The Church Sanctioned by Jerusalem: Part 2 of 2

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

Barnabas emphasized dedication of the heart as he taught the people the Word of God. The phrase “cleave (cling) unto the Lord” does not suggest they were to “keep themselves saved.” The same grace that saves us can also keep us (1 Co. 15:10{14]; Heb. 13:9{15]). The phrase reminds us of Joshua’s admonition to Israel in Joshua 22:25{16]. To “cleave unto the Lord” includes loving the Lord, walking in His ways, obeying His Word, and serving Him wholeheartedly. It means that we belong to Him alone and that we cultivate our devotion to Him. “No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24).

People like Barnabas are always needed by the church. They are the peacemakers, the go-betweens who seek no glory for themselves but only seek to bring out the best in others. But the “would-be” Barnabases of today need to heed a further lesson from this outstanding biblical figure. Any Barnabas wants everyone to be happy, but sometimes it is simply not possible to please everyone without serious compromise of one’s basic convictions. Barnabas found that out later in Antioch when, in order to placate the conservative Jewish Christians “from James” (Jerusalem), he withdrew from table fellowship with those very Gentile-Christian converts we see him here witnessing to so enthusiastically (Gal. 2:11-13{10]).

Scripture reference and special notes

{1] (Acts 4:36) And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

{2] (Acts 4:37) Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

{3] (Acts 9:27) But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

{4] (Acts 11:2) And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

{5] (Luke 23:50) And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was a good man, and a just:

{6] (Acts 6:5) And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

{7] (Acts 11:23) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

{8] There is a Greek wordplay in the words “grace” and “joy.” Coming from the same root, the relationship is obvious: one who experiences grace is filled with joy.

{9] (Acts 15:36-40) And some days after Paul said unto

Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

{10] (Gal. 2:11-13) 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.

{11] (Acts 8:14-17) Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

{12] (Acts 11:20) And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

{13] (Acts 11:24) For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

{14] (1 Co. 15:10) But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

{15] (Heb. 13:9) Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

{16] (Jos. 22:25) For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD.

17 (Gal. 3:13) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

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