Acts 15:30-41

30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. 33 And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to [k]the apostles. 34 [l]However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. 35 Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. 36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas [m]was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being [n]commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.


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The small title my message he being God can’t even use contention he can use contention. To bring glory and honor to him he can use contention to further the spread of the Gospel we’re going to learn that in the scripture the day that he took a sharp contention between two leaders and used it for the further into the Gospel God can do it he can do it are my passage comes from Accept or fifteen verses thirty through forty one. Here the word of the Lord. So when they were sent off they came to any office and when they had gathered the multitude together they delivered the letter I like the way that it says they delivered the letter it to me I thought that makes it sound very important the way they said that the or I may be Ahmed in the emphasis to it the better it is very important and when they had read it they rejoiced over its encouragement not Judas and Silas themselves being prophets also exhort exhorted and strengthen the brother in with many words and after they had stayed there for a time they were sent back with greeting from the brother and to the Apostles However it seemed good to Silas to remain there Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord with many others also than after some days Paul said to Barnabas Let us now go back and visit our brother and every city where we have preached the Word of the Lord and see how they are doing. Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark but Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them and Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention between her became so sure that they parted from one another and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus and Paul chose Silas and departed being commended by their brother into the grace of God and he went through Syria and so the Shia strengthening the churches may God that is blessings to the here and in the reading of His Holy Word let us pray Grace’s father we do thank you and praise you that you work through mankind we thank you father that you let your spirit lead us sing guide us and encourage us and strengthen us and Father we thank you that you can use a man father is so amazing that you have chosen to use man to spread your gospel message to touch to heal to work to proclaim and we just thank you Father thank You that we can have a relationship with you and father may your spirit be present here today may your name be lifted high may your name be exalted father for you are worthy of all praise honor and adoration in Jesus name Amen. I find this passage of Scripture to be a very unique passage kind of put the two together because the first part is sharing the sharing of the letter and that letter was to help settle the dispute within the church then the second part though we see a dispute among the leaders so those that went to settle a dispute. Then had a dispute so I thought this is a very unique the letter that the referring to was composed from a meeting of the church Apostles and elders to help sell the dispute over the issue of circumcision. For there were some who were insisting that the Gentile believers must become circumcised and keep the law in order to be saved so imagine if you will the missionaries have come into your. Town. And they preach the gospel of Christ they preach grace they preach that if you repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and did you could find eternal life that you can be reconciled with God You just must believe in have faith and trust and give your life to him so being you you all the son there when you’re you have peace the church has peace because they think man we are except that the Gentiles God has received even us so you have that reconciliation with God. And then all the sudden. Those missionaries have gone and some time later here comes some more teachers well then they come in and they say oh no wait a minute wait a minute that’s not enough Nope it’s not just enough just to have faith and belief I know you’re going to have to Obama will follow these rules and you’re going to have to be circumcised you’ve got to do these things in order to be saved you’re not really saved but this group had a name they would call Judea. And definitely that is going to upset you right all of a sudden you had peace and man you feel in your worshipping the Lord and Bill good about your walk with him then here comes a group alone tells you that sorry that’s not good enough you need to do more so then you’re probably wondering OK well if they’re going to be another group come along and tell me now there’s even more that I got to follow when you thought that you were right with God and your relationship with God has been healed. So the leaders of the church and their wisdom knew that they had to settle this conflict this contention within the church. So they led by the Holy Spirit they made a two fold decision a doctrinal decision about salvation and a practical decision about how to live the Christian life they concluded and this included James they concluded that Jews and Gentiles alike are all sinners before God amen right we’re all sinners before God for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God whether they were June whether a gentile either they were both sinners before God and can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ so that was the decision they come up with about salvation you can only be saved through Jesus Christ not circumcision not by this law or that law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And that is the need for such reconciliation there is but one gospel to meet that need and that is Jesus James in the Council concluded that to live a Christian life the Gentile believers should refrain from food polluted by idols so they should refrain from the eating the food that has been sacrificed to idols that should not eat them they should refrain from sexual immorality and if there be those who would