From what I read in the Bible, I think that Barnabas would be someone with whom I could really get along.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that he’d get along with me very well.

Like computer dating services, just because there appears to be compatibility, that doesn’t mean that two people are going to hit it off.

I may like what I see in Barnabas, but he may not like what he sees in me.

Anyway, Barnabas gives every indication of being a very good person, and an exceptional servant of God.

His name comes up 28 times in the New Testament, most often in the Book of Acts.

He is not mentioned in any of the Gospels, so obviously, Acts 4 is his first reference.

Five times in three of Paul’s Epistles Barnabas is mentioned,

And because there are no qualifying statements,

And because they spent so much time together early in Paul’s ministry,

There is little doubt that all the Bible references are to the same man.

His name comes up in seven different chapters in the Book of Acts, so we are going to be referring to him from time to time as long as we continue this study.

But this may be the only message in this series which is devoted entirely to Barnabas.

We won’t, this evening be referring to all the upcoming references,

But this will likely be the only message dedicated completely to this good man.

And why are we looking at Barnabas?

Well, first of all, since he is mentioned more than two dozen times, as Bible students we are obligated to study him at least once in a while.

And secondly, I think that if I was more like Barnabas, he might like me a little better.

Here is one of the characters of the Bible who could do us a lot of good.

Thinking primarily about these two verses, let’s think about the MAN, the GIFT and the REASON.

The MAN, Barnabas.

The name “Barnabas” is rather unique, as I’ve already suggested.

Although you might tend to disagree with me, “Joses” was not quite as unique.

Depending on the expert that you are consulting, Joses is a contraction of either Joseph or Josiah.

Both of those names were relatively common in that day.

In fact, one of the brethren of the Lord Jesus was named Joses.

“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”

And, in case you are wondering, no, this couldn’t be the same Joses.

One of the interesting things that we see in the New Testament from time to time, is creation and application of nicknames or surnames.

Sometimes this was because the original name was so common.

That is certainly why WE have first and last names, and sometimes one, two or three additional names.

Generally speaking sometime in the past our great, great grandfather, whose name was John,

John, who was the town blacksmith, began to be called John, the smith.

This became so common that eventually he was John Smith.

Or if John was one of those hated anabaptists, he might have eventually been called John Baptist.

I don’t know if it was deliberate or just out of fun, but someone started calling Joses “Barnabas.”

But his name wasn’t “Barn-a-bas,” it was “Bar-na-bas.”

As you know “bar” is the Hebrew word for “son.”

Bartimaeus was the “The son of Timaeus,” and Bar-mizpah means “son of the commandment.”

Barnabas means “son of consolation.”

Some of the self-proclaimed experts claim that it’s more accurately “the son of exhoration.”

In either case it seems to have something to do with this man’s ministry.

And most dictionaries and commentaries say that refers to the way that he ministered the Bible to people.

They say that it was a testimony to his eloquence.

Barnabas was a man who had a certain presence about him.

He was the sort of person who automatically enjoyed a certain kind of respect.

When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, the people there called Paul Mercurius, but Barnabas was the thought of as Jupiter, the king of the gods.

I picture this man as having preaching style that soothed and educated those who had ears to hear.

But Paul had a preaching style that excited and drove men to action.

And in the work of missions, it was Paul’s ministry that was more effective among the unsaved.

As to his PARENTAGE, Barnabas was a Levite.

His family was the same as that of Moses and Aaron.

Although he was not of the branch of that tribe that were to be the priests in Israel,

In the past his family had other ministries in and around the temple.

But at some point in time, this man’s family had moved to the island of Cyprus.

Cyprus is the first of the large islands in the Mediterranean as you go west from Israel.

It was also the first place to which Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey.

How long this man’s family had lived on Cyprus, we have no idea, but it may have been generations.

I get the impression that the family had become wealthy, but there is nothing in the Bible that declares that.

Another reason why I think that there was money in the family, is because Barnabas is a relative of John Mark.

In Colossians Paul refers to Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas.

Both Mark and Barnabas were apparently known to the church, and we don’t see any others with those names, so we conclude that they were related and spent their Thanksgivings together.

Mark’s family had a house in Zion which was large enough for many of the church to meet in.

This family seemed to have a little bit of money.

What about the character of this character?

The best that I can do is let the Bible speak for itself.

In Acts 11, we read that many of the church in Jerusalem were scattered abroad because of persecution.

And many of those people settled in Antioch, Syria.

The Jerusalem church wanted to make sure that the brethren in Antioch were properly established and taught, so they chose one of their own people to go up.

The man they selected was Barnabas “for he was a good man, & full of the Holy Ghost and of faith

The Lord greatly blessing his work in Antioch “and much people was added unto the Lord.”

The word “good” in this case takes us back to what we read here in Acts 4.

It refers to the goodness, generosity and charitability of his heart.

He was a man who gave; he gave of himself and he gave of his possessions.

And he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Does that mean that the Lord worked miracles through Barnabas?

Well, it doesn’t say that, but it is not out of the question.

But more than likely it takes us back to verse 31:

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”

The Holy Spirit proved His presence by empowering Barnabas’ ministry.

