The Experience and Work of Barnabas
Acts 11:23
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all…

I. THE FACT WHICH HE OBSERVED. The grace of God operating in the converts. Note —

1. That conversion is always the result of Divine grace — that is, God's free and sovereign favour. "For by grace are ye saved, through faith," etc. True conversion thus resulting from Divine grace always becomes apparent and manifest by its effects. In place of the works of the flesh there will be the fruits of the Spirit, in place of carelessness, impenitence, unbelief, worldliness, and, peradventure, open and flagrant crime, there will be seriousness, there will be contrition, faith, holiness, love to God and to man.

II. THE EMOTION WITH WHICH, IN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE FACT, HE BECAME INSPIRED. "He was glad." This gladness is justly excited because of —

1. The personal happiness which the operation of Divine grace in conversion secures to those who feel it.

2. The honour which the operation of Divine grace in conversion secures to the Godhead In every conversion there is a display of the Father; for by His purpose the conversion was accomplished, the conversion was directed. There is a display of the Son; for by His sacrifice the conversion was purchased. There is a display of the Spirit; for by His agency the conversion was effected.


1. Its nature. Purpose signifies firm and resolute determination. "Cleave to the Lord" is an expression of Hebrew origin, and it occurs two or three times in the earlier part of the Old Testament Scriptures in a striking manner. To cleave to an individual seems to imply the act of a man anxious to obtain a blessing from another — a man who lays fast hold on his person, being resolved not to permit his departure until the blessing has been obtained; and this is the spirit in which we are exhorted with purpose and determination of heart to cleave unto the Lord. We ought to be steadfast in cleaving to the principles of the Lord; in obeying the commandments of the Lord; in promoting the praise and the glory of the Lord. And each one in whom Divine grace has operated must have it as a constant desire, that in the spirit of steadfastness he may be preserved till death. For this purpose, use the means which God has been pleased to appoint — meditation, the study of His Word with prayer, social conversation with those who are established in the faith and hope of the gospel, diligent and devout attendance on the public ordinances and means of grace, and then the result will be accomplished, and you will cleave unto the Lord. You will emphatically be kept from falling, and be presented faultless before the presence of the Divine glory with great and exceeding joy.

2. The reasons by which this exhortation may be enforced. "Cleave to the Lord" —

(1) That you may not produce disgrace to the gospel you have professed.

(2) That you may continue and complete the joy of those who have rejoiced over your conversion.

(3) That you may partake of the highest joy in this world which Christianity can impart.

(4) That you may become endowed with capacities of usefulness to the hearts of others.

(5) That you may prepare for that final recompense which will be your portion throughout the eternity of heaven.

(J. Parsons.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

WEB: who, when he had come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad. He exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should remain near to the Lord.

The Experience and Work of Barnabas
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