Week 3 – Add Fabric Softener
CARING LIKE BARNABAS
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. [NLT]
GENEROUS – Acts 4:36-37 – Barnabas sold land to provide for fellow Christians
ACCEPTING – Acts 9:26-28 – Barnabas took a chance with Paul when the other’s weren’t accepting him.
ENCOURAGING – Acts 11:23-24 – Barnabas was glad to see what God did through others and encouraged them to all remain true to God.
GRACIOUS – Acts 15:36-41 – Barnabas extended grace to John Mark, not giving up on John Mark.
Embrace – Encourage – Equip – Empower
Put yourself aside and let others get ahead (Philippians 2:3-4)
Speak what is helpful for building others up (Ephesians 4:29)
2 Timothy 4:11 – Paul later requested John Mark because he was profitable to the ministry.
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Acts 15:36-41 and Philippians 2:3-4. How does this passage in Philippians relate to the narrative in Acts 15?
2) Read Ephesians 4:29. What does Paul describe in this passage? How do we live this out?
3) Read Romans 15:1-6 Who are we to please? What does this passage describe as the relationship between the strong and weak? How can we live this out?
4) Read 1 Timothy 2:1-3. What does this passage say is most important, and why is this most important?
Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.
- Week 1 – Stain Removal – Caring for God’s glory
- Week 2 – Do Not Bleach – Caring for Truth
- Week 3 – Add Fabric Softener – Caring like Barnabas
- Week 4 – Fasten the Zipper – Caring for Unity
- Week 5 – Empty Pockets – Caring for Treasures
- Week 6 – Iron Low Heat – Caring without Complacency
When a danger is called “huge” it should not be taken lightly. In this case, the people were being warned of the danger of associating with a country that worshiped false gods. The concern was that by living closely with these people, the people of Israel would begin to accept some of the practices and culture that was against the Word of God.
Jesus ate with sinners. He spent time with many people who were not pure. However as we read the Gospel, it is clear that Jesus did not spend all of His time with these people. He spent a lot of time with His Father in prayer. He spent a lot of time teaching and preaching as He traveled along with His disciples. He was so engrossed with His mission and He spent much time with the Word as was demonstrated during His time in the wilderness and while teaching. He often recited Scripture. It was written on His heart. It was at the core of His being.
If we do not go out in the world to share the Gospel, then the Gospel won’t get shared. We cannot isolate ourselves from the world to stay safe from temptation. Even in isolation, you will be tempted. Temptation is everywhere. But you can be cautious and keep yourself from spending too much time around “huge danger.” Paul wrote about focusing on what is worthy of praise. You can opt to take in a lot of negative and find out that what you take in will eventually come out. Or you can opt to focus on Him and the right, the pure, the lovely and find that it begins to pour from you.
“Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.”
– Exodus 23:32-33 [MSG]
There are moments when an opportunity pops up and it is not necessarily best for us to jump on board. When Paul was in Ephesus there was a position that was open. They wanted Paul to stay there to spend more time ministering.
He declined – someone else then filled the position at Ephesus. Is it possible we say yes to things because no one else is saying yes, but if we would just say no, a person would stand up? Some people hesitate. Some people don’t think they can do it. Some people are battling things in their minds with God’s calling.
Paul ended up going to Galatia and spent time helping to strengthen the disciples. A man named Apollos went to Ephesus and he filled the open position. “He spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately” and he spoke “boldly in the synagogue.” (v. 25-26 NIV). Because Paul said “no,” it made room for Apollos to step up and say “yes,” and that acceptance helped Apollos to grow and to even minister elsewhere. We aren’t always meant to say “yes.” Pray about it. Each person has a role to play in the Kingdom. You can’t do it all.
“When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.” – Acts 18:29 [NIV]
When you give someone a compliment or when a person gets a promotion, there is always a reaction—a response that gives us a glimpse of the heart. Proverbs 27 says that “a person is tested by being praised.” Tested for what? For humility.
I have noticed that people fall into different groups. There are some people who enjoy praise a little too much and they become proud. There are some people who do not accept compliments or praise well at all because they have low self confidence. Then there are those who say “thank you” and point to Christ—they say that it is because of God that this success has come their way.
How do you act when you receive praise? Do you collect it all and beam with pride? Do you deny the praise all together, not thinking that it was a great thing? Or do you recognize the great things God is doing in your life and let people know it is because God has been doing a great work in you?
“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.” – Proverbs 27:21 [NLT]
“Then they answered Joshua, ‘Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.’” – Joshua 1:16
When we say “whatever” and “wherever” to God, we are letting go of the reigns, agreeing that we are not in control. We are saying we will go wherever God points and we will do whatever God commands. Too often, when we agree to go wherever and do whatever, we like to keep it on our terms. We like to make loopholes or exceptions. If we do not make a way out, we still manage to fail again and again. To say “whatever” and “wherever” to God is a daily statement—a daily response with words and action.
When the Israelites said “whatever” and “wherever,” it did not stay that way for long. They messed up. We mess up too. But do not let that get in the way of following God and being in a relationship with Him. His grace is enough to carry us through. Our sin nature will corrupt our whatevers and wherevers from time to time, but He has already forgiven us and simply wants us to continue to grow closer to Him, to spiritually mature. Where are you at in life? Are you saying “whatever”? Are you saying “wherever”? What is holding you back? Today, take steps to get closer to God. Look to see what is holding you back. Pray for Him to open your eyes.
When the Gibeonites came before God’s people, claiming to be from a distant country, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). The people of Gibeon made the false claims and had items to make their words appear to be true. They had the worn-out sacks and old wineskins. The bread was dry and moldy. The people sampled the lies, but never went to the Truth. As a result, because they believed the lies presented to them, they made an oath to the Gibeonites which became a burden to them.
There are times when we are presented with what appears to be factual information. We are to use good discernment to make decisions. But are we to approach God with everything? Should the Israelites have inquired of the Lord? Again and again God tells the Israelites to not make treaties with others, to not intermarry with others, to not allow themselves to get too close to the outsiders because they would then dwindle towards following their ways. Making a treaty, an alliance with someone, is a big deal.
Truth is God’s truth. In a day when people continue to try to twist the truth, it is important that we keep seeking the Lord for Truth. Just recently, I have seen someone bring up the topic of slavery in the Bible in a false manner to challenge the biblical definition of marriage. These people were sampling the lies rather than truly reading the word of God. So many today are sampling lies and making up their own truth. Today, stand firm in the truth. Seek the Lord rather than sampling the lies of the world.
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” – John 17:17 [NLT]