Paul, of course, was influenced by a great love of righteousness, and Barnabas on the other hand was actuated by a love for his own relatives, and perhaps he felt by showing a friendly Christian interest in him that he might make a man out of him, and thank the Lord he did, and so they separated, Paul choosing Silas as his companion, to travel as a Colaborer and worker, and Barnabas chose Mark, his relative, to be his companion, and as Dr. W. B. Godbey, who has just been translated to his heavenly home, used to tell us that God wanted two missionary bands instead of one, so through the divine plan Paul and Barnabas had to be separated, but there was no sin in the separation.
In fact, it proved to be a good thing as the later events show, for henceforth we see two streams of living water flowing, where in the past we only had one. Before their separation we had only one missionary band, while after their separation we had two. Before their separation Paul and Barnabas were both required to hold one meeting, while as far as we can see John Mark and Silas were doing nothing that was worth while, but after the separation of Paul and Barnabas we now see Paul and Silas and Barnabas and Mark carrying on two great revivals at the same time, and by the separation of Paul and Barnabas Mark and Silas were both brought into the great army of the Lord.
Now they became red-hot, second-blessing evangelists, and there were two heaven-born holiness bands moving through the country by divine order leaving a stream of holy fire wherever they went. From the fact that God blessed both Paul and Silas is a clear proof to my mind that the men did not have a fuss that was engendered or brought about through anger or unkind feelings for each other. For we afterward hear Paul speaking of Barnabas as his true yoke-fellow and the reader will remember that at one time Paul and Peter didn't agree and Paul said publicly that he withstood Peter to the face for Peter was to be blamed, and we find that they loved each other, for when Paul went to Jerusalem he stayed with Peter two weeks, and when Peter wrote about Paul he called him, "our beloved brother Paul." But we must remember that those men were passing through Judaism to Christianity, and they couldn't agree on what they were to eat always, and in fact we have not gotten over all those things yet after nineteen hundred years of Christian activity. Some good people nowadays believe that if a man eats pork, or oysters, or catfish, that he is still under the dominion of the Devil, while other good people believe that you can eat anything that your stomach calls for and enjoy it and do good work for the Lord, and we will probably never all agree on the same thing.
Not long ago a good lady said to me, "Brother Robinson, how in the world can you drink coffee and profess to be sanctified?" I told the lady I would show her exactly how the thing was done, whereupon I took a cup of coffee and put a little cream in it and a spoonful of sugar and stirred it up and turned it up to my mouth and drank it in the presence of the lady, and I said to her, "Now, sister, that is exactly the way I do it." The reader will see at a glance that the lady asked me how it could be done, and I showed her the way the thing was pulled off.
Next we notice that Barnabas proved himself to be a successful evangelist. If you will follow him carefully through the records, you will see how God put His seal upon the ministry of this man. Aside from the good he would do to others in the way of material help and aside from the honor that came to him in being selected by the Church to oversee that work in Antioch because of his spiritual gifts and graces, and aside from the fact that he was also chosen to carry means of relief to the brethren which dwelt in Judea, we can not fail to see that winning souls was the chief joy, for right here in Antioch under his burning and fiery message we read that much people was added to the Lord. You will notice that the additions here were to the Lord, rather than to the church.
You see there is a big difference between adding people to the church and adding them to the Lord. We fear that many people have been added to the church who were not first added to the Lord. In this same city we read Paul and Barnabas remained a whole year, and it is said that they taught much people and the work was so genuine and the change wrought was so manifest, that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Thank the Lord, that is the very city where Barnabas remained for a year. Then we read in Acts 13th chapter 5th verse that they came to Salamis and preached the Word in the synagogue of the Jews. They had also John to their ministry, and at Paphos, and Perga, and Antioch in Pisidia their preaching had a most transforming effect. We read in Acts 13th chapter 44th verse that almost the whole city came together to hear the Word of the Lord, and coming to Iconium it is said in Acts 14th chapter 1st verse that they so spake that a great multitude believed, both of the Jews and of the Greeks. Here we find that Barnabas preached such a wonderful gospel that he even turned multitudes to the Lord. That proves that Barnabas was a successful evangelist, and these two men preached in such a remarkable way here that they called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercurius, because they thought the gods had come down to them in the likeness of men.
The reader will notice that there was a stream of victory and success that went with this man's beautiful life that remains until the present day. Barnabas never held a card-signing revival. When a man can preach the gospel with such power and enthusiasm that the multitudes will believe that he is a god come down from heaven, gentlemen, they are not able to sign cards.
The revivals that were held by Barnabas were nothing short of old-fashioned, heart-felt, Holy Ghost revivals, that defeated the Devil and and robbed the pit and honored God and glorified Christ and populated heaven. The revivals held by Barnabas lasted after he had left town. How long this beautiful man continued his evangelistic campaign we are not told in the sacred Book, but we have read from the pen of some ancient writer that Barnabas finally went to the city of Milan, and he became the first bishop of the church in that city. Whether that is correct or not we know not, but we know he was capable of being anything to the church, and his beautiful life has left a good taste in the mouth of every New Testament reader. We don't know where he finished his days, but we do know that he is one man that died in the triumphs of a gospel faith and received the crown of righteousness, and that he will shine in the brightness of that celestial city forever and ever.
May the Lord bless every reader of this little sketch of that beautiful man that we call Barnabas.
Robinson, Reuben A. (Bud). The Collected Works of 'Uncle Bud' Robinson