The Strength of Discipleship
Leading a sinner to Jesus Christ, through the sharing of the Gospel, is one of the most exhilarating moments, but it is only the beginning. The discipleship process is too often overlooked because of the singular emphasis only on the conversion. On the other hand, where would Paul be without Barnabas, where would young Timothy be without Paul, and where would Polycarp be without the Apostle John. Yes, truly there is an inestimable value to the believer teaching and encouraging other believers.
The former persecutor, now turned preacher, faced extreme pressures; not just from his enemies but also from other believers and non-believers. The historical record of Saul, immediately following his Damascus road experience of seeing the risen and exalted Christ, is filled with energy and uncertainty. Yet, one man rises to the occasion and invested his time with Saul to help him take his first steps as a new believer. Yes, Barnabas made a huge difference in Saul’s life.
The fear and obedience of Ananias was an important example regarding the power of the Gospel. The compassion, willingness, and courage of Barnabas is equally an important example regarding the strength of discipleship. What is your view and practice of discipleship?
I. The struggle facing new converts – (Your best life now?)
II. The support faithfully given to new converts –
1. Seek to build relationships with Christ-centered intentions
2. Sacrificially honor others and be ready to meet their needs
3. Saturate your mind with the Word of God
19 and taking food, he was strengthened.
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Saul Escapes from Damascus
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.