The Book of Acts Part 26

The Book of Acts (Chapter 15:1-41) (Part 26)

The apostle Paul was always clashing with those Jewish religious leaders who were always insisting that you needed to be outwardly circumcised to be truly saved. They were not denying faith but saying circumcision was also necessary along with faith. They were peddling a salvation by faith and works. Later Paul would write a letter to the believers in Galatia about these men insisting on circumcision as well as faith to be saved. They caused a lot of problems for Paul and for his ministry and when he wrote to the Galatian believers he got very angry with them to the point where he wished these legalists would go all the way and castrate themselves (Galatians 5:12) . These men were teaching a way of salvation that was not Biblically sound and was counterproductive to faith alone in Jesus by which men are saved.

Distorting the Gospel

Paul in fact said that anyone preaching any other gospel message or way of salvation was cursed. He also wrote to the Galatian believers about these agitators; “Evidently some people are troubling you and trying to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be under a divine curse! As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you embraced, let him be under a divine curse! (Galatians 1:7-9).

Another Gospel

Today there are many who are preaching another gospel. Just to name a few, there is Roman Catholicism which teaches a salvation through participation in the sacraments and especially in the perpetual sacrifice of the Mass that undermines the finished and complete atoning work for sin accomplished at the cross by the Lord Jesus. His atoning blood shed was a once and for all sacrifice for sin for all time, and never to be repeated. Roman Catholicism actually practices idolatry when its adherents genuflect before the bread and the wine on the altar and before statues of Mary and the saints. Bowing before any man made image is an act of idolatry forbidden in the 10 Commandments and is in reality the worship of demons (Exodus 20:3-5) (Deuteronomy 32:16-17) (1 Corinthians 10:20). Then there are the Word of Faith money preachers teaching that Jesus died spiritually. When the Lord Jesus said at the cross “it is finished” they say no it was not finished and that the Lord Jesus had to go to hell, receive a sinful nature from Satan and be born again in hell before the work of salvation was complete. In reality their doctrine is an attack on the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are also preaching another gospel.

Under a curse

Then you have other movements who are into mysticism and icons such as the Immerging Church while others are into signs miracles and wonders being substituted for the preaching of the gospel and the exposition of scripture. Then there are others who are into ecumenism and interfaith dialogue of one sort or another. In fact any religion or so called faith movement that teaches a way of salvation other than the one taught in the Bible is under that curse from God Himself. Any works based righteousness denigrates and nullifies the work of the cross.

Non Biblical Judaism

Judaism is the same even though the Judaism practiced today is not the Biblical Mosaic Judaism taught by Moses in the Torah. It is another religion. Rabbinic Judaism practiced in Israel today is to Biblical Judaism what Roman Catholicism is to Biblical Christianity. So then we find that Paul and Barnabas were ministering in Antioch when certain religious leaders came into the fellowship insisting that Jewish and Gentile believers needed to be circumcised according to the custom of Moses causing dissension among other Jewish believers. Some of these Jewish men were most probably saved but were still trying to live under two covenants. They could not see that faith alone was the means to being saved but that circumcision was also required. And so we read…

(Vs. 1-2)  “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.”

These men were causing confusion among the believers at Antioch, many of these believers at Antioch were Jewish and were unsettled by these men peddling circumcision for salvation. Undoubtedly many Jewish believers were still uncertain about this and also the Gentile believers who had never been circumcised. This is how Satan works to destroy and disrupt a fellowship. He tries to introduce a mixture where he lays truth and error side by side and always through false teachers or prophets. Peter wrote about this calling it “secretly introducing destructive heresies.” He wrote; “Now there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies that even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow in their depravity, and because of them the way of the truth will be defamed” (2 Peter 2:1-2).

