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Acts of the Apostles: 28 - Acts 15:19-41

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Acts of the Apostles

28 - Acts 15:19-41

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Acts of the Apostles: 28 - Acts 15:19-41

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.62 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (998.33 MB)
MP3 Audio (30.56 MB)

In this class we will discuss Acts 15:19-41 and talk about the judgment concerning the Gentiles turning to God and what behaviors to abstain from. We will notice the letter sent to the Gentile believers and the encouragement it brought to the people. We will finish the class examining the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas on whether or not John (called Mark) should join the travelers.


[Darris McNeely] The Jerusalem conference in Acts 15 was a watershed conference for the Church and its mission to the gentiles. And also, it helps us to understand a very important principle regarding how we understand the law, also what we will take from the law and recognize as still to be kept under the new covenant. In other words, what from the old covenant do we not keep? What under the new covenant do we keep? That too is wrapped up in a principle that we will talk about here in the Jerusalem conference of Acts 15 as we go through this. And it's a landmark conference. You go through Church history, the traditional Church history beyond the Book of Acts of Christianity, and it's loaded up with all kinds of Church councils.

We've talked about the Council of Nicaea in the year 325, which is probably the most prominent one of all, and its impact. But this is truly the first Church council if you want to look at it that way among the apostles and the leading elders of the Church in these early years of the story. And it's the only one we have in scripture, and it bears our attention and our importance as we deal with this. And so, we left off at verse 18 of Chapter 15, actually verse 19, so we'll pick it up there. James, the elder in Jerusalem, presiding over this conference now is going to make his judgment because he says in verse 19.

Acts 15:19 “Therefore, I judge.

So, we know that this is his ruling. Is it his alone? I don't think so. We've already heard the testimony of Peter. We've heard the testimony of Barnabas and Paul as to what the fruits and no doubt, others as well. And so, it's not just James', it is ultimately the group. But beyond that, it's the judgment of God, which is what he has come to conclude and what he said in the previous verses. But it is a reasoned understanding led by God's spirit of these men, James is the spokesman to lay this down for the good of the Church.

Acts 15:19-20 So, he says, “I judge that we should not trouble those from among the gentiles who are turning to God,” echoing in his own way, what Peter said, don't put a yolk on them that they cannot bear, “but that we write to them…” So, there does need to be some instruction. There needs to be clarification, some details. “To abstain,” number one, “from things polluted by idols.”

So, let's note here start a list of what is said. All right? Things polluted by idols. And he's talking about the gentile idols. The gentile, pagan temples were full of, you know, sacrifices and activities.

Acts 15:20 He says, “Stay away from things polluted by idols. Secondly, from sexual immorality.”

Sexual immorality, that's a no-brainer, isn't it? When you look at the commandment. And so, avoid sexual immorality. Immorality. Okay, sexual immorality here, got that straight, from sexual immorality. Now, in the gentile, again, the pagan temples, they were brothels. This sexual immorality was wrapped up in the worship of Artemis, of various other gods and goddesses, Dionysius, his rights, Apollo, so many of them. You went to the temple not to be a pious, righteous worshiper of your deity so much as often as it was to engage in immorality. And there were women who lived there whose sole purpose was to be a part of the sexual immorality and the sexual rights connected to the worship of the particular deity by going into all the detail of all the different ones, but this was what the temples were. And it's a far cry from the temple that God established in Israel, ultimately in Jerusalem. And anything dealing with the way the people of God were to conduct themselves when they came into the presence of God, to come into the presence of a pagan deity was to, in many cases, engage in this. And it was an attraction, there's an attraction.

You learned when you went through the Book of Corinthians that Corinth was polluted with immorality to Corinthianize, was a byword to commit fornication, sexual immorality, to be like the Corinthians. That's what you used to describe that whole way of life. And so, it doesn't take a lot of study to unearth this. The gentiles were to stay away from that.

Acts 15:20 “And then from things strangled.”

All right, that's the third thing. Things strangled. This would be animal sacrifices that were not properly killed and bled. gentiles would typically strangle their sacrifice. And they would also slit the guts open as well. There was certain cults into which people were initiated, where they stood under a pin, and just above them was a pin holding an ox. And they were below it. And the priest came along with a knife and ripped the belly open, and everything spilled down over the penitent, the official, the person being initiated into that cult. You can see it portrayed even in some movies that have been done about Rome, but this is what was regularly done.

