Comfort in Times of Trouble (3)
5 May 2013
· Key Verse: 2 Cor. 1:3-4 “…The Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves are comforted of God.”
· Every person experiences times or seasons of pressure, pain, difficulty – it is part of life.
· In face of personal pain it is easy to:
(i) Lose God’s perspective
(iii) Look for ways to comfort ourselves that are destructive
· Comfort =NT3874= to call near, to come alongside and strengthen.
· Example of Jonathan: 1 Sam. 23:16-18. Key ingredients in Comfort.
1) Initiate contact/connection
2) Identify the emotional pain
3) Direct to the Word and Person of God
4) Reassure of personal support
2. Barnabas – The Son of Comfort
· Acts 4:34-37 “And Joseph who also was named Barnabas by the Apostles/which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite from the country of Cyprus having land sold it…”
· Acts 11:24 “For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.”
· Barnabas’ name is mentioned 30 times in the Bible – more often than most of the Apostles.
· Tradition is that he was one of the 70 sent out by Jesus in Lk.10:1
Barnabas = NT921 = Son of Prophecy
= Son of Comfort NT3874= Parakletos – to come alongside
Jesus used this same word to describe the Holy Spirit – Comforter. Jn14:16
He so manifested this aspect of the Holy Spirit he was given this name.
“Son of the Comforter” – identified by name as revealing what God is like.
· Key Qualities
i) Generosity – he had a heart for people in need and was generous in helping.
ii) Filled with Holy Ghost – he was not just a nice person, he was highly spirit empowered.
iii) Filled with Faith – He had deep personal trust in God and His Word – spoke faith.
3. Barnabas Encouraged Paul
· Acts 9:26-27 “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples but they were all afraid of him and did not believe he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the Apostles.”
· He overcame prejudice and fear of Paul
· He initiated connection with Paul and put his own reputation at risk.
· He recognised potential and the call of God on Paul.
· He facilitated connection and spoke on his behalf.
· Acts11:23-26 Then Barnabas departed Tarsus to seek Saul.
· He exhorted the church and built their faith.
· He saw how Paul’s giftings could strengthen the church.
· He sought out Saul and reactivated his giftings.
· He included him in his team, discipling new believers.
Acts13:2 “separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
· Barnabas was the team leader – vs2:vs7
· He saw the greater gift on Paul and deferred leadership to him vs13,15:2
· He was secure in his own calling and committed to bringing others forward.
4. Barnabas Encouraged Mark
Acts 15:37-39 “Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.”
· Mark had formerly been part of his team. (Acts12:25)
· Mark had ‘departed’ from them. Depart =NT868= withdraw, desert.
· Unclear why he left? - homesick
- reaction to leadership change
- Fear of hardship ahead
· Barnabas encouraged Mark:
He recognised the potential in him
He forgave him for previous failure
He spoke up on Marks behalf
He stood with Mark and took him under his wing
He imparted faith and enabled Mark to be restored to ministry with Paul
· 2 Tim.4:11 “Get Mark and bring him with you for he is useful to me for ministry.”
5. Are you a Comforter?
1 Cor. 14:31 “For you all can prophesy.”
1 Cor. 14:3 “He who prophesies speaks to edification, and exhortation and comfort to men.”
· All of us can be encouragers.
· Heb. 3:13 “Exhort one another daily while it is called today, lest any of you be harden through the deceitfulness of sin.”
· Initiate connection with people intentionally?
· Enter their world through questions, listening and genuine interest?
· Accept them and look for the potential in them not problems?
· Strengthen their faith – confidence in God and His Word?
· Help them fulfil the call of God on their life?
· Be there for them – walk with them.