say well what kind all sexual immorality right all sexual in route of the need to refrain from it not just this one or that one but all they should refrain from eating the meat of strangled animals and from the consuming of blood those two go together because an animal that was strangled did not bleed out so you can eat the strangled animals because you’ll be eating the blood the life is in the blood they felt that this would help ease the tension between these two groups that’s what the letter was about to bring reconciliation between the Jews and the Gentiles. To settle that point of contention. The place where the letter was read was in the UK. And acceptor eleven versus twenty five and twenty six says then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul and when he had found him he brought him to any oc So that was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch before that they were just referred to as the the followers of the way but now they were called Christians where we have got that name that we are called Christians because of our faith and our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse thirty two in our passage. Is a great example of how a leader should lead and what a leader should do within the church said Now Judas this is not Judas Iscariot and Silas themselves being prophets also they exhorted and strengthen. That is what a leader is to do to exhort and strengthen the body strengthen the brother in with many words. And I share this before turning to the last part of our passage where the contention is between poem Barnabus because I think even though every believer every leader within the body is not always going to agree on every issue are they. There is going to be some spots of contention because they are not going to agree on every little issue but the important thing is that the brothers and sisters in Christ do agree on the pound ational Bill principles the foundational principles of the church. Of God the Father God the Son the Holy Spirit must repent of our sins and believe in the sacrifice that he made believe in the virgin birth believe that he rose from the dead we must believe in those things but there’s little things that we’re going to disagree on. But we should not let that terrorists apart. Not let that become a point of contention not let that become a stumbling block. George Whitefield I’m sure that most have heard of him he was a great preacher of all. He disagreed with John Wesley on some theological matters he really did they had some disagreements but he was careful not to create a problem in public that could be used to hinder the preaching of the Gospel when someone asked Whitefield one day if he thought that he would see John Wesley in heaven Whitefield replied I fear not. For he will be so near the eternal throne that we would be such a distance that we could hardly get sight of him. Say he didn’t allow that question. To develop into a flame of called contention why fear not that I will see him not because he won’t be there if he’s going to be so close. So he lifted his brother up that’s the way it should be we should not speak is ill of another leader of the church or another brother and even we should even speak ill of another brother or sister in Jesus Christ so I thought that is a tremendous response. I’ll be so far back there I’ll just be glad I’m there a man. Can contention become so strong that we reach an impasse Well yes our scripture revealed it right. Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas Let us now go back and visit her brother in every city where we have preached the Word of the Lord and see how things are doing he wants to go back he wants to encourage He wants to strengthen them he wants to see if how the bodies grow and what’s going on there. Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John Mark I’ll just call him John Mark but Paul insisted that he should not take. The one who had departed from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another now I don’t know if I read between the lines but it became so shocked I can then Invision some strong arguments maybe even some of Bray’s voices in this contention between poem Barnabas. Barnabas of course is going to stand up for John Mark. They’re cousins if you didn’t know that they were cousins family ties are going to be strong right I mean as it should be we’re going to stand up for those that we share blood right they were cousins he’s going to stand up for him. But that’s not the only reason Barnabas was the kind of man who went out of his way to help others and the early church gave him the name son of encourage meant. He had that thing sort of encouragement. I wish that that would be monic name son of encouragement should be all of our nicknames son or daughter of encouragement right. Encourage others give them a chance so he was determined that John Mark is going to go he was even stand against Paul that great apostle Paul he took the stand he would not back down Paul on the other hand he was just as strong willed as Barnabas he was just determined we’re not going to take him he felt that John Mark could be part of them left them on the first missionary journey and went back home he’s like No we’re not taking. He’s not going on. An X. thirteen thirteen says now and Paul and his party set sail from Pam follows they came to pergola and Pam philia and John departed from them returning to Jerusalem so there’s the passage where he departed and left them now the scripture did not reveal. Any specific reason why John departed Now some say. That he was possibly homesick. One of the Go home he was young man. Some say that he may have resented the leadership change because it was Barnabas that was the leader and now here comes Paul he’s now the leader so he may have had a little bit of resentment there some say that he may have become ill but I find it hard to believe that Paul would have withstood that if he would actually been ill I think he would have had compassion on him if he had actually became ill others say that he may not have been strong enough for the rigorous journey of a missionary Whatever the reason. Neither of these great patriarchs of the church were willing to budge in their stance. So as the discussion continued they realized that the only solution to their impasse was to divide split the territory. Neither of them would give in so they agreed on the mission they agreed