Recently in my Sunday School class, we have been studying the life of Barnabus. What a unique man in Scripture he is. One of the greatest biographies that has ever been written was written of him in Acts 11:23-24: 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 was added unto the Lord.
What a testimony! Only Heaven will reveal how many were added unto the Lord through the ministry of this saint. The Lord used him in a mighty way-and to God be the glory! You cannot study the life of Barnabus without realizing what ministry was heavy on his heart, that of restoration. Just think, without Barnabus, there would be no Apostle Paul. The church at Jerusalem was hesitant in accepting Paul (then Saul) because of his history of persecuting the saints. It was Barnabus, in Acts 9:27, who took him, and brought him in, and commended him to them. He was accepted on the testimony of Barnabus. What influence this man had that a church would trust his word over the many lives wrecked that testified against him. Without Barnabus, there may not have been an apostle Paul and therefore not been all the fruit of his ministry. Then we come to the life of John Mark who had departed from Barnabus and Paul on an earlier missionary trip (Acts 15:36-29). Barnabus was determined to bring John with them on this trip, but Paul refused. The "contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from another..." Who was right, Paul or Barnabus? Well, we know Paul later said this: Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 2 Tim. 4:11
John Mark was restored to the work of the ministry through Barnabus' ministry of reconciliation. We all need to be more like Barnabus. God has given to us all the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). We should be involved in the ministry of reconciliation-which leads me to our next topic. Where is the line between ecclesiastical separation and teaching, warning and correcting, destroying and rebuilding? In our 'churches' today, we have ditches on both side. Some allow anything and everything and are wrong. Some think they are one of the few people/churches that are right and whom God loves; they ostracize themselves from all other 'inferiors'. They too are wrong. We shall examine these things and how they line up with the ministry of reconciliation.