But here the strangling refers to an improper bleeding of an animal that then would be sacrificed. And, you know, in God's temple, both the priest and the person bringing the offering would then partake of the offering. It was bled properly, then it was cooked. And that was part of the whole ritual process that would be done in the temple. But, I mean, there was improper preparation there.

Acts 15:20 “And from blood.”

That was a very important part of it that became, you know, part of the diet. And, you know, the law of Moses explicitly forbid eating the blood. You just don't do that. And so, these were some specific things that they knew that the gentiles needed to have these four things emphasized. There were many other aspects of the pagan cults that could have been mentioned. These are comprehensive, but they all deal with, right here, a pagan temple, paganism. And essentially, they're telling them, stay away from those places, period. And that they were at a constant temptation. They were on every corner, almost. They regulated the life of every significant city, Ephesus, Pergamum, Philippi, Rome Thessaloniki, Athens, we'll read when Paul comes to Athens, the city's given over to idols. They say that in Athens, there were more idols than there were men, but there were pagan temples all over any significant major city in the ancient world. And they were also wrapped up in the guilds of your business. And it was intertwined with every aspect of the social life of the community.

And we see then the continual problem, once we get into the Book of Revelation and look at the messages that, or to those seven congregations there, and the influence from the pagan temples that still were impacting Christians at the end of the first century. And so, this addresses this in detail here and tells them essentially this, “Stay away from idolatry.” At the heart of law was idolatry. These four things were all found in the temples that were dedicated to various idols and gentile deities. And it was very plain teaching to the gentiles, stay away from the temples and all things that were associated with them. And then he goes on in verse 21.

Acts 15:21 “For Moses has had throughout many generations, those who preach him in every city being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

And so, verse 21 is saying, you will hear the teaching about Moses devoid of all the, you know, if you looked at just the teaching of Moses and the law, you know, you can stay away from all the traditions and everything else, and you can hear that in the synagogues every Sabbath.

Now, some of these gentiles remember were God fearers. They had already been a part of the synagogue. And keep in mind as well, that in this first century period, we're reading about in the Book of Acts, the Church is still somewhat connected with the synagogue in that Paul goes to the synagogue to preach, and people join him, the Church out of the synagogue. And we also know that, you know, Paul, we're going to see him going up into the temple. The Church didn't divorce themselves completely from the temple or the synagogue in this first period of the Church, primarily up until 70 AD, and 70 AD you have the destruction of the second temple. All right. That's a date you should know. Second temple is destroyed, Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans. After there's no more temple, well then there's no place for any of the apostles or members to go to, you know, be a part of the sacrifices or the rituals that were still, in a sense, they were okay that they weren't pagan, was not forbidden for a Church member to go there.

We'll see that Paul then he offers sacrifice, but after 70 AD, there's no functioning priesthood and there's no temple. And so things begin to change dead out in the hinterland, they go to synagogues, yes, for a period of time. But we also know that by the end of the 1st century, let's just go forward to 100 AD, many of our good Church members that we're thinking about, reading about here were not even able to go into the synagogue. There was a parting of the ways between the Jews and the Christians in what we would call God's Church that we're reading about here by the end of the 1st century.

That's a huge topic. It's an important topic. I think I touched on it probably not as much when we went through the seven Churches here. But the synagogue of Satan and the references there in Revelation 2 and 3 to the Jewish community reflects attention between the Church and even the Jewish community. And by the time we get to the end of the 1st century and the persecutions under Domitian and all that has taken place with the burning of Rome at the time of Nero, Paul and Peter are both dead. Then we've got a divide developing between Jewish synagogue and our members. They don't go there. They're not welcome there in some cases. And that's significant to understand that you could not go into a fellowship at that time of fellow Sabbath keepers, even though one group didn't accept Christ. But there was still this ability to interact. It's a big subject, it's an important one to think about and it helps us to understand what is developing here.

But James is saying here, mid 1st century AD that they're going to...he's agreeing with Peter, he's agreeing with what Paul has accomplished. They've cut through the debate. They don't get bogged down into a lot of the details. And they illustrate with these four laws, what is still valid. These four laws don't deal with civil matters, rituals, or the priesthood left unspoken. They could have been confused with the now invalid ceremonial laws. But these all touch on the moral spiritual law that they are still to keep, the 10 Commandments. And so that's important to understand here. They could receive further instruction for a period of time in the synagogue, and so they are to stay away from all of this. So, this is really a very important decree here. 

Acts 15:22 Tells us, “It pleased the apostles and elders with the whole Church to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Barnabas and Paul, namely Judas, who was also named Barsabbas and Silas leading men among the brethren.”

So, as I said, they create this letter. They write it, I like to call it a doctrinal paper. We have many doctrinal study papers in United that go into more detail about the nature of God or about the tithing or the resurrections and many different other topics. And so, they create this letter that is then to be carried by these individuals from this council. And so, they wrote this letter, verse 23. All right? So, it's an official document, the apostles, the elders, and the brethren. So, it comes from the collective body.

Acts 15:23 “To the brethren who are of the gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.”

Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. So, this is the area, here's Antioch, all right, here's Syria, and this is the area of Cilicia. So, this is the area where the problem's generated, and this is where then they write this letter and send to these regions. I mentioned this is also that area where just recently, this massive, huge unfortunate earthquake took place. And I think on, you know, the next class, I'll bring in some pictures and show you of what I saw over there last year, and help maybe just bring a little bit some of that closer to you to understand. But this is the area affected even by this modern earthquake that this letter was sent to.

Acts 15:24 “Greetings, since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls saying that you must be circumcised and keep the law, to whom we gave no such commandment.”

And so, the law that is spoken about here is not the commandments, the 10, it's the ceremonial purification laws that were referred to back in verses 9-11, which under the Sanhedrin had become a heavy yolk, not the commandments of God. On your studies of Romans and Galatians, you certainly tie in all of how this works under the various covenants and the works and everything else. It's not my purpose to go into all of that, but the circumcision, even as we know, is of the heart now, and that is what is taking place. We still believe and teach, and they were still teaching circumcision, as Paul did in his book to the Romans of the heart. But the circumcision of the flesh was not a requirement to be a part of the Church in a spiritual fellowship here.

Acts 15:25-28 It says, “It seemed good to us being assembled with one accord to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We've therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For seem good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon, you know, greater burden than these necessary things.”

And so, they reference the spirit of God, which is the Holy Spirit, which is the essence of the Father. It is the essence of Jesus Christ. As we've studied, it's not a third-person being of the trinity. It is the essence of God, of God family. It is the power of God. It is that means by which God Christ lived their life within us, and also act and move within and upon the Church to work. One of the things we just balloted on was the strategic plan this year, and we even had a discussion this morning. And one of the parts of it to add the phrase being led by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which if you will, next time you're holding one of your meetings in the conference room, look at the vision statement on the wall there, which it says, “A Church led by God's Spirit or God's Holy Spirit,” which is what we are and what we want to be. So, you know, the Church is led by God's Spirit.

Acts 15:25 And what James is saying here, “that it seemed to the spirit, to God, to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.”

Again, to keep them away from largely idolatry, which is all of this was connected to. But it got into hammered home some specifics that they were to avoid. And he repeats them in verse 29.

Acts 15:29 “That you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.”

And so, the letter goes out. And what we have here before we move on is something that's important to understand. You study this in the Book of Revelation, in Revelation 12:7, I want to turn and read that, which is an interesting description of the Church. At the very end of the age, as Satan is pouring out his most virulent attacks upon the Church in Revelation 12. This is after he is cast out of heaven. And he goes knowing that, and he begins to persecute in verse 17.

Revelation 12:17 “The dragon was enraged with the woman, which is the Church, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring.”

The rest of her offspring are those that are not in what is called her place earlier in verse 14. And so, Satan seeks out, he goes after to make war with the rest of this Church, the offspring of the woman. But notice the two distinctive markers.

Revelation 12:17 “Who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Here at the end of the age, there are two markers that John has given out of Revelation to show the Church. They will still be keeping the commandments of God, and they will have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Now, this can be understood, certainly to know that it is the commandments of God that the Church knows, or if you will, the Old Testament or the old covenant. We understand what that was. We also understand how and what is brought over into the new covenant, which speaks to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the gospel, the new covenant. And that is how that should be understood. The Church understands, as we have seen here in Acts 15, how to peel out all that is tradition and all the various other aspects of the old covenant that were not to be, that don't carry over into the new covenant. And so, when you look at that, this is what has happened here with the Church. They haven't said anything about the Sabbath. They haven't even said anything dealing with the food laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, but certainly food items and the way food is prepared and its connection to idolatry, you know, avoid all of that. Don't eat the blood. That's a specific command from the law.

