Eternity, Prosperity (14): Sons of Consolation: Be a Barnabas Today
by Eferovo Igho
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Abraham, the father of faith, is known for his bosom or heart that reaches out. We have seen what his household looks like in this series, and we opined that may be one reason among others why the compartment in the underworld that was receiving the dead saints was named after him: that is, Abraham Bosom, the then Paradise in the heart of the earth. We have also seen that Old Testament saints had bosom or heart that reaches out; without which it is doubtful if any then could have gone to Abraham’s bosom (as with the rich man in Lazarus story). And under grace it is much clearer that those that do not have bosom or hearts reaching out, those who say they love God Whom they have not seen, but do not love the brethren (the brethren of Christ) they see, will not make God’s Bosom or heaven or the Paradise above, where all dead saints now go to.
It behooves us therefore to consider our ways. God wants us to be faithful in this matter of unfeigned love of the brethren and holy sharing for our own good. Like Joseph let our bowels or hearts yearn for our brothers (Genesis. 43:30). And like Barnabas let our bowels or hearts yearn for our brothers. We have considered Joseph and some Old Testament saints before now in this series. Barnabas: meaning son of consolation, which all saints are really supposed to be, shall present our lesson presently.
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet” – Acts 4:32-37.
All and Barnabas
‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul’. This is where God commands the blessing: even life for evermore. ‘Neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own’. Yes, this is where God commands the blessing: even life for evermore. ‘They had all things common’: Again, this is where God commands the blessing: even life for evermore. Life for evermore: This is self-evident in the very Scripture. Hear it: ‘And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all’.
So that we don’t miss a serious point there is a repeat telling of what led to that great power and great grace, ‘Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need’. The ‘multitude that believed’, and ‘that were of one heart and of one soul’ is all involved. All of them!
However, a representative example is mentioned: Barnabas! ‘And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet”. If all were involved and one is specifically mentioned, why is it? We really don’t know.
But we want to draw attention to the fact that it is the apostles that surnamed Joses, Barnabas after the manner of the Lord Himself. The Lord named the Zebedees (John and James) Boanerges (sons of thunder) and the saints may all be sons of thunder by extension. The Lord named Simon the son of Jonas, Cephas (a stone); and Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone): A representative name ‘stone’ is, that is! And they (the Apostles) named Joses, Barnabas (son of consolation). And we are all sons of consolation; at least we are supposed to be. And this we think is one lesson narrowing down the one heart, one soul, holy brotherliness and sacrificial giving in those verses to a ‘case study’ of Joses is meant to teach.
We must become sons of consolation, the Spirit of Jesus Christ being the Consolation Himself: He is the Comforter or Consoler. We cannot leave Barnabas alone to be His son. Will you! ‘Of course, no’, you would say. This must therefore be a representative name. Barnabas we all are; Barnabas let us all live! All saints should live so. All saints should live Barnabas: Sons of consolation. For this is where God commands the blessing: Even life for evermore!
This is where God’s great power and God’s great grace abound: Life for evermore. This is where He adds to the Church daily those that were being saved: Life for evermore. This is where there is great power and great grace to keep the old converts in Him: Life for evermore. This is the sweet fellowship that ushers men into eternity with God: even life for evermore!
The role and place of Barnabas’ or sons of consolation in the Church is pivotal in the New Testament pages, and within years the Gospel got to Europe. But you really could not notice millionaires in their midst yet the Gospel moved like wildfire and attended with great power and great grace. Though no visible millionaires among them none lacked all the same, because those who would have been visible millionaires made many others not to lack just as they themselves lived without surpluses. The initial result of that was that all hands were on deck in the matter of the Gospel. No hand was wearied or frustrated out! Call it morale boosting. And with holiness, love and the resultant zeal and motivation this became the force that attracted the presence of the Holy Spirit; and the result was that the Lord added daily to the Church such as were being saved. What a great lesson it presents to all.
Sons of consolation are treasures layers in heaven. They are bowels of mercies and faithful channels of distribution through which the Lord ‘fast track’ His coming for His Church and the expansion of His Kingdom here on earth. Our material possessions are needed for this.
Money answereth all things the Scripture says (Ecclesiastes 10: 19). Money is a defense the Scripture also says (Ecclesiastes 7: 12). Because of this God has provided it (money) not necessarily for individuals but for His Church through individuals (His vessels or channels or caretakers) by whom individual members of the household of faith are to benefit and the Great Commission is to be executed.
Hear Paul’s admonitions: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” – Colossians 3:12-14; “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” – Philippians 2:1, 2.
1 John 3:16-18 then says: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
Let us be sons of consolation. Let us strengthen the weak, be eyes to the blind and legs to the lame. Except we are of one heart and of one soul, and we dwell in unfeigned brotherly love and live other-centered lives we cannot get the best from God; and the great power God gave the apostles and saints of old to witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and the great grace that was upon them all may elude us.
None lacked because none had over
“Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet”.
‘Neither was there any among them that lacked’. Very critical! No member of the Body of Christ should lack. And that can only be possible if no member of His body has more than needed. Sons of consolation don’t have more than enough. They distribute! Why? We must draw from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27 again as we did elsewhere in this series:
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (For our comments see “Essence of Prosperity” and “Channels of Distribution” in this series).
Of course, we must pray for the needy brethren. But if we have the unrighteous mammon and are not sons of consolation what self-deceit and foolishness that must be! James 2:14-17 puts it like this: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” And in 1 John 4:19-21 we read: “We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also”.
Let’s meet with the needs of the brethren, even members of the household of faith. If done in holiness and righteousness, which really is the only way of doing it that is acceptable to God, this invites God’s presence more than we can think or imagine. And its inherent capacity to launch and sustain the Gospel is none such. To give holily to a brother or sister in need indeed, is to encourage or even empower him or her to take the Gospel out.
But what says the Scripture of those who know not the Barnabas’ way: “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation” – Luke 6:24. We may decide to be sons of consolation today or decide to receive our own consolation here and suffice with it, and face the woe ahead, the eternal woe. But it is good counsel to lay our treasures up in heaven as sons of consolation and receive consolation both in this world from God and in indescribable eternity with God.
Let’s Hasten the Lord’s Coming
Besides the individuals, sons of consolation also give directly to the work in the Lord’s vineyard, works driving the true and uncompromised Gospel to sundry places, works targeting souls and reaching out to them for Jesus Christ. Sons of consolation hasten the Lord’s coming. The Gospel must touch the ends of the world in our day. We must simplify the work of missionaries hazarding their lives in many swellings of Jordan.
Yes, we must pray that the Lord’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. But again, prayer alone would not do. If we have the unrighteous mammon and are no sons of consolation we pray hypocritically. And it is dangerous in the light of eternity!
“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him” – Luke 2:25. There are many today waiting for Jesus Christ, the Consolation of Israel. They want their own consolation and deliverance from satanic yokes and burdens. There are many people-groups that want their consolation and deliverance from satanic stranglehold. They need Jesus Whose yoke is EASY and Whose burden is light.
Indeed, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Many people and people-groups need Jesus; their souls yearn for freedom and there is something in them that want them move from darkness to light but they are helpless; even though Help has been sent to the world, and multitudes have been set free as a result. But those have not this Help yet! O how they need the consolation and change of eternal destination as we; a change from eternal damnation to eternal bliss as we if we hold on fast and firm till the end. In short: They need the Gospel.
And it takes money which God has provided us with and shall still provide us with to take the Gospel to these people and people-groups. It takes sons of consolation to change eternal destinies for good. Be a son of consolation today. And let’s hasten the Lord’s coming.
Igho writes from Warri
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