A NT Example of a Quality Friendship

August 13, 2005

.  Today is our 4th and FINAL study on “Key Elements to Building Quality Friendships”
Input: What have you learned so far, or what have you been reminded of that you need to work harder to be pleasing to God in your friendships? [various answers]
1st week:  John 15 – 4 Keys to Quality Friendships
 Love // Sacrifice // Obedience to the Word // Honest Communication
2nd week:  Proverbs – Wisdom for Quality Friendships [communication, motives for friendship, and the function of a friend – a day-to-day basis!)
3rd week:  Jonathan & David – An OT Example of a Quality Friendship – the foundation of the relationship is so important
TODAY:  Paul & Barnabus – A NT Example of a Quality Friendship
Purpose: To give glory to God in our friendships with each other
- God can be glorified (given the right opinion) because God is a relational being
- He created us in His image and likeness – i.e. with the capacity to establish and develop a relationship with Him and with others
- we can give God glory by the way we show love to our friends // solve problems, etc.
Goal: To strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend God describes
[mention how our ABFs are key assimilation and discipleship tool]
Q: Why do we call what we’re going to do on August 28th, ABF Home Fellowship?
Fellowship = a  close mutual relationship; participation, sharing in; partnership;  contribution  
3.  We want FBC to built on the foundation of knowing God through knowing His Word where he has revealed Himself – and loving our God and loving the people around us!
- that is a fruit of the Spirit and it takes humility, submission, and a disciplined life of walking with the Lord (“dwelling in the Vine” as we discussed last week)!
4. Open your bibles to Acts 13 [hold your place there, we’ll come back to it later]


I.  The Beginning of a Friendship


A.  Rooted in Character
- godly friendships are rooted in your character and the character of your friend!
- the first mention of Barnabas is Acts 4:36-37:
 Acts 4:36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement).  37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Q: What does that tell you about this guy? – he lived out what his name meant! – doer, a man of action
- the next time you hear about Barnabas in Acts 9:27-30
 Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took hold of him [Saul – now converted] and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
- the was a reference to Paul’s character and heart for the Lord – Barnabas recognized it!
- in v. 30 – Saul (Paul) is sent to Tarsus (probably for his protection at this point and the need for him to minister in that city)
- a more detailed description of Barnabas occurs in Acts 11:22-25
B.  Personal Initiative – Acts 11:25-26
 Acts 11:25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
- Barnabas took the initiative to look for his friend and co-laborer for Christ – we’re not sure exactly how much time had passed from Acts 9:30 till 11:26
Point:  Barnabas sought out Saul
Q: How much initiative are you taking to seek out other people who love the Lord and are demonstrating their character/passion for Christ?
Q: What do you think was Barnabas’ motive – based on v. 26?
C.  Right Motivation:  Ministry – Acts 11:26
- Barnabas was not being selfish or seeing what he could get, but MINISTRY
>  they ‘met with the church’ – ‘taught considerable numbers of people’
> their discipleship efforts yielded . . . “Christians” or little Christs
- they went on a mission 11:28-30 – the fact that these two guys were trusted with the money (gift to those in the famine) speaks well of their character and earned trust
Q: What is your goal in friendships and are you and your friends ‘advancing the ball’ in the kingdom of Christ?
Q: Are you producing any disciples?
- skip to 12:25
 Acts 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.

Lesson: * Good friends don’t just start things – they finish them (‘they had fulfilled their mission’)


