Welcome to “Abounding Grace” as we conclude “the marks of maturity” in our study of being established in grace. To-day we will take a look at the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, as I said last time this was not just a tiff, this was a disagreement of note, these two men parted company, and if I understand the situation correctly they stayed out of each other’s way for quite some time. Eventually the quarrel was finally resolved.
Let’s analyze the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas.
Acts.13:5. (Amp) When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the Word of God [concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God] in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John [Mark] as an attendant to assist them.
Paul and Barnabas set out on a missionary expedition with the aim of carrying the Word of salvation through Christ to a gentile people, firstly that is not an easy undertaking and as we know from the Word that they encountered many hardships, they take along a youngster by the name of John Mark, a relative of Barnabas’s.
Acts.13:13. (Amp) Now Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John [Mark] separated himself from them and went back to Jerusalem.
Whatever the reason was I don’t know but the youngster decides he has had enough (hey, maybe he was just plain homesick) of the campaign and goes back to Jerusalem, in Pauls thinking, that is something that should never have happened and looks at it like Mark had deserted them. Then the two stalwart’s decide to go and visit the brethren in all the cities where they preached, Barnabas wants to take John Mark along and Paul flatly refuse to have a deserter along with him.
Acts.15:36-38. (Amp) And after some time Paul said to Barnabas, Come, let us go back and again visit and help and minister to the brethren in every town where we made known the message of the Lord, and see how they are getting along. Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark [his near relative]. But Paul did not think it best to have along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work.
Remember, two more dedicated men could not have been found in the early church, both effective and both spiritually minded, neither selfish nor immature but sparks flew when these two men of spiritual strength clashed.
We have a critical issue here: Should a person who defects from a mission and leaves people in the lurch be given a second chance?
The various viewpoints: Paul says no, while Barnabas says yes, each thinks he is right, because each man views the issue from a different vantage point, we see Barnabas as a people oriented man, a man of compassion and a builder of men, he looked at the issue from the viewpoint of the overall good of the man, while Paul is more task orientated, he is a man of conviction, he plants churches and looks at the issue from the viewpoint of the overall good of the ministry.
Acts.15:38. (Amp) But Paul did not think it best to have along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work.
(Mess) But Paul wouldn’t have him; he wasn’t about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia.
The word desert is a word from which we get the word apostatized from and it means to be unfaithful, to be a traitor. It would seem as if Paul is being a bit harsh. Is He?
Prov.25:19. (Amp) Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.
In a disagreement it is hard to see both sides of the issue when emotions are flaring and that is what was happening here, it was sharp contention. In the Greek the word uses is paroxusmos and it means an angry dispute, we get our English word paroxysm from it which is a fit of violent emotion, and such a rift resulted from Paul’s and Barnabas’s disagreement that the torn relationship could not easily be mended, it took time but eventually the two were reconciled. The result of the disagreement was that the two men “separated from each other”.
Acts.15:40. (Amp) But Paul selected Silas and set out, being commended by the brethren to the grace (the favour and mercy) of the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways continuing in the ministry, they didn’t spend the rest of their lives getting back at one another and that takes grace.
We must learn to disagree graciously and to do this keep the following four points in mind:
Always leave room for an opposing viewpoint.
If an argument must occur do not assassinate the other parties character, an argument is one thing character assassination is another thing altogether.
If you don’t get your way, get over it and get on with your life.
Sometimes the best solution is separation. The Paul and Barnabas situation sets the biblical example for us; they couldn’t come to terms so they took to the road. If separation is the best solution do it graciously. When your disagreements start outweighing your agreements it may be time to distance yourself from that person. Separation is never easy but it may be God’s way of moving you on to another dimension of ministry.
That is all I have for now, be blessed this beautiful Sunday, and don’t forget to go into your closet and wish your heavenly Father a happy father’s day, don’t forget to apply the lesson if you run into any unexpected opposition to-day.
If you are not a born again child of God then you must know this, that it is the will of God for you to come to know the divine truth of His Word and that He loves you so much He sent Jesus just for you, imagine that, if you were the only person in the whole world that would make a decision then God thought if worthwhile to send Jesus to die just for you. Your part in salvation is to receive what has already been purchase for you at the cross of Calvary; you can do that right now by praying the following prayer:
“Father, it is written in Your Word that if I confess with my mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in my heart that You have raised Him from dead, I shall be saved. Therefore, Father, I confess that Jesus is my Lord. I make Him Lord of my life right now. I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. I renounce my past life with Satan. “I thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Jesus is now my Lord, and I am a new creation. Old things have passed away. Now all things become new in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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