teacher, life group leader, etc.
b. Make a mental note
IV. (Acts 11:24-26) - Give your Presence
A. Notice what Barnabas does next
1. Good things are happening, got to go get Saul
a. Why Saul? Perhaps because he was Roman citizen?
b. Maybe he knew that Saul was suited for this
2. Saul spent considerable time with Barnabas in Antioch
3. Barnabas contributed to Saul's spiritual formation
4. Talking about relationship here
- Encouragement and relationship go hand in hand
B. Result of Barnabas' encouragement
1. Acts 13:1-3 - Barnabas and Saul go on Gentile mission together
2. Saul followed Barnabas' model
a. Saul was not a lone ranger
b. He always had others with him
3. 15:37-39 - Barnabas and Paul had difference over John Mark
a. Son of Encouragement wanted to take him Paul did not
b. They wound up going two directions
c. 2 Tim 4:11 - Apparently, John Mark in the end become
valuable to Paul, he later asks for him
d. Barnabas effect transformed John Mark
4. This is why Barnabas is the son of "encouragement"
a. Greek definition - To come alongside
b. Not to look down on, to shove, or push
C. When you do something, don't do it alone
1. Involve someone else, do it together
2. Share life TOGETHER - That is encouraging
3. This is why we are committed to Life Groups
a. Fellowship and Encouragement not an option
b. That's why we devote an already committed time to it
c. Focus is not gaining book knowledge
- Focus is relationship and spiritual growth
D. Come to Life Groups and participate
1. Was Barnabas a depressed person? Don't think so
a. Giving heart is a joyful heart
b. Find Murphy's Laws will be broken
c. If you are depressed, angry, scrooge like, etc. -- GIVE
2. Do you every feel like "I don't get anything out of it!"
a. Worship, Life Groups, Bible Classes, etc. - I don't get encouragement
b. Do like Barnabas - Giving heart, affirm, motivate, be present
- Whether in worship, life groups, class, etc.
c. Principle of Life - Sow sparingly, will reap sparingly
3. Can move from Murphy's Law to the Barnabas Effect
a. If you feel like you are epitome of Murphy's Law, this is for you
b. If you feel like you are not getting anything out of church, this is for you
c. If you want to know the secret of being more content, this is for you
4. Let's make a commitment to see the Barnabas Effect at work here!
Small Group Questions: The Barnabas Effect
Summary: Like Barnabas, we should strive to encourage others in ways that he did, which
involves having a giving heart, which means giving affirmation, motivation, and just being
physically, emotionally, and spiritually present. The results of a simple ministry of
encouragement can have astounding effects, as was demonstrated in the ministry of
Open: (pick one)
- What is the most discouraging thing ever said or done to you?
- What is the most encouraging things over said or done to you?
Explore: (Acts 4:32-37; 9:26-27; 11:19-26; 13:1-3; 15:37-39)
1. From these passages, discuss the type of person Barnabas must have been. What things
stand out about Barnabas.
2. What are the ways Barnabas lived up to his nickname, "son of encouragement," and in what
ways did this affect the other people in his life?
3. Why is Barnabas significant in the life of Paul and subsequently in the Gentile mission?
4. Although the text doesn't go into detail, what appears to be the source of disagreement
over John who was also called Mark? What does this say about Barnabas?
5. List some specific ways you/we could incorporate some of the lessons we learn from Barnabas.
6. In being a Barnabas (son of encouragement), which is the most challenging for you and why?
(1) Having a giving heart (2) Giving Affirmation (3) Giving Positive Motivation (4) Being present
physically, emotionally, and spiritually (4) Other
7. How can this Life Group Help you be more encouraging? How can you help others in be more
encouraging? What can you do to make this a lifelong habit?
Everyone in the group pick out someone else and encourage them verbally. (Since it is more
blessed to give than to receive, it is okay if not everyone is on the receiving end)
Choose a specific way to encourage a specific person this week