He was also a man of great faith, risking himself for the name of the Lord.

We also can see other things about the character of this man.

For example, the Holy Spirit gave him spiritual discernment.

When the rest of the church was afraid of the newly regenerated persecutor, Saul of Tarsus,

Barnabas recognized the man’s genuine conversion

And he was willing to put his reputation on the line in defending and using him.

Barnabas apparently could see that Saul could be a great servant of God if he was given the opportunity to grow and mature.

You might say that he became Paul’s intercessor before the church.

And then as Paul’s abilities and opportunities grew, Barnabas was willing to take a more secondary roll in the work.

One of the interesting things is to pull up Barnabas’ name on the computer and see it’s relationship to Paul or Saul.

In Acts 11, 12 and the first part of 13 we always read, “Barnabas and Saul,” but then as the first missionary journey continues, more and more often we read Saul and Barnabas or Paul and Barnabas.

I can’t tell you that I know that it was without pain to Barnabas, but I’m going to assume so.

And then we come to the John Mark situation.

Nephew Mark traveled with Barnabas and Saul when they first left Antioch for Cyprus and Asia Minor.

But for some unexplained reason Mark quit and went home, hurting somewhat the rest of the trip.

When it was suggested that a second missionary journey be commenced, Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul refused.

They had a big fight that ended with Paul taking Silas and Barnabas taking Mark off in a different direction.

I know that a lot of people severely criticize Barnabas for his choice of Mark and causing the fight.

But I’m not sure that he caused the fight, and I’m not sure that he was necessarily wrong in choosing his kin.

It was not an act of nepotism, but a genuine effort to rescue a young man’s ministry.

Later we see that Paul commends both Barnabas and Mark.

I tend to think that Barnabas saw the potential in Mark, just as he had seen it in Paul.

I wonder if Barnabas didn’t actually save the future ministry of the young man Mark.

Was Barnabas perfect? I wouldn’t suggest that for a moment.

Even if the Bible didn’t say a negative thing about the man, I know men well enough to know that he had his faults.

But the Bible does mention one thing.

When Paul and Barnabas were ministering in Antioch more and more Gentiles were coming to Christ.

Some the Jews, especially those of Jerusalem had a hard time with that.

Simply put, they were bigots.

Jews have often cried out against the bigotry of others, but down through the years, they have been as sinful, or even more sinful, in their bigotry than the Gentiles.

When the church in Jerusalem sent Peter and a few others up to Antioch, they refused to sit down and eat with the Gentile believers.

This forced Paul to directly and severely rebuked Peter.

Unfortunately, Peter was not the only guilty man.

“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

So Barnabas was not perfect,

And he was not always surrendered to the Holy Spirit,

But if I had the opportunity, I’d take a dozen like him in my church any day.

And what about Barnabas’ GIFT?

“And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas … having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

As I said on Wednesday, I have lot of questions about this giving.

For example, why was Barnabas’ singled out in his generosity and gift?

Was this the largest gift given, or was he the most well-known among the big givers?

Was this the first gift of its kind, and did it establish a presedent?

And then there are other kinds of questions:

Where was this land, for example?

Was this property on Cyprus, or in Israel?

If it was on the island, then it was certainly not being occupied by Barnabas.

And since there is no mention of a house on this land,

Did that mean that Barnabas had other property which was using as a residence?

If this property was Cypriot that certainly doesn’t diminish the generosity of the gift.

There should have been no one in the church who thought that it was Barnabas’ duty to liquidate it and give that money to the church.

I don’t care where the property was, this was a great gift and worthy of the praise of the church.

I don’t care how much property that Barnabas had remaining, it was still a wonderful gift.

And what was the REASON behind the gift.

Well, as I said on Wednesday, I don’t know for sure.

We don’t know the arguments or the logic that was used by the church.

And we don’t know what was in this man’s head.

But I think that we can surmise some things which might mean some lessons to us.

Barnabas sold this property and laid the money at the Apostles’ feet because he felt that he didn’t need it.

And that raises the question: how much of the things that we possess do we really need?

Barnabas was a man of faith the scripture says.

So does this mean that he expected to see the Lord Jesus return right away?

As one of the missionary letters that we read Wednesday said, the return of the Lord is sure a lot nearer today, than it was in Barnabas’ day.

Have you ever met someone in need, a missionary, or a neighbor, and your heart went out to them, so you reached into your wallet and took every dollar in there and gave it to that person?

Barnabas might have said, “Hey, I don’t have need of this right now,

And what I’ll need tomorrow, I know that the Lord is going to give me.

Here take the note on my Cyprian property.”

Secondly, he probably gave the church this money, because he knew that other people really did need it.

First, there were saints in the church who were in desperate need.

And then there was the work of the ministry as well.

Barnabas had the heart of a servant, not of a master.

He was becoming a minister of the gospel, and didn’t need to be encumbered with the problems of either debt or ownership.

Because he was a man with Christian character and because he was a true servant of the Lord,

He was willing give away what he possessed in the way of earthly things,

And He was ready to trust the Lord take care of him.

He was the kind of man that we need in the work of the Lord today.