Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all…
Barnabas knew that it required quite as much "grace" to go on as it does to begin. And he knew how only they could secure it, by cleaving unto the Lord.
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF A PURPOSE. When there are religious feelings, and convictions, the great thing is to gather them all up to some distinct object. This "purpose" must not be only of the deliberate intention of the mind, but a "purpose of the heart." But then feeling needs a focus. If you wish to keep a thought, turn that thought into action, else it would all evaporate. Give it an object, and it will live. The question then is, what fixed "purpose of heart" can we make for ourselves today? I advise you to determine —
1. That henceforth it shall appear to all men "whose you are and whom you serve."
2. That your besetting sin — temper, or selfishness, or indolence shall be conquered.
3. That you will be more real and earnest in your private devotions.
4. That you will throw more love into daily life, and be more attentive to all home duties.
5. That you will exercise greater care, and more regularity, in your religious duties.
6. That you will undertake some new work for God; become a Sunday school teacher, or a district visitor, etc. Now if you would live for any such purpose, you must be much in prayer. Put less trust in your own good intentions. Be looking up for sustaining grace, for the great gift of perseverance.
II. THE GREAT PURPOSE OF CHRISTIAN LIFE IS TO CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD.
1. This means to be feeling that He is your very life; and to be always trying to make Him closer, and closer. It is God's word for marriage: "A man shall cleave unto his wife."
2. Only remember the power of this "cleaving" comes not from you who "cleave," but from Him who all the while draws and holds you to the "cleaving." He has "apprehended," i.e., "laid hold of you," that you may "lay hold" on Him.
3. Meanwhile, be very jealous of anything coming in to separate you for a moment, for that moment that you are separated from Christ your soul dies!
4. But do not be content even with mere nearness. There must be oneness. If you are really a believer, you are one with the Christ, just as any member in your body is at this moment one with your head. And, oh! what life, strength, safety, heaven is here. Your life is in Him. Where you are, at this moment, He is.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.