II.  God’s Part in Developing Friendships


* Observations from 13:1-2
> 13:2 --  while they were ministering – they weren’t sitting – they were doing something – there is something to said of people who are actively engaged in ministry
A.  The Holy Spirit recognizes good people and brings them together.
- God wanted these guys to ‘work’ together – He put them in the same setting and sent them out to do the work
 work = task, occupation, and undertaking
Point:  Common ground and/or context in which to build this relationship while being effective for God
- God continues to direct these men’s lives and bring them in contact with a man who was opposing them (v. 8)
- v. 9 reveals a little more about the character of Paul and the kind of person he was, that leads up to v. 13
- while they served on common ground . . .
B.  God uses people in different ways.
- in v. 13, there is a transition – even in the emphasis of this relationship
- Luke (the author of Acts) was inspired by the Holy Spirit to put the focus on PAUL . . . and his companions (it included Barnabas, but there is a shift in emphasis) – look at 13:42
 Acts 13:42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.
- it’s the same in 13:43, 46, 50; 15:2, 35, 36 – Paul is 1st mentioned
Note: The exception to this is 14:12-14 and this is more in line with what the people were saying about them – declaring Barnabas to be Zeus (the god) and Paul the speaker
C.  God wants us to communicate the same message: Truth and Grace
- these two men boldly spoke the truth wherever they went, but they also focused on the grace of God (13:43)
Grace = God giving us we do not deserve
- in 13:46, they ‘boldly’ speak out /stating the truth, and that leads to the fact that . . . .
D.  God allows your friendship to be tested at times! [Read 13:46-52]
- the persecution didn’t stop them – they dusted off their feet and kept moving
- that time of testing continued in chp. 14 – in Iconium – they faced it again
- look at 14:12 – the people of the city viewed them as a god and the chief speaker and were wanting to offer sacrifices to them (that would idolatry had they done that!)
> Paul and Barnabas responded with the truth (14:15-17)
- in v. 19 – they STONED PAUL and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead [not sure why they didn’t stone Barnabas – maybe v. 12 . . . viewing him as Zeus, a god]
- but Barnabas was there for his friend (v. 20)
E.  God wants us to keep our focus on His plan and purpose for our lives – 14:21, 15:1-2
- even facing the persecution, nothing changed – if anything, they did what they did with more zeal
Note the result:  14:21 – “they made many disciples!”
- these friends were so committed in their calling to the point of having to face ‘dissension’ = dispute,  argument, discord; riot; revolt, rebellion – they kept their focus on God’s plan!!
- and it was decided to send them up to Jerusalem to communicate with the Apostles and elders – they went (Acts 15)
> mention the elements of humility and/or submission – wanting to do what was best for the cause
F.  God uses negative circumstances for positive results – Acts 15:36-40 [READ]
- another way of saying this is that God is bigger than our differences!
- 15:36-40 is a good example of stumbling out of the gate – as Paul and Barnabas started out on their new journey, they faces a challenge
* The question seems to be: Who was right?
- the Scripture doesn’t specifically state it, the weight of the evidence favors Paul:
#1: Paul was an Apostle, Barnabas was not – so the argument could be made that Barnabas should have submitted to Paul’s apostolic authority – but ‘position’ does always = right! – Paul was human, imperfect, while the Scriptures he wrote were inspired, not every decision he made was inspiried
#2:  Paul & Silas were commended by the church – not Barnabas and Mark – that was probably more of the church recognizing Paul as the Apostle (referring to #1 above) – the Scripture doesn’t say the church forbid Barnabas and Mark – in this case, the sided with Paul and maybe in one sense “allowed” Barnabas to take Mark and do his way
#3:  Barnabas could have deferred to Paul – it would have been difficult to take along a man that Paul didn’t trust
>  REMEMBER ACTS 14 – Paul got stoned and dragged out of the city – why would he want to have some who ran from the pressure?
‘Yet another of Satan’s attempts to hinder the spread of the gospel backfired.  Now there were two missionary teams where before there had been one. Their impact had doubled.” (MacArthur, Acts 13-28, p. 82)
- Paul and Barnabas eventually reconciled their differences – 1 Cor. 9:6; John Mark later became one of Paul’s co-laborers (Col. 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.
Point: God wants to use us in His kingdom – He doesn’t HAVE to use us, He CHOOSES to use us – are we being like a Paul and Barnabas?  Jonathan & David? . . . Jesus and His Disciples?


ABF Series: Key Ingredients to Quality Friendships
The NT Example of Paul and Barnabas – Acts 13-15
Introduction:
Input:  What have you learned so far, or what have you been reminded of that you need to work harder to be pleasing to God in your friendships?


Purpose: To give glory to God in our friendships with each other
Goal: To strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend God describes

I.  The Beginning of a Friendship
A.  Rooted in _______________

B.  Personal _____________ – Acts 11:25-26

C.  Right Motivation:  _____________ – Acts 11:26


* Good friends don’t just start things – they finish them!
II.  God’s Part in _______________ Friendships
* Observations from 13:1-2


A.  The Holy Spirit recognizes good people and _____________ them together.
 work = task, occupation, and undertaking

B.  God uses people in _____________ ___________.


C.  God wants us to communicate the same message: _____________ and _____________
Grace = God giving us we do not deserve


D.  God allows your friendship to be ______________ at times! [Read 13:46-52]


E.  God wants us to keep our focus on His _______ and _____________ for our lives – 14:21, 15:1-2


F.  God uses ___________ circumstances for _____________ results – Acts 15:36-40

* The question seems to be: Who was right?

#1: Paul was an _____________, Barnabas was not.

#2:  Paul & Silas were ______________ by the church.

#3:  Barnabas could have ___________ to Paul.

‘Yet another of Satan’s attempts to hinder the spread of the gospel backfired.  Now there were two missionary teams where before there had been one. Their impact had doubled.” (MacArthur, Acts 13-28, p. 82)


Lesson: God wants to use us in His kingdom!


ABF Series:  Key Ingredients to Quality Friendships
The NT Example of Paul and Barnabas – Acts 13-15
Introduction:
Input: What have you learned so far, or what have you been reminded of that you need to work harder to be pleasing to God in your friendships?
Purpose: To give glory to God in our friendships with each other
Goal: To strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend God describes
I.  The Beginning of a Friendship
A.  Rooted in Character
 Acts 4:36
 Acts 9:27
B.  Personal Initiative – Acts 11:25-26
 Acts 11:25
C.  Right Motivation:  Ministry – Acts 11:26
 Acts 12:25
* Good friends don’t just start things – they finish them!
II.  God’s Part in Developing Friendships
* Observations from 13:1-2
A.  The Holy Spirit recognizes good people and brings them together.
 work = task, occupation, and undertaking
B.  God uses people in different ways.
 Acts 13:42
C.  God wants us to communicate the same message: Truth and Grace
Grace = God giving us we do not deserve
D.  God allows your friendship to be tested at times! [Read 13:46-52]
E.  God wants us to keep our focus on His plan and purpose for our lives
– 14:21, 15:1-2

 

F.  God uses negative circumstances for positive results – Acts 15:36-40 [READ]
* The question seems to be: Who was right?
#1:  Paul was an Apostle, Barnabas was not.
#2:  Paul & Silas were commended by the church.
#3:  Barnabas could have deferred to Paul.
‘Yet another of Satan’s attempts to hinder the spread of the gospel backfired.  Now there were two missionary teams where before there had been one. Their impact had doubled.” (MacArthur, Acts 13-28, p. 82)

Lesson: God wants to use us in His kingdom!