did it was a good thing that they should go back and visit those churches but they strongly disagreed on whom should go. So Barnabas took Mark and went to his native Cyprus Paul took Silas and headed for Syria and so Lisa. It would probably be a correct of some sin that those who were close to the situation those that ring the church and seen this contention going on they were probably stressed out they’re probably thinking oh my oh my the word big trouble the church is in big trouble because these two wonderful leaders are at each other what are we going to do so there was probably a lot of dissension there are a lot of uncertainty there and you know I think back. To my days at Holy Cross and this was actually. Happened before we got there Holy Cross which is was an is a strong United Methodist Church a great. Body of Believers compassionate loving and caring and I started going there in the late eighty’s and we went now and then in the early eighty’s where kids were little but we you know not regular exist and we got hadn’t worked on it enough yet but anyway where I’m going with this when we did start going and eighty seven. There was a lot of people that weren’t there that we knew that were there earlier Holy Cross Church had a church split there was a group within the church that one of the BE A LITTLE MORE Pentecostal. Is that a correct assumption Gary they were a little more Pentecostal and they tried to gather the others and they couldn’t change the whole body so a group of them split out and went and started another church. And I know that that was hard on the church it was hard on the pastor. But as now we look back on it there’s two strong vibrant churches. Church Triumphant is the group that left Holy Cross is still there they’ve grown their strong trust triumphant a strong so now there are two churches proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ reaching the last minute so what looked like a horrible thing God can take it and turn it around and use it for something good so the same with poem Barnabas there would have only been one missionary team going but because of that contention there were two. Two teams to go out and reach and preach the gospel to encourage to strengthen the churches and to reach others. So I don’t always think oh ma what a horrible thing with what I’m going to do trusting God because he can use it he can use it for His glory for his honor. Because undoubtedly when human beings are involved. There is going to be contentions right because we’re all different but God can use them for His glory Do you believe I’m asking you a question here do you believe that it is possible that the Holy Spirit was guiding each of these men Paul and Barnabas in their stance. I believe they were led by the spear their God fearing men so the Holy Spirit led them both understands because maybe the Holy Spirit knew that I can do more with two teams and I can with one Amen. Thank you. Because if God had to rely on perfect people to accomplish his plans. Nothing would get done. John Mark eventually went on to prove himself to be a dependable asset to the church and to Paul in Colossians Chapter four verse ten. Aristippus my fellow prisoner reach you with Mark the cousin of Barnabas about whom you received instructions if he comes to you welcome him this is Paul saying this and Jesus who is with who is called justice they are my only fellow workers for the Kingdom of God who are of the circumcision they have proved to be a comfort to me. Out of the words of Paul the one who refused to take John Mark now say he has proved to be a comfort to me and also in second Timothy four eleven only Luke is with me get Mark and bring him with you for he is useful to me for the ministry. He proved himself. He proved himself I found the story to share on New Year’s Day one thousand nine hundred twenty nine a long time ago Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl and that game a man named Roy Regal’s recovered a fumble for California somehow became confused and started running sixty five yards in the wrong direction one of his teammates Benny to loom out this since him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team when California attempted to punt Tek block the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory the strange play came in the first half and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question what will coach nibs price do with Riddle’s in the second half the men filed into the I found off the field and the. To the locker room locker room and they set down on the benches and on the floor all but wriggles he put a blanket around his shoulders and sat down in the corner put his face in his hands and cried. If you have ever played football you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime that day Coach Price was quiet no doubt he was trying to decide what to do with wriggles then the time T.P. timekeeper came in announced that there would be three minutes before playing time coach Pryce looked at the team and said simply men the same team that played the first half will start to second the players got up and started out all but riddles he didn’t budge the coach looked back and called to him again still he didn’t move Coach Price went over to where regal sat and said Roy did you hear me. The same team that played the first half will start the second then Roy wriggles looked up his cheeks were wet. With tears and said Coach I can’t do it to save my life I’ve ruined you I’ve ruined the University of California I’ve ruined myself I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life. Then Coach Price reached out has put his hand on his shoulder and said to him Roy Get up get on back to the game is only half over and war wriggles went back and those tech men. With a have never seen a man play as well Rickles played in that second half. Maybe that’s how John Mark played the second half maybe he worked harder that second half than in the other apostles. My friends Coach Price gave him a second chance but how about our God. He gives us a second chance. He always and the third and fourth as Gary said he gives us another chance. Our God is the God of second chances thirteen answers were chances but you know what we should do likewise. We should be brothers and sisters of second chance a short contentions arise between us God can use it for His glory. And may we forgive as he forgives Amen amen.