The Orchard Christian Church

The Orchard Christian Church__________ "where Fruit of the Spirit grows"____________________________ north Montebello ______________ Matthew & Kumi Perri

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Who was right?

When two people who are in close relationship have a big disagreement and their relationship is broken and destroyed, many people ask the question: Who was right?

When Barnabas and Paul started on the “first missionary journey”, the two of them were sent together by the Holy Spirit. [Acts 13-14] (John Mark “went” with them, but he wasn’t “sent” by the Holy Spirit. Personally, I don’t see John Mark’s brief time on this trip as any big deal. I see him as a promising but inexperienced young man who went along on a short summer mission trip with his uncle to check it out and get some experience as a temporary helper. Maybe he bailed out and went home a little early, but he wasn’t really even supposed to be on the trip in the first place, so his absence did not cause any significant hardship or problems. That’s my opinion on John Mark's short trip, but I could be wrong.) Barnabas and Paul had a long successful trip together. In time they returned to Antioch. “Some time later, Paul said to Barnabas ‘let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the Word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” [Acts 15:36-39] Question: Who was right, Paul or Barnabas? Answer: None of the above!

This is not a model of good missionary methods, it’s an example of what NOT to do. Paul and Barnabas did not seek God’s will this second time, in worship, prayer, fasting, and the Word. On what is commonly called the “second missionary journey”, they “went” but they were not “sent” by the Holy Spirit. Was it God’s will to break up the team of Paul and Barnabas and send out 2 teams instead? Were Silas and John Mark the right people to take as new partners? Was this the right time to go? Maybe or maybe not- we don’t know. But one thing is certain- they could have sought God’s clear leading about such an important decision, rather than fighting in a spirit of “discord”, “fits of rage”, “dissensions”, and “factions”. If it was God’s will to split up, they could have parted in an atmosphere of “peace”.

Who was right? God is always right. But Paul, Barnabas, me, and you fall short of the glory of God. When we are in God’s will, we will lift up the name of Jesus Christ above all others and put Him in the center, we will live by the 66 inerrant books of His Word, the Bible, and we will demonstrate in our lives the Fruit of the Spirit that Paul taught us about: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. [Galatians 5:19-26]


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