Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
CROSS REFERENCES FOR FULL-TEXT STUDY, PART 4:
receive. Ac *9:26-28, 43. *11:25, 26. *16:15. 17:7. 2 C +*6:9. 7:2, 15. Ga 6:1. Ph 2:29. Col 4:10. 1 T 5:17. Phm 12, 17. He 13:1, 2. 1 P 2:17. 3:8. +*4:8-10. 1 J 3:14. 2 J %10. 3 J %8-10.
CROSS REFERENCE TEXTS
Acts 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
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.
Acts 9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
Acts 9:43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
It can be hard at any time to enter the fellowship of a new church. It is even harder if you start out with the reputation Saul (who became Paul) had!
In our day I find that churches, large or small, are not purposely structured for fellowship. That needs to be corrected, for this problem is a great hindrance to the furtherance of the Gospel.
How to correct this problem? That is answered by the next cross references, and is the heart of the Biblical solution.
Acts 11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
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.
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.
Acts 11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
The solution is what I call the Barnabas Factor. God often uses people in our lives to encourage us in our faith. God uses people to literally work us in to the fellowship of other believers.
This probably cannot happen in any church that is not purposely structured for fellowship. We don’t need “purpose-driven churches” today. We need “structured for fellowship churches” to effectively grow and deepen the faith of the body of Christ, following the pattern described in this passage in Acts.
Barnabas possessed the spiritual qualities to carry out the ministry of encouraging believers in their faith.
Now just where can we get such men and women today?
They don’t grow on trees. They grow from individuals who immerse themselves in the careful, regular study of God’s Word for themselves.
Surely Barnabas was divinely equipped, for he was “sent” by the Jerusalem church. But to qualify to be “sent” he must have developed the qualities needed for the task. He was a good man, and so had a sterling character as an example of the believers. He was full of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit. He was full of faith. He was very observant, and recognized the presence and work of the grace of God in others, whether in individuals or a congregation.
Barnabas was glad to see spiritual fruit. He was not jealous of the spiritual progress of others, but rejoiced with them. He encouraged others in their faith and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord. He encouraged others to be faithful to the Lord. He encouraged them to be steadfast in their faith. Thus he encouraged them to keep on believing, to persevere.
The clearly manifest result was that many people were added to the Lord.
Is that going on in your local fellowship? Or is your church a place that cannot be said to be a place of fellowship?
Pastors and local leaders in the congregation must learn to develop believers (including themselves) who can in turn exercise the Barnabas Factor in the local congregation to make it truly a fellowship of believers.
How can you learn to exercise the Barnabas Factor? Study the Scriptures that form the cross references I have given for Romans 15:7. The Bible states that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That word of God today is found written in the Bible.
You cannot grow spiritually if you are living spiritually on a starvation diet! Get into God’s Word daily for yourself. No matter how busy you might be, you certainly can take twenty minutes a day to read consecutively in the New Testament. I suggest that is where you should start, and build your faith from there by following the many suggestions I have shared here for doing Real Bible Study.