Are You a Comforter (3 of 3)

Mike Connell

Page 5 of 6
I think this is one of the most amazing things - that Barnabas stepped out of the leadership role, and from that point on: its Paul and Barnabas. That's the act of someone who acts like the Holy Ghost. He was willing to connect to people, encourage them and lift them up, bring them into relationship, and then empower them to go forward and fulfil their ministry.

You read a little later about John Mark, who was a young disciple. He was one of the apostles - the gospel of Mark. Mark was with Paul and Barnabas, and then the Bible says: the going got real tough, and Mark quit! There was a huge issue over this Mark quitting.

Acts 15:37.- “Barnabas was determined to take with them John, called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take him with them, because he had departed from them in Pamphylia, had not gone with them to the work; and the contention was so sharp, they parted from one another. And Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus.”

Barnabas saw the potential in Mark - he recognised there was good in him. Mark had actually quit the job – had gone there, and then quit. We don't know why he quit. Maybe he was just homesick, wanted to go home - he was quite a young guy. He could have quit because he was upset that the leadership transition had taken place - that Paul was in charge (who was a pretty tough man and a driver), rather than Barnabas. Or it could have been that he just was afraid, that the work ahead was hard; but in the end he left - and obviously they didn't approve of him leaving.

Later on he got reconnected again, and wanted to go back with them, but Paul said: no way, this is a quitter. Barnabas said: yes way, because I see he could step back up and recover. He got two men of God in argument over one another - one saying: no, I don't have quitters in my team; and the other saying: listen, he's got potential. If we believe in him, and work with him, we can get him back up on board and get him going. He can get through this.

There was a huge contention over this issue, and later on you'll find if you read the story, what happened is, Barnabas took Mark under his wing, under his arm, he discipled him, he worked with him, he got him back up on his feet; and later Paul writes and he said: “can you send Mark to me, he's profitable for me and for the ministry”.

Barnabas epitomises what exhortation, or comfort, from a Bible perspective, looks like. It's a person filled with the Holy Ghost, who's got faith in their heart to believe God can do great things in people, and in his own life. It's a person who's got a generous heart; and it's a person who loves people, and includes them.

When Paul wanted to exclude him, he included him and gathered him up, and got him engaged in ministry. That is the work of the church, that's everyone's work. When Mark failed, Barnabas put his arms around, came alongside him, and said: Mark, I know you quit on us, but you know what? I still believe in you. Come on, you can get over this. I forgive you. Let's get you going again, and got him back going.

That is the work of encouragement. When people fail, to come around them, help them back up on their feet, get them re-engaged in the work of God

Hebrews 3:13 “Exhort one another daily” - become a Barnabas.

Closing Prayer

Father, we just thank You for Your word to us. Thank You Lord, that You encourage us, and lift us. We pray for the spirit of encouragement to come upon every person in this church.

I want to ask you just a couple of questions: