Acts 15:36-41 – 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 [a]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 [b]commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
- Paul came up with the idea to go back to the cities they had preached
- Barnabas was “determined” – (having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it)
- Paul “insisted” (demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal)
- There was “contention” (heated disagreement.)
- They “parted” (move away from each other, separate)
Here Paul is saying, John Mark is no good because of what He did
Paul is justified – he is dude that go stoned, killed and has no room for deserters
But what happened to extending the same grace that was extended to Paul
Acts 9:26-27 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
See, its easy to receive grace, to think that we got it all together, to come to a place where life throws us a test and our inner most parts are exposed
Its easy to point fingers at Paul, but I wonder when testing comes in our lives and we are exposed, what is seen in us
No one is immune – Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
If Paul could follow his fresh – I believe we too are not immune
Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
It is easy for us to be doing great things for God, yet we are not intentional about relationship that we have with each other. We push our own desires and this brings division.
Galatians 5:9 A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church]
Division does not come screaming, “I am division”
It’s different when we are attacking a common enemy, we are all in, but what happens when division creeps inside the church, with our brothers and sisters
We have to learn quick to identify those things that make us walk away from what God is calling us. That make us interfere with God’s plan- that leads us to not get used by God.
Are you ready to be Tested?
Jeremiah 17:9-10 – The heart is deceitful above all things, And [a]desperately wicked; Who can know it?I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the [a]mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings
Testing has to occur at some point
John 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The bible says that the works will be put under fire and if – that is testing
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 – According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on itendures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
I want to be tested right now so that I don’t loose on the battle field
Yet when we are being tested in life, we want to ran away from comfort
Unless we are tested, we can never be fully exposed
Expose – (reveal the true, nature of (someone or something) – reveal those things that we don’t see in us
I have a hate/love relationship with the Spartan race
- The race – exposes us. Its what happens when you are put in a place where your strength and weakness is revealed
- On one hand, it’s a great accomplishment when done. All 13 miles and 31 death obstacles
- But on the other hand, I thought I had trained, I thought I was in great shape, and I was good until I hit mile 6 and my knees started to give in, ..at that moment- It all came rushing down from memory lane….how often did I run and if I did, what could I have done better?
- This is just a race man, but a time will come when we will have to be tested and the question when your knees are exposed, what are you going to say about your training?
- What if this was the race for your life man?
Paul was a great man, a man that had been given a new life, forgiven…and much more
Yet, when he had a choice to offer a second chance his heart still needed work to fully understand grace. Something was exposed that needed addressing
Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting
- This should be our daily prayer
- When we think we got it, we have to ask God to expose our inner thinking, desires, drives …all those things that are hidden but have the ability to destroy us
After the Test
– One of two things happen
– We refuse to acknowledge our weakness and blame it on someone/something
– Because of Fear- the biggest thief to growth is fear
– We have to be vulnerable – stop being scared of known. (How is God going to search your heart if you can’t open it to Him)
– We have to be honest before God
– How can I help you when I don’t know that you are hurting?
– Mustard for the guy that I meet during Spartan
– The other thing that may happen, is we acknowledge our weakness and we learn from it
– This is what enables Paul to say in
2 Timothy 4:11 – Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.
This evening you can identify as one of these guys or all of them
- Paul – doing great things for the kingdom, but need a heart check everyday to make sure that we are in the right path- That when we are exposed, Christ and only Christ in seen
- Barnabas – (which means sons of encouragement) , that you see the best in everyone. You put the kingdom above our own desires and wants – This dude followed Paul, and didn’t depart until it meant losing Mark
- Mark- Yes, you may have deserted your responsibilities, and it feel like no one wants you …but today is you are willing, to acknowledge that there is one who was vulnerable to the point of death, you too can be very variable to the Kingdom
Search me, O God, and know my heart. David is no accomplice with traitors. He has disowned them in set form, and now he appeals to God that he does not harbor a trace of fellowship with them. He will have God himself search him, and search him thoroughly, till every point of his being is known, and read, and understood; for he is sure that even by such an investigation there will be found in him no complicity with wicked men. He challenges the fullest investigation, the innermost search: he had need be a true man who can put himself deliberately into such a crucible (a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new) Yet we may each one desire such searching; for it would be a terrible calamity to us for sin to remain in our hearts unknown and undiscovered