“… with steadfast purpose”
One of the early converts after the day of Pentecost was a man called Barnabas; we are not told all that much about him but what we are told is most interesting. At the end of Acts 4 we read of a Levite, one of the priestly tribe, named Joseph
“who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement) (who) … sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet”.
It is evident from today’s Acts 11 that Barnabas became very useful in the Lord’s work.
“After the death of Stephen those who were scattered because of the persecution … travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus (Barnabas was a Cypriot) speaking the word (but) to no one except the Jews” (verse 19).
“The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad and exhorted (encouraged) them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (verses 22,23).
“A great many people were added to the Lord” (verse 24)
at this time – so then
“Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they … taught a great many people” (verses 25,26).
Then a famine arose which must have particularly affected those in Jerusalem, so
“the disciples (in Antioch), determined, everyone according to his ability to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so … by the hand of Barnabas and Saul” (verses 29,30).
True believers today need the equivalent of Barnabas among them, ones who “remain faithful … with steadfast purpose”. Do you remember how Paul concluded 1 Corinthians 15? Memorise this verse,
“Therefore my beloved brothers. Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain”.
To this we can add the closing words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes which we also read today,
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”.
How close now is that judgement!