July 14, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"And they sent forth Barnabas...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. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people were added unto the Lord." Acts 11:22-24
Peter had returned to Jerusalem from his call to the house of Cornelius, the Gentile, and was questioned by the "Christian authority" regarding his ministry to those Gentiles. Seeing how the Holy Spirit was so prevalent in power, they rejoiced and were convinced the gospel was for them also. As the preaching of the Word spread, they came to Antioch to the Grecians, and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. When the Christian leaders in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to minister to these new believers. Notice carefully how Barnabas is described: "He was a good man...full of the Holy Spirit...and faith." What a tremendous testimony! Oh, that others could describe us in such a mighty way.
How did Barnabas warrant such a mighty testimony? I believe he had gone through the process of "losing his life, but finding Christ." Jesus said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my Father honor."
The kernel of corn must be placed in the soil, that through its death, it brings forth life. It is not intended to live unto itself, but to surrender its life to be multiplied to countless others. So it is with every believer. "He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it." It is when we abandon our lives and all of our strongholds that we are made alive in Christ. He is to live HIS LIFE in and through us to His glory, and we are to harvest eternal fruit. Barnabas had this experience.
The poem by an unknown author is so true: "The world I thought belonged to me...goods, gold and people, land and sea, Where 'ere I walked beneath God's sky, in those old days, my word was 'I.' Years passed, there flashed my pathway near, a fragment of a vision dear. My former word no more sufficed, and what I said was...'I and Christ.' But, oh the more I looked on Him, His glory grew while mine grew dim; I shrank so small, He towered so high, all I dared to say was...'Christ and I.' Years more, and the vision held its place, and looked me steadily in the face, I speak now in a humbler tone, and what I say is...'CHRIST ALONE.' Not I, but Christ; my self be lost in Thee. And others see Thy life lived out in me, cause me to feel Thy power within me now, while at Thy throne of grace I humbly bow."
Oh, that such a transition would take place in our lives. A radical exchange of our life for His life...reigning supreme! That it may be said of us..."He is a good man...full of the Holy Spirit...and faith."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-07-14
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