Then tidings of these things came to the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas…
I. AUTHENTICATED THE GENUINENESS OF CHRISTIANITY AT ANTIOCH. Vers. 23, 24, shows us that personal Christianity —
1. Is essentially identified with Divine grace. It —
(1) Originates in it. "Of His own will begat He us."
(2) Is sustained by it.
(3) Is a reflection of it.
2. Is an observable fact. Barnabas saw it. It is not an inoperative sentiment, a light under a bushel. It must reveal itself.
(1) The ruling spirit of life is new. There is a new heart. Old things are passed away.
(2) The master purpose of life is new. The aim is not how to serve self or the world, but to glorify God.
(3) The prevailing conduct of life is new. Converted men are about their Father's business.
3. In its extension delights the heart of the good. They know that as it spreads —
(1) The world's happiness will be promoted. It is the only power that works off social, political, and moral evils.
(2) God's character will be revealed. It clears away all that conceals the moral beauty of God.
4. In its development is dependent on personal efforts. Though it originates in Divine grace, it is only kept by cleaving to God.
II. GAVE A NEW NAME TO THE DISCIPLES.
1. Though given in derision —
(1) It towers above every other name.
(2) Represents the highest thinking.
(3) Stands for the Divinest sympathies.
(4) Is the inspiration of the grandest enterprises.
(5) Produces the sublimest characters.
2. Is destined to supersede all other names that have usurped its place.
III. DEVELOPED A NEW SPIRIT OF BENEFICENCE (vers. 27-30). This was —
1. Individual. "Every man." There was no one who did not contribute something.
2. Proportionate. "According to his ability" — not according to what others did or expected.
3. Prompt. They did not postpone it for future consideration.
4. Judicious (ver, 30).
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.