Why? Well, it's obvious. Where I grew up, there was a large German community, a lot of farmers, German farmers. Every year they would kill their pigs. And if you know anything about pig slaughters, when they do these things, nothing is thrown away. Nothing is thrown away from a pig. Everything is eaten in one form or the other. From ham to bacon, to pickled pig feet, to pig brains, to blood sausage made out of the blood of the pig and the brains of the pig. And my dad would bring what was called head cheese home about once a year, German head cheese. You figure it out, all right? And he liked it. I remember eating it one time in my pre-Church days, just so everybody is clear. And it was awful, terrible head cheese. Even if you are not in the Church and you don't want to keep the food laws of God, I would not recommend it, but it's a delicacy, it's there. And, you know, God says, don't do these things.

And so, you know, the gentiles had to clean up a lot of their life down to even, you know, various aspects of what was consumed out of some of these offerings. But when we compare Acts 15 with what we read here in Revelation 12, it shows that the Church knows what is to be kept and why. And that should help us to understand in at least one part of how we come to the conclusions that we do, and the teachings that we do in United and in our tradition of the Church about the food laws, why we keep those as part of the way of life and the teaching under the new covenant, while at the same time you don't get involved in the aspects of idolatry, immorality and even the ceremonial aspects of the temple that are part of what we've talked about here as well. And so, they put together this letter, and it is to go out to the Church. Now, if we look at the tail end here of the Chapter 15 of Acts, let me get over here to scriptures, actually verse 30.

Acts 15:30-31 “So, when they were sent off, it says they came to Antioch.” Now, this is Antioch of Syria again, this Antioch, not Antioch of Pisidia, the other one in her story, they went back to Antioch. “And when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. And when they read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Again, a typical approach in the congregations of that day and we see it here. And you have to understand that with the letters to the seven congregations, seven Churches in Revelation 2 and 3, those letters were read individually to the Church, as well as Paul's letters. He tells the Colossians, “Be sure you read the letter to the Laodiceans,” which we don't have in the New Testament. But it was a letter he wrote to the Church of Laodicea, different from the one Christ writes to the Church. And in Colossians, Paul says, “Be sure you read the one I sent to Laodicea.” And by that, it was read to them on a Sabbath. So, there'd be an oral reading of it, and that's what's taking place. And when these members in Antioch heard this, they were encouraged.

Acts 15:32-36 Says, “Judas and Silas themselves being prophets also exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.” So, they, they stayed, you know, continued to teach and to talk and have studies and meetings to strengthen the faith of the brethren. Verse 33, “After they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles,” that would mean back to Jerusalem. However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. So, Silas stays, and there's a reason, we're going to see. And then in verse 35, “Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch teaching and preaching the word of the Lord with many others also. And then after some days,” in verse 36, “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.’”

These would be the cities that we studied recently of probably Perga, Antioch, Lystra, Iconium, Derbe and revisit all of those Churches, see how they're doing. It's a pastoral visit. It's visiting and to go out, which every good pastor will do. Good pastor gets out and visits people in their homes.

You know, that's something in the Church that we've kind of lost a lot of. We encourage our new trainees and our new pastors about the necessity of getting out in people's homes and visiting. I was trained that way. That was how we spent a lot of our days through the week visiting with people. And over the years, the Church has kind of gotten away from that for a number of reasons. People have in some cases don't want to visit, or maybe it's perceived they don't want to visit. And I've usually find that who doesn't want to, you know, sit down and discuss the Bible or have a visit? There are certain visits of necessity you'll go to anoint somebody, somebody who's sick or convalescing.

Somebody's going through a trial and needs counseling, and there's a need to on a Tuesday morning, meet with so-and-so in their home. Or in some cases you might meet them in a restaurant or whatever, have a cup of coffee and spend whatever time is needed to talk. There's times just to have a meal and to visit. I'm kind of making a digression here off of Paul's desire to go and visit the brethren in every city, just to kind of talk for a minute about visiting. And as you've consider that here as students, you get out into your lives and into your routines and those listening as well in various congregations or wherever, I would encourage us all to look at the need for this idea of visiting or fellowshipping or being with one another.

