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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Friday, December 30 2011


In our last bible study, we saw a major disagreement arising between the Jews and believing Gentiles about traditions. It is instructive to observe the method adopted by the early church in order to resolve the debate. They did not take matters into their hands or allow strife and division to take over the church. As the matter was brought to the attention of the Apostles in Jerusalem, it is very important to note that a very broad spectrum (of course many of them seasoned) was allowed to make inputs to the issue. In fact, it was James (someone not seen to be the leader of the church at the time) that took the leading role as he made his contributions, supported by the scripture, to the matter at hand. Finally, they all agreed on the way forward as led by the Holy Spirit. Today, we will finish up this Chapter by observing certain things in the final resolution of the Church council and the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas.


Letter to Gentiles: Vs 22 - 35

Principle of print (writing) and documentation

§  Chosen men whose integrity was not in doubt were appointed to go; yet the consensus was put in print. Is there a lesson for the church to learn?

Content of the letter

§  Agreed by those involved

§  Clarity of the letter is striking! No ambiguity.

§  Commendation of Paul and Barnabas

§  Note the word ?seemed good' in vs 28. (Compare to last week's comment on Mosaic Law?)

"The avoiding of fornication is necessary to all Christians at all times; the avoiding of things strangled, and of blood, and of things offered to idols, is necessary at this time, for the keeping up of a good understanding between you and the Jews, and the preventing of offence;" MH commentary


Disagreement between Barnabas and Paul: Vs 36 - 41

Here is an account of a private disagreement between two great ministers not willing to compromise but yet ending well.

§  A proposal to review their work and renew it: As believers and as a church, we must cultivate the habit of continual assessment/appraisal of every activity we engage in so as to improve on them. Note the word ?how they do' in verse 36. That must be the purpose!

§  The principle of two-by-two: We need one of another in quite a number of ways so we must not be ashamed to both borrow and lend assistance. Two are better than one. Every soldier has his comrade. Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1-3

The Disagreement

§  The disagreement between the two was clearly defined i.e. about an assistant who was meant to be a witness of their doctrine, manner of life, and patience, and that should be fitted and trained up for further service. No ?spiritual' hypocrisy like ?it is well' of many modern believers meanwhile they are not in agreement with the subject matter.

What can we see from this?


§  Men will always be men even the best of us are subject to like passions. The two highly regarded men of God resolutely stuck to their opinions without even referring the matter to a third person as they did earlier.

§  It is not strange to have differences among wise and good men (Believers). In fact, different opinions, views and sentiments are to be expected from group of Christians. What it seems is the possibility that Paul and Barnabas amicably "agreed to differ".

§  We must be careful not to allow our differences over-ride the ultimate aim of glorifying Christ. What we should note here is that persecutions of the unbelieving Jews and the impositions of the believing Jews could not separate them yet they allowed unhappy disagreement to do so. This is written for us to learn from! I Cor. 10:11


God will always be God who knows how to make all things to work together for good to serve His purpose! Had it not been, He would not have permitted it.


§  More places visited. Barnabas went one way; he sailed to Cyprus (Ac 15:39), Paul went another way. God served His own purpose using it for the diffusing of gospel light.

§  More hands employed in the ministry of the gospel among the Gentiles.

§  Afterwards Paul seems to have had a better opinion of John Mark; Look at what he wrote to Timothy (2Ti 4:11). ?Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry'; and he writes to the Colossians concerning Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, that if he came to them they should receive him, bid him welcome, and employ him (Col 4:10).


The disposition of Paul later teaches us (As taken from MH commentary)

§  That even those whom we justly ?condemn', we should do so moderately and with a great deal of temper. This is because we may have cause to think better of them afterwards to the extent of seeing need to make use of them and make friendship with them. Therefore, we should regulate our resentments that if it should prove so, we may not be ashamed of them later.

§  That even those whom we have justly condemned, if afterwards they prove more faithful, we should cheerfully receive, forgive and forget, and put a confidence in, and, as there is occasion, give a good word to them.

§  That Paul, though he wanted his old friend and companion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, yet went on cheerfully in his work (Ac 15:41): He went through Syria and Cilicia, countries which lay next to Antioch, confirming the churches.  Though we change our colleagues, we do not change our principal President who is Jesus.



It is very crucial to engage the power of print (writing) and documentation in everything that we do in the church. This should be done in a clear and comprehensive fashion as we saw the Apostles did. Perhaps, if the inspirations/laws/instructions/etc had not been well-documented, we may not have had the bible.


In as much as the best of men will always be human, God is still able to use the ?faults' of his servants to the profit and building of the Church: yet we have to take heed, even in the best matters, that we do not let our anger overflow. Even when we mistakenly allow the heat-of-the-moment to take over and finally saw that our judgement had not been entirely right, we must be humble enough to admit it and wherever possible publicly as Paul did. 


Contributor: Akin Akande


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