These men troubling the believers at Antioch obviously had an agenda and were open about what they were trying to introduce to the fellowship. Because of the confusion in the mind of some the leaders decided to send a message to the apostles in Jerusalem to advise them about this teaching that to be saved you needed to be circumcised. So they sent Paul and Barnabas who had seen God salvation at work among the Gentiles and that without physical circumcision. Paul and Barnabas undoubtedly knew this already but needed to have all the apostles agree on this matter so that the confusion could be remedied.

(Vs.3)  “Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.”

As far as Paul and Barnabas were concerned they already knew that “…neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything and that what counts is a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). Paul also understood that as he would later write to the believers in Rome; “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).

As Paul and Barnabas passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they described to the assemblies there how God had saved the Gentiles without the requirement of circumcision. This news brought the believers tremendous freedom and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ especially the Samaritans who were previously looked down on by the Jews. Paul would also write to the Ephesian believers in the future. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2: 8-9). The problem with Judaism in Paul’s time was that it had degenerated to a works based righteousness; the same works based righteousness perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church today. And so they arrived at Jerusalem.

(Vs.4-6)  “When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.”

One of the problems the believers faced in Jerusalem was that many Pharisees had been genuinely saved through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation but still believed they should keep the laws and ceremonies as taught by Moses in the Torah as well, especially circumcision. Some undoubtedly still struggled with the fact that Gentiles could be saved without having to embrace the customs of Moses. Even today there are some Messianic believers who tend to look down on Gentile believers because they do not keep the Mosaic ceremonies, laws and customs or the Jewish feast days and holidays. The first church was a Jewish one and it took some time before Gentiles were accepted as equals and brethren in Christ by many Jewish believers.

In the years to come Paul would clearly teach that repentance and faith was all God required to receive salvation. At this time in Jerusalem this doctrine was not clear in the minds of many Jewish believers especially the saved Pharisees. Despite the evidence Paul and Barnabas gave them concerning what God has been doing among the Gentiles they still did not accept what was being reported. Sometimes in the local assembly God will bring into fellowship those from a completely different cultural or ethnic background and the fellowship may find it difficult to cope with.

Back in the 1960’s when the Holy Spirit moved among the hippies in America many drug addicts and libertines were soundly saved from ungodly, hedonistic lifestyles and multitudes of them had no church background at all. Thousands upon thousands of hippies were instantaneously saved and delivered from drugs, porn, immorality and other sins by the power of God. The hippies wore long hair, beads and torn jeans and were part of the radical counter culture of the 60’s that were not part of the establishment. Many saved hippies formed into fellowships while others walked into mainline denominations unsettling the conservative church members. For many churches it was a culture shock and in some cases these unwashed untidy hippies were looked down on even though they had been soundly saved. In the preceding years many of these hippies became faithful members of traditional churches as the Holy Spirit had ordained.

It was something like this to the saved Pharisees there at Jerusalem. God was doing something new and different and these men were hard pressed to adjust their thinking. The truth of the matter is that any fellowship that wants to move in the power of the Holy Spirit has to be prepared for change and sometimes it will mean a radical change in their way of thinking and doing things, not in regard to Biblical doctrine of course, but in regards to cultural diversity. Well the salvation of Gentiles caused a lot of debating back and forth with nothing finalised in this matter.

(Vs.7-9)  “After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.”

Peter has been listening to the ardent fervour of debating brethren. It seemed they were getting nowhere fast. Then Peter stood up and began to speak about how the LORD had dealt with the Gentiles who had believed in the Lord Jesus. The connecting fact was that the Gentile believers at the house of Cornelius received the same Holy Spirit that the 120 had received on the Day of Pentecost. As to the 120 they were already saved men and women having been spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit. For Cornelius’ household they were regenerated and filled with the Spirit simultaneously. Notice Peter said “cleansing their hearts by faith.” Just as we are born again by faith so we are filled with the Spirit by faith. When the power of the Holy Spirit is poured out there is also a measure of holiness also imparted.

The Holy Spirit is Holy and will only fill a clean heart, one that is cleansed by the blood of Christ, spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit and a heart that is submitted wholly to God unreservedly. This is the perfect love that cast out fear. Indeed King Solomon wrote; “the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). This is that “holiness without which no man shall see the LORD” (Hebrews 12:14). On the Day of Pentecost there were cloven tongues of fire resting upon each believer when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Their hearts were being cleansed completely. When the Lord Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove because his heart was already pure and without sin.

In the case of Cornelius they spoke with tongues and magnified God. This clearly indicated to Peter and the other Jewish believers with him that God had accepted the Gentiles and imparted to them the same faith and power of God that the 120 had received at Pentecost. God showed that He was not distinguishing between Jew nor Gentile ethnically but that all who believe can come into the full blessing of Pentecost, the first of many blessings to come. And so Peter said…

(Vs. 10)  “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?”

God never gave the Law to Moses that men might be justified before God by keeping all of it. Scripture says; “For by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His (God’s) sight.” Rather the Law was given to show men how far short they fall of the righteous standards of God and that the only way to be made righteous in God’s sight is by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Unless the law of God is written on the heart by the Holy Spirit we are incapable of keeping the Law. The Law is good and perfect but in giving the Law God did not expect that men could keep it. This is why Moses instituted the sacrifices and offerings for sin until the ultimate Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, came and made perfect atonement for sin once and for all time by shedding His own blood. He was the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. These Jewish believers insisting on keeping the Law in reality could not keep it themselves and Peter pointed this out. Peter was very clear about this.

(Vs.11)  “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

The key word Peter used was the word “grace” or “unmerited favour not earned or deserved.” Peter would always remember his denial of the Lord Jesus three times and the vision he had later of the unclean animals being lowered from heaven in a sheet. Unless we see the Law of God and face the fact it condemns us to eternal hellfire because of our sin and rebellion we will never appreciate the grace of God. Only the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ can save any of us. As the scripture says; “Unless the LORD builds the house they labour in vain that seek to build it.”

(Vs.12-18)  “All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will rebuild its ruins, And I will restore it, So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.”

The leader among the apostles in Jerusalem was James and not Peter. James was the first among equals and the one who had the oversight among the Apostles. He recognised from scripture that God had always intended to include Gentiles as well as Jews to be His covenant people. The New Covenant was made with the House of Israel and with the house of Judah and by incorporation Gentile believers. Before the Lord Jesus came Biblical Judaism had come to the point where it had fallen away from the standards of Torah and had embraced other ceremonies and traditions of men that nullified the Law of God given to Moses in Torah. The Lord Jesus pointed this out to the Pharisees when He said; “‘these people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men’” (Matthew 15:8-9). David’s tabernacle, the Jewish nation, had fallen away from Biblical faith. In 70AD Mosaic Judaism ceased to exist and has not existed now for well over 2,000 years.

According to James he recognised from scripture that God had restored David’s Tabernacle on the Day of Pentecost when the Law of God was written on their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, with that revelation James also pointed out that Gentile believers were also included and grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel. Gentiles could also partake of the blessings of Abraham given to His descendants, the Jewish nation. Jewish believers were now grafted back into their own olive tree being Israel and Gentile believers were now grafted into the same olive tree among the natural grafted Jewish believers. Years later when Paul wrote his letter to the Church in Rome he spoke about the relationship between Israel and the Church (Romans 9-11). So then even though the first Church was Jewish God had made provision for the Gentiles to be included among His covenant people Israel. This is what scripture teaches. And so James continued…

(Vs.19-21)  “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

While recognizing the Jewish customs and ceremonies and feast days James saw that God did not require this of Gentile believers. There were however certain things which the Gentile believers were to abstain from. Firstly; they were to abstain from food offered to idols, because idol worship is connected to the worship of demons (Deuteronomy 32:16-17) (1 Corinthians 10:30). Secondly; they were to abstain from fornication, because this specific sin entangles those involved in it spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically because the body of a believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit and this particular sin would defile God’s temple. (1 Corinthians 6:18-19).  Thirdly; they were to abstain from eating strangled animals and drinking its blood because the Word of God says that ‘the life is in the blood.” God did not want any kind of disrespect for the shed blood of innocent animals which was required under Mosaic Law.

