BE ENCOURAGED BY THE SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT!

I. By Jesus, the Son of God

II. By Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement


Acts 11:19-26 19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in

connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,

telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from

Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also,

telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was

with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent

Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace

of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord

with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and

faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then

Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he

brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with

the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called

Christians first at Antioch.


In the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior, dear Christian friends,

Mother’s Day weekend and a Scripture text about encouragement seem to be a

match made in heaven. What mothers don’t need encouraging as they carry out their life-

giving, life-guiding, life-nurturing, life-protecting role for their children? What mothers

haven’t spent their entire lives as encouragers in the lives of their children and others and

are deserving of some special recognition this weekend? Here is a good story to look at

both sides of this encouragement coin.

A man stopped at a flower shop to order flowers to be wired to his mother who

lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of the car he noticed a young girl sitting on

the curb sobbing. When he asked her what was wrong, she replied, "I wanted to buy a

red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs three

dollars." The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me, I'll buy you a rose." He bought

the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's flowers. As they were leaving he

offered the girl a ride home. She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mom." She

directed him to the place she wanted to go and was he ever surprised when they arrived—

the cemetery, where she placed the rose on her mother’s freshly dug grave! The man

returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the

two hundred miles to his mother's house! Even in death, one mother’s work of

encouragement in her daughter’s life continued to bring blessings so that another mother

was encouraged by her son’s visit and gift!

Whether you are a mother who needs encouragement or anyone here today who

needs to be encouraged, I have two more accounts of encouragement for you. These

come from two men mentioned in today’s text. So, BE ENCOURAGED BY THE SON

OF ENCOURAGEMENT! I. By Jesus, the Son of God and II. By Barnabas, the Son of

Encouragement.

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with

Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only

to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch

and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.

The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned

to the Lord.

It was the message of Jesus, the Son of God, that brought the most important

encouragement to the most people. Eyewitnesses of Jesus risen from the dead were now

running for their lives as religious persecutors were intent on capturing or killing them.

As they scattered some seventy to two hundred to two hundred sixty miles away from

Jerusalem, which in those days was a huge undertaking, they recounted to many new

groups of people the events that had happened in the Jewish Holy City and the nearby

towns during the past generation.

They told of the miraculous virgin birth of a baby named Jesus, accompanied by

an angelic chorus announcing it to nearby shepherds. They recounted Jesus’ messages of

the kingdom of heaven and the miracles that could only be done by a King from heaven.

They proclaimed the emotional high of Jesus’ Palm Sunday entrance, the deflating lows

of Thursday’s arrest and Friday’s death by crucifixion and the surprising disbelief and

high excitement of Jesus’ Sunday resurrection from the dead. They connected the Old

Testament laws and prophecies to the life and work of Jesus who fulfilled them all.

This good news about the Lord Jesus was encouraging for the Jews in the

outlying areas who were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Messiah to fulfill God’s

promises. It was also encouraging for the Greeks who knew virtually nothing about a

Savior from sin because they didn’t know they needed one. They relied heavily on their

wisdom for everything they needed, but now they were being told of a heaven which was

theirs by God’s grace alone through faith alone, apart from their own ingenuity or good

deeds. So, we are told, a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

As both Jews and Greeks were told the good news about the Lord Jesus and

were encouraged in faith and life for now and for eternity, so the same thing happens for

us! We are worthy of condemnation to hell because of our sins, but we are encouraged

by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection which won our forgiveness and accomplished our

salvation. We are saddened when a loved one dies, yet encouraged that through Jesus’

work and promise that all who believe in him have a place in Paradise. We are depressed

when the word “cancer” is used in our doctor’s diagnosis, but we are encouraged by the

Son of God’s permanent presence in our lives and promise to work in all things for our

good (Ro 8:28).


When you think about how to thank the Son of God for his encouragement and

salvation, let another son of encouragement set an example for you. News of this

reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, 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. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him,

he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the

church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians

first at Antioch.

His name was Joseph, but for some reason, the apostles called him Barnabas (Ac

4:36), which means Son of Encouragement. This was a fitting name for what we are told

he did here in Antioch. The Scriptures also teach us that he “sold a field and brought

the money” (Ac 4:37) as an offering to the Lord; he convinced the apostles to accept as a

co-worker Saul turned Paul; he accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey to make

sure the good news of Jesus was spread.

When we become selfish with our monies, this Son of Encouragement can

encourage us, by example, to give faithfully and generously of our offerings. When we

see fellow Christians at odds with one another, this Son of Encouragement can encourage

us to act as mediators and help bring resolution to conflict. When we are told to be Jesus’

witnesses, this Son of Encouragement can encourage us to speak the good of Jesus to

others, to pray for its spread throughout the world and to support our missions and

missionaries with our offerings.

How will you be a Son (or Daughter) of Encouragement in the lives of others? As

you seek to encourage others, consider this story:

Two men were seriously ill and occupied the same room in the hospital. One of

them was lying in the bed near the only window in their room. Every day he was allowed

to spend some time sitting up in his bed to help drain the fluid from his lungs. The other

man was forced to spend all his days flat on his back.

They talked a lot about everything. Any time the first man was sitting by the

window, he described in vivid detail whatever was outside the window: a park with a

beautiful lake on which were many ducks and swans, children joyfully playing, couples

walking arm-in-arm among colorful flowers and a stunning city skyline.

One night, the man next to the window died peacefully. After they removed the

body, the distraught roommate asked if he could be moved next to the window. The

nursing staff agreed and kindly made the switch. When they left, the man slowly and

painfully propped himself up on one elbow and took a look at the world outside. He was

stunned to find out the window faced the blank wall of another building.

When he told his nurse about this major surprise and how his roommate made it

seem like there were so many beautiful things outside the window, she added to his

astonishment by telling him the deceased roommate was a blind man. She said, “He

probably did all of this just to encourage you.”

As you have been encouraged by Jesus, the Son of God, and Barnabas, the Son of

Encouragement, so “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Th 5:11).




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