Intro. The church in Jerusalem heard reports how that many people had come to Christ in Antioch, so they sent Barnabas to check out the new fellowship that included many Gentile believers. When he came he rejoiced in the work of God's grace among them, and he exhorted them.
I. "THAT THEY WITH PURPOSE OF HEART."
A. Living the Christian life is not easy. You are warring against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
1. The world's philosophy is an antithesis to the Christian thought.
2. The world's philosophy is expressed in maxims.
a. Get while the getting is good.
b. Enjoy yourself, it is later than you think.
c. Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
3. How opposite to that which Jesus taught.
a. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
b. What should it profit a man if he should gain the whole world but lose his own soul?
B. The flesh is at war with the spiritual life. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these two are contrary."
1. The flesh says, "Tell them off, they have it coming."
2. The Spirit says, "Forgive them, and let it go."
1. The flesh says, "Go in there and demand your rights."
2. The Spirit says, "Forget it and move on to higher things."
1. The flesh says, "Try to make an impression on that cute little gal."
2. The Spirit says, "Remember your wife and your children, and give your love fully to them."
1. The flesh says, "Hate them for what they did to you."
2. The Spirit says, "Forgive them and love them."
1. The flesh says, "Get even."
2. The Spirit says, "Show mercy."
3. The Spirit is often willing but the flesh is weak.
C. The devil.
1. He is there to exploit the weakness of your flesh.
2. He is constantly putting a stumbling block in your path.
3. He goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
4. He is there to distort the truth, and to deceive you in believing a lie.
D. We need more than to just make up our mind.
1. It is too easy to change your mind.
2. There are those who have thought to try the Christian life.
a. Like a new pair of shoes, I will wear them for a day or two to see if they are comfortable.
b. I will test drive the new car to see if I like it.
E. We need to purpose in our heart.
1. The psalmist said, "I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
2. We read that Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king's meat.
3. One of the reasons a person so many times fails to keep their resolves is that it is was an emotional decision. A decision of the mind rather than a purpose of their heart.
F. Note when Paul speaks of saving faith he said that if we believe in our hearts.
1. That is more a more complete faith than believing in my mind.
2. With many people it is a matter of a few inches, what I believe in my mind, and what I believe in my heart.
G. It is one thing to say, "I have decided not to do that again." and to say, "I have purposed that I will never do that again as long as I live."
II. THAT THEY WOULD CLEAVE TO THE LORD.
A. In one of the final charges to the people before his death Moses said,
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
1. The command was to love the Lord, obey His voice, and cleave to Him.
2. To the end that you might live, and multiply and remain in the land.
3. The warning was that if they should turn from Him, they would surely perish and be driven from the land which the Lord had given them.
4. It is a life and death matter, not only for you but for your children and grandchildren. Choose life. It is the difference of being blessed or cursed by God.
B. In our text Barnabas was exhorting the new believes in Antioch to purpose in their hearts to cleave to the Lord.
1. Only He can save.
a. Peter said, "Neither is their salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to man whereby we must be saved."
b. Paul testified, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, and that is the man Christ Jesus."
c. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father, but by Me."
2. For you it is matter of life and death. Eternal life or eternal damnation.
C. Why was this exhortation necessary?
1. There are many who start the Christian walk but are later turn aside from the faith.
2. Like the seed that fell on the rocky soil, lacking depth they did not endure once the heat was turned on.
3. In follow up work after an evangelistic crusade it is discovered that many who went forward to make a commitment of their life to Jesus Christ, never go any farther in their walk with Him.
D. Stick with Jesus, it isn't going to be easy.
1. The world is going to assault you.
2. Your flesh will rebel.
3. Satan will be their to exploit your weak flesh, and to plant doubts.
E. But the rewards are so great.