James added that many of the Gentiles were already familiar with the Temple services and acquainted with the laws and customs of Mosaic Judaism but also implied that they were not bound to keep the Jewish feasts and ceremonies. The truth is that if Jewish believers think it appropriate to keep the Jewish laws and ceremonies and dietary laws and requirements then they can do this provided they do not substitute these customs for faith in the Lord Jesus alone for salvation. The Gentiles were not required to keep the Jewish ceremonies and customs of Mosaic Law as such but were required to walk in the Spirit and by the Spirit empowered to keep the spiritual and moral requirements of the Law of Moses.

Most Messianic Jewish believers may keep the Mosaic regulations, ceremonies and dietary laws as a witness to their fellow unsaved Jews. This is appropriate for them to do this if they see the need for it. However, they are not to sit in judgement on Gentile believers who do not keep the customs and ceremonies of Mosaic Law. Freedom in Christ is God’s will for believers in Jesus because He has fulfilled all the law and commandments of God including the spiritual and moral law. If He lives in a believer, whether they are ethnically Jew or Gentile, then the blessed Holy Spirit empowers that believer to keep the spiritual and moral requirements of the law of God. Having this matter cleared up the leaders at Jerusalem decided to write a letter to the Jewish Leaders at Antioch regarding Gentile believers.

(Vs.22-30)  “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and they sent this letter by them, “The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

It was important to send to Antioch men of good standing and reputation among the assemblies. These were to be men who had weathered the spiritual storms even at the risk of their own lives. They were no chocolate soldiers but seasoned veterans from many hard fought and won campaigns for Christ. These men were to accompany Barnabas and Paul who had already proved themselves on the spiritual battlefield. So the leaders at Jerusalem chose Judas and Silas, men who could confirm the will of God regarding the Gentile believers. Notice that it says; “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials.”

All that God required of the Gentile believers at Antioch was the same requirements James had stated earlier. They were to abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication and to keep themselves free from such things, and that if they did this they would do well. This was all the Holy Spirit required of the Gentile believers and also applied to any Jewish believer who understood this requirement from the Holy Spirit.

As scripture says; “Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe.” It did not mean that a believer was free to live as they pleased without any law but that because the Lord Jesus fulfilled all of the Law’s requirements believers were only obliged to walk in the Spirit and not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. As it is written; “For as many as are led by the Spirit they are the sons of God.” The blessed Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, whether they are Jew or Gentile, empowers that believer to walk in obedience to the spiritual and moral laws of God summed up in the Ten Commandments.

Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can any believer love the LORD their God with all of their heart and with all of their soul and with all of their mind and with all of their strength and love their neighbour as they would love themselves. On these two commandments hang everything the law and the prophets taught. This is the sanctifying and purifying work of the blessed Holy Spirit. Apart from His power we cannot please God or keep His commandments. If we have been born again then we will keep the commandments of God. If we love God then we will be empowered to love others and keep God’s commandments.

As John the Apostle wrote; “By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. If anyone says, “I know Him,” but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). And again John wrote; “By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, because everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith” (1 John 5:1-4).

Saving faith and obedience to God’s Word go hand in hand. It is “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5; 16:26) If we say we have faith but do not walk in the Spirit and keep the Word of God then we as yet do not belong to God. It does not mean that we will be perfect because we still have to battle the world, the flesh and the devil everyday but we will not be living in wilful and habitual sin. John also made this clear when he wrote; “The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the works of the devil. Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil can be distinguished: Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is anyone who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:8-10).

