Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Most hate a fuss, but few want to miss out on it. One of the most notable fusses in the New Testament was between Paul and Barnabas as recorded in Acts 15. Paul and Barnabas were absolutely on the same page w/regard to their mission and goal, but not the means. Sound familiar? Together, they had participated in bringing unity to the Church, yet had a fuss they could not settle between themselves. As disturbing and painful as they are, conflicts can be found throughout Church history.
Some Points to Ponder: 1) God uses the body as one of His chosen analogies of The/His Church. We further know that He (God) places the members in the body as it pleases Him. 2) The first thing Jesus prayed for the night of His betrayal and arrest, was Unity. He even said (John 17:21) if we don't display/practice unity to the lost and dying world, they will not believe that God sent Him. 3) If we are Christ's body, when we fuss, fight or fall apart, it is to God, like a seizure - "let no man tear asunder". Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Our heroes were fighting over Mark. Barnabas champions Mark because - they were cousins - Col. 4:10. Paul was very angry at Mark for deserting him in Acts 13:13.
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch: Who was ultimately right? Do you suppose these Spiritual Giants ever consulted God about their case? Sure they did. Have you ever gone to The Lord and pleaded your case against another person? Even one in your Church? Why didn't God just come down and settle it? Fasten your pewbelts: Because He has already given the commandment. ".... That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." John 13:34 It really is as simple as that. Paul looked at folks and asked: "What can they do for God's work?". Barnabas on the other hand asked: "What can God's work do for them?" We preach love, counsel it, praise it, recommend it, but do we really (when it counts) practice it? Love like = putting others wants ahead of my own? Not counting/recording wrong? Forgiving? Exercising patience? Letting no corrupt language proceed out of our lips? Not gossiping? Not slandering? We rationalize: "But what I'm saying about so-N-so is true!". So were Paul and Barnabas speaking the truth. That's not the test.
The test is as follows. Are you or are you not a disciple of Christ? If you are His follower, you will follow and we are told at least twice in the New Test. not to "return (repay) evil for evil". What's the point? In society, and even in the Church, we have relegated Love to the level of tolerance. When a brother or sister makes us mad, rather than confronting in love, we just exercise "religious tolerance" and put space between us and them. Or worse, we go on a slanderous campaign to recruit others into our poisonous rant. How does God see this? "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, land thereby many be defiled:" Heb. 12:15. This directly effects the Body; Christ's Body. Don't let this be you.