Barnabas was godly, but not always.
AUGUST 26, 2021
Barnabas was godly, but not always. Let’s talk on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown, he’s an author, broadcaster and seminary professor who is sick a phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking still in the fourth chapter of Acts and the last chapter where Luke says.
Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.
In other words, the Christians and the church looked out for one another. They cut slack for one another. And I want you to note one thing in that paragraph, the last paragraph of the fourth chapter of Acts. It says this.
Thus Joseph, who was sur-named by the apostles Barnabas.
And we’re going to hear more about him. And I’m going to tell you more in a minute.
called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field which belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostle’s feet.
Is that wonderful or what. Is Barnabas a hero or what. Is he a saint or what. Is he something else? Yeah, he really is something else. Now, we’re going to talk more about it when we get there. But if you’ll go to the 15th chapter of Acts and the last part of the 15th chapter of Acts, Paul and Barnabas had a fight. And so Barnabas was godly, but he wasn’t always. Paul and Barnabas, now these are two of the major leaders in the early church. I mean, these are the guys that you look up to. These are the people who are ordained to lead the early church in it’s incredible growth in the entire world. And they couldn’t even work together. You say, why are you doing this, Steve? I didn’t do it. God did it. And you know why God did it, because he wanted to make us realistic Christians. He wanted to make us merciful Christians. He wanted to make us wise Christians. And so in the book of Acts, as Luke explained some what happens in the early church, he doesn’t wear rose colored glasses. He doesn’t say, look how wonderful they are. People are always saying, I want to go back to the way it was in the early church. No, you really don’t. I mean, they had the same problems you have, they were sinners, just like you are sinners. They were people who struggled just the way you struggled. They had their doubts, just the way you have your doubts. And Luke is very clear to point that out. And because he does, you see the purpose of God. And the purpose of God is to make us honest and authentic and real and gracious. You know why we’re to be gracious. And you find that in that final paragraph.
And great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now this is the 13th verse and here it comes sports fans.
And great grace was upon them.
Not because Barnabas was godly all the time, he wasn’t. Not because Peter was godly all the time, he wasn’t. In fact, Paul called him a hypocrite and that’s in Scripture. Not because people were perfect, but because they were his. Alright, I’m finished with the fourth chapter. Let’s go to the fifth chapter of Acts in our continuing study. This is not funny. It’s sad, but it has, it has a humorous side to it.
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds and he brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back a part of the proceeds from that land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God” when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear
Well, I guess so.
great fear came up on all who heard it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
But it doesn’t stop there. I mean, it gets worse, listen.
After an interval, about three hours, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Hark, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out too.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young man came and they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came up on the whole church and upon all who heard these things.
Next week, we’re going to spend a long time, looking at that story. And I was just thinking, if I was still a pastor and it was stewardship Sunday, when we were trying to raise money for the budget of the church. Or on the other hand, if we were having a building program and having trouble meeting the bills, this would be my text. I would use this text and I would say, now I’m not saying that God’s going to kill you if you don’t give, but you ought to be very, very careful. And then I would take up a collection, and then God would probably strike me dead, because that’s not what this is all about. This is not a stewardship lesson, it’s a discipleship lesson. It’s not a lesson on how bad things will happen to you, if you don’t do good things. That’s not the Christian faith. Good things happen to people who have done bad things. And that’s called grace and mercy, and that’s at the heart of the Christian faith. And this text that I just read to you, doesn’t contradict that. It’s talking about discipline and faithfulness and the importance of that sort of thing. And I don’t know about you, but if I had been Luke, I probably would not have included this story in the book of Acts. I mean, it is, you got to admit, it is a bit much. I mean, it is over the top, you’ve got to admit. You know, when God kills off two people, because they lied in a stewardship campaign. But there’s something else going on here. Something that is very important for Christians to remember. And that is when God calls us to himself, he calls us to follow him, for the sake of the world and for our own sakes. And for his sake. As you know, I’m not a big person on discipling. I don’t like that word. I get asked by young men all the time, Dr. Brown, will you disciple me? And I say, are you out of your mind? Of course I won’t disciple you. The most scary thing that I can think of in the world, is for me to disciple people and have them like me, that would be awful. I want people to be like Jesus. And so I generally say to them, I won’t desciple you, but I will be your friend. And that means, I’ll forgive you and love you, but it means that you will forgive me and you will love me and we’ll join hands and we’ll walk together with Jesus. But, with all of that being said, disciple is a good word. Back when we had this CB radio, some of you don’t even remember what that is. It was kind of a craze for a while and we all had them and we had an handles and my handle was disciple. And, so I think that’s a good word. It’s just sometimes misused. And so, next week, and we don’t have time today, but we’ll do it next week and Pete will be in on Friday, tomorrow and we’ll spend the whole time answering questions, but next week, we’re going to look at discipling. What it means to be a disciple of Jesus and how he has called us to follow him, to go where he goes, to love where he loves, to weep where he weeps, to laugh where he laughs. And to stand for him in a world that needs to know. Oh, guys I’m out of time. I’d like to preach this sermon, but I got to go. So you take what I taught you and you think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Another great week of digging into Acts. And remember if you miss any episode or just want to revisit something you heard, you can always access all of our shows anytime for free at keylife.org. Don’t forget tomorrow is Friday Q&A. Be sure to tune in, to hear what challenging questions Steve and Pete will answer. And Hey, while you’re here, can I gently remind you of something, whatever you’re facing right now, Jesus identifies with you. How can we know that? Because if you recall in John 11, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, that Lazarus is dying. And Jesus quite frankly, takes his time getting there. And Lazarus dies. When Jesus finally arrives, the sisters accused him, if you had been here, he wouldn’t have died. You know, we accuse him like that sometimes, don’t we? But the fact is Jesus is soon weeping, because he knows what it’s like. Well, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called When Tears Are All That’s Left. If you’re going through it right now, then please call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. And we’ll send you that whole sermon on CD for free. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail it, send it to
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