Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

A Good Man

For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

(Acts 11:24 NKJV)

None Good

We know that we are all born sinners.  We sin because that is our nature.  In Mark 10:18 a rich young ruler called the Lord good master or teacher, but he apparently didn’t recognize Jesus as God.  So, the Lord says to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God (Mark 10:18 NKJV)?”  The young ruler had to find out that he was not good before he could appreciate the goodness of God.  And ONLY God is good.  We see that goodness in the Lord’s willingness to die for sinners on a cruel cross so that those who are not good can be made “righteous” as far as God is concerned (2 Corinthians 5:21). So, while we are not “good” when it comes to our basic natures, yet some Christians who have truly been “born again” and who are new creatures in Christ have the reputation of being “good” as far as man is concerned.

But Barnabus was Good

While Barnabus was a sinner just like the rest of us which means he needed to be saved and was saved, Luke says in the Book of Acts that He was a good man.  We know that his reputation before men was that of a compassionate, caring, sharing man.  He was zealous in preaching the Gospel.  He was controlled, not by selfish ambition, but by the Holy Spirit and by his confidence in the Lord.  What a commendation!  He stands in contrast to evil men.  The Lord says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45 NKJV).” 

We know delicious apples trees by their fruit, and we know crab apple trees by their fruit.  Apart from grafting, crab apple trees cannot provide us with delicious apples, or with other good tasting apples.  We know evil men by the fruit of their hearts and good men by the fruit of their hearts.  Normally that fruit is seen by what he or she says.  “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” But it is also seen by the way they treat others, and by their attitude toward God.

As we come to the end of this dispensation of grace, it seems that evil abounds.  We don’t have to describe it to know it when we see it.  Paul says, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13 NKJV).”  He describes the perilous times of the last days by describing evil people which includes those who are despisers of good (2 Timothy 3:3). Some translations say that they are despisers of those who are good.  Ohers say that they are not lovers of that which is good.  But surely this is an awful state to be in.  Obviously, these people need a change that only the Holy Spirit can bring about through the new birth.

How Would the World see Christians Today?

Many people see Christians as those who start wars and who use religion to control others while not being able to control their own lusts and impulses.  Others see Christians as caring and compassionate like Barnabus.  Many times, we sing with the children, “Dare to be a Daniel.”  Daniel resisted peer pressure and was faithful to the Lord.  But maybe we need to sing, “Dare to be a Barnabus.”  Barnaubus-like qualities are Christ-like qualities.  While good works don’t save, they certainly should be the fruit of changed hearts when we are saved.  But of course, if we are Christ-like, we may end up being crucified by the world and by religious imposters.

I have always wanted to have the courage of a Peter or a Paul.  But being a “good man” like Barnabus is probably more important.  He is my new hero. 

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of September 22, 2019

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