All of us at times will sin but when the Holy Spirit convicts us about it we confess it and when we do that we get rid of it (1 John 1:9). However, if we are not careful a wilful sin can lead to habitual sin and then we are on dangerous ground spiritually. The secret is to walk and pray in the Holy Spirit and under the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). In this way we will be kept in the love of God (Jude 1:20-21). As we walk so we are continuously cleansed and when we become conscious that we have missed it we run to the blood and settle the matter with God. If we are truly born of God we will not make a habitual practice of sin. Scripture is clear on this.

(Vs.30-32)  “So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.”

When the Holy Spirit has full control of a believer or a local assembly there is freedom and joy in worship and ministry. As it is written; “Where the Spirit is there is freedom.” Whether Jew or Gentile, all are one in Messiah.  If there is a Jewish believer who wants to keep certain ceremonies and dietary restrictions then they should do so in faith without hindering Gentile believers who do not believe it necessary. Both are right and in line with the will of the Holy Spirit in this matter. In Messiah there is no ethnic barriers as Paul would write later; “…For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27-29).

He also wrote; “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:13-15). The only law imposed on us as believers is the law of love that through the Spirit enables us to walk in obedience to God, to keep His commandments and to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves (Romans 5:5). Our faith is “a faith that works by love.” As Paul also wrote; “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

And so Judas and Silas strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message. When the Holy Spirit is anointing the preaching of the Word of God people will stay around. In most western churches today a sermon goes for about a half an hour or forty minutes, however, in the New Testament when the gifts of the Spirit operated freely in  a local assembly of believers you could have up to three preachers all speaking in turn (1 Corinthians 14:29). There is a story told of a lady in a local town who heard a preacher and said afterwards why did he not speak for three hours? Apparently she had walked three hours from her village virtually through the jungle to come to the local church and when she arrived she expected three hours of teaching because she was so hungry for the Word of God.

(Vs.33-35)  “After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out. But it seemed good to Silas to remain there. But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.”

In the early church prophets and teachers ministered in the local assembly. It was never a one man show or guru centred. In the early Church and in the New Testament there was plurality of leadership. A pastor would have oversight along with the elders. This was the pattern God ordained in all the Churches (Acts 14:23). In the Last Days the Holy Spirit will restore the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the local assembly and the gifts of the Spirit in abundance. The Book of Acts will happen again and in some parts of the third world it is already happening!

(Vs.36-41)  “After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”

It would seem in his early days of ministry that Paul at times was impatient and possibly had a tendency to measure others strengths and abilities or lack of them by his own strengths and abilities. He possibly thought that they, like him, should be bold and courageous for the Lord Jesus. Now Mark was younger than Paul and had returned from the mission field possibly because he could not take the pace or the pressure and demands of ministry. It did not mean that Mark was inferior spiritually to Paul but that Mark did not have the knowledge and experience of life and education that Paul had at this time.

Disagreements among leaders do happen and will continue to happen. Paul was insistent that Mark not go with him. However, Barnabas (his name means son of encouragement) was of a different mindset that saw in Mark great potential that lay dormant due to his lack of age and experience. It was not an argument about doctrine but a clash of personalities where impatience collided with patience. Seeing nothing could be solved they agreed to go separate ways in ministry.

God never overrides the human will of his children and sometimes disagreements will occur like this one and it will need time to rectify itself. Paul had one perspective concerning Mark and Barnabas another and yet their views were both correct and equally co valid. It was a good thing that Barnabas did not give up on Mark because he must have seen something in this young man worth persevering with that in time would come to fruition. Years later when Paul was in prison and felt deserted by his brethren he wrote, “…because Demas, in his love of this world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is useful to me in the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:10-11).

At the end of his life it was Mark that Paul asked for and said that he was useful to him in the work of ministry. Sometimes it takes age and the experiences of life to make us appreciate the worth of a brother or sister we thought were not up to it at one time. Having said all of this the ministry of the gospel was not hindered as Mark went with Barnabas while Silas went with Paul having been committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”

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