A Good Man
Would you like to be a good man or a good woman? What does it take to be: not a great, but just good? That's all. That's enough. To be just good.
Acts 11:19 - 27
Now Those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen [you remember he was the first martyr who was stoned to death], travelled as far as Phoenecia, Cyprus and Antioch [which is about three hundred miles from Jerusalem. Jesus never got that far north. That's a whole another country. That's modern Syria. They travelled as far as "Antioch telling the message only to the Jews." [That's all they knew — to tell the message to the Jews]. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also..." [this was a dramatic moment in the Church's life] "telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them. [And if the Lord's hand is not with you, its not gonna do much good] and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the ears of the Church of Jerusalem [They didn't have radio, they didn't have telephones, they didn't have cellphones, but they got the news and they sent Barnabas as their representative to Antioch to find out what was going on.] When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. "He was a good man," [who is this that was a good man? Barnabas.] "...He was a good man." But notice, "Full of the Holy Spirit and faith and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. "Then Barnabas went to Tarsus" [That's another 200 miles] to look for Saul who is Paul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year, Barnabas and Saul met with the Church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. During this time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch, one of them named Agabus stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. This happened during the reign of Claudius. The disciples, each according to his ability [God has never asked us to give beyond our ability] each according to his ability decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea [because they had probably lost their jobs because they were Christian.] This they did sending their gifts to the elders by Barnabas and Saul."
A good man.
Is that enough? Just to be a good woman or a good man?
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we need you to know what you want us to do, and we do not have great ambitions that would cause a fall someday in the future, but we would simply serve you in humility. So help us to understand what it means to be a good man, a good woman, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, in Christ's name, Amen.
Now, we are not very far from a place called Katwe, are we? I don't know if you have heard of the queen of Katwe? Have you heard of the queen of Katwe? Who was this girl, the queen of Katwe? Well, she is somebody just like you, and she had this aspiration to be a grandmaster in Chess. Now, I do not play Chess. Do you know why I do not play Chess? Because after two moves, I am already lost, and then I have to go through the agony of having my son just drive me to the ground. So I don't play chess anymore. I used to play a little bit of Chess many years ago, but it's just so painful. But to be a grandmaster in Chess! That was amazing! She had this aspiration.
So what is your aspiration? What would you like to accomplish in life? Would you like to be a grandmaster in Chess? Now I want to tell you, you have to be born a grandmaster in Chess. You have to have a mind, a certain kind of mind that can think six moves ahead and figure out all the other possibilities of what that other person is going to do with his queen, or with his little small pawns.
What is your aspiration? Maybe your aspiration is to be a great business person in this community. Maybe to be a great surgeon someday. Or maybe to be a great preacher, or a great mother and wife or a great teacher. Well, a little dose of modesty would be very helpful because he who exalts himself will come down. And so a little bit of humility about life would be very healthy.
Rather than aspiring to be great, just aspire to be good. That's all. Just good. Well, that might be achievable, you think, well. Let's look at Barnabas.
The scripture says, "he was a good man." And you can apply that to women as well: a good woman. What was it about the life of Barnabas? He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. Don't detach that phrase, "A good man" from the description that comes afterwords: "full of the Holy Spirit and faith."
What does it mean to be full of the Holy Spirit? Well, Spirit is like breath, its like air. The Bible says, "God is a Spirit". Is God here? Is just a little bit of God's spirit in here or is the whole of God in here? The totality of God is here because he is a Spirit.
Now, if you are full of the Holy Spirit, have you just got a little bit of the portion of God? No, you have got God in you, all his majesty and glory and power and strength. But you know, its kind of like when you get a puncture in your tire, you are driving along and you run across a nail, or you are in a bus and all of a sudden you have a flat tire. what happens to all the air? Out it goes. And where are you then? what progress are you going to make if you have a hole in your tire and all the air has gone out? Now, what are those holes? That's sin! You have a little sin here. You may have a slow puncture. Do you know what a slow puncture is? That is where the air is going out slowly and you don't realize, but gradually you just get stranded by the side of the road because you have got a little puncture. And if you have got sin, if you are living in a constant sin in your life, lust, an evil thought, a hatred for somebody, those kinds of things, will deflate you and you will have no more power. You can't accomplish anything. You can't go anywhere because you have got a puncture in your tire. You must be full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith - trusting God. And that's the foundation and the framework in which you can be. As small or as little as we may be, that's how we may be. Good. Not great, but we may be good in the eyes of the Lord.
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