You know, the minister going to visit, that's one part of it, us visiting among ourselves, fellowshipping. And we do it I know with a Zoom meeting, I know we do it with texting and the ease of cell phone communication in recent years, and that's all good too. But I will tell you, there is no substitute for siting down over a meal, over a cup of coffee, wherever and whenever the need is, or just to talk with your brethren, with your minister, to invite your minister in, or for a minister to invite himself. I'm trying to cover it all here. And I wish we could break through a lot of what has happened in recent years of our Church culture and of our Church life. And I'm not talking about just the COVID and post-COVID, but this goes back 25 and more years at the beginning of United, things changed, our culture even was impacted and it had begun before. People are working, mothers and, you know, people, You know, got soccer practice and everybody's going, and I know that. But to forsake the assembling of ourselves together outside of services, if I could take that principle and put that into, you know, through the week visiting and being together and assembling together, that helps to knit the Church together. It really does.

So, if you're listening in your home, wherever you may be to this, consider inviting your minister, but sometime make a meal for it. I mean, boy, when I was a young minister just starting out, we did this a lot, but the most enjoyable times I had were being invited to somebody's home for a meal and just to get acquainted, see where they live, you know, what's out in the backyard. What's out in that shop? What's in your barn? What's your hobbies? That really helps people get acquainted. And you share lives, you share experiences, and it breaks down misperceptions. It breaks down barriers, it knits the body together. And I would say a minister has to be proactive in doing that. And don't take no for an answer the first time, the second time, or the third time, just be smiling, be persistent and do that. I would call it when I was a minister visiting, you know, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, usually those days would be reserved for that. And often a Sunday, I would spend all day just out driving, visiting two or three members, because the distances and the time you have there, but I would call it riding fence. Any of you from the West know what riding fence means?

Riding fence is what a rancher does when he goes out over, you know, his hundreds of acres and he checks the condition of the fence. Is the fence down somewhere that the cattle or the horses or the sheep are going to get out? He won't know until he gets out there. If he's gotta herd of cattle out there, then he is gotta go out and check on them, sheep and everything else. You get the analogy. I love to ride fence and make two or three, four visits in a day. And, you know, I drink a ton of coffee or tea, but that's how I got to know people. That's how I bonded in those relationships with people. And for our ministry to do that, for our membership to want to do that, you know, a Zoom call's great, a Zoom Bible study's fine and maybe the best way a lot of the times. But, you know, host a Bible study in your home with real live people and a minister, and you open the Bible, okay? And oh yeah, you turn to the scripture and then you talk about it, and then you have some snacks and, you know, you stay in your fellowship. Those are the things that knit us together.

So, when Paul is wanting to get back to these Churches and to visit with them, this is a significant principle of pastoral care. And Paul is our model in many ways of indefatigable pastor who charges through the night, anoint, preaches, teaches, endures hardship, but loves to be with the people. I mean, that's what ministry is all about. That's what our Churches are all about, that we love to be with one another. And a good minister has got to have a love to be with the people of God. So, there's a twist now that happens. Look at this.

Acts 15:37 “Now, Barnabas was determined to take with him John called Mark.”

Remember John called Mark? He was with him when they started out on their first trip. And when they went through Cyprus and got up here to Perga, he said, “Adios. Vaya con dios, goodbye.” And he went back to Jerusalem. I left the part of that song out, I think in there. Somebody will correct me at some point, but he left them. They had to carry their eggs, make all their arrangements, as well as preach and teach and get stoned and everything else. Now, Barnabas, who is his cousin, a relative wants to take him.

Acts 15:38 “Paul insisted that they should not take them. Should not take with him, the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.”

I love that phrase. Had not gone with them to the work. We are all engaged in the work. And for a moment, John Mark, let down," I'm not going to go with you to the work," If the force being attacked, what do they say, "To the ramparts, to the stock aid." It's a call to action. This is really, look at what Luke is saying is, the work is a call to action. John Mark had left them as they went to the work. When you go to the work, it's an offensive position. You're eager to go. What does a fireman do when the bell rings in the firehouse? What does a policeman do when the call comes in of a problem? What did they do on 9/11 in New York City when the call came out of the two twin towers under attack?

You know what they did, you've seen the videos, you've seen the documentaries. If you haven't, you should watch. Find a good one and see what happened. You know what happened? The firemen came from Brooklyn, Queens and all the boroughs of New York in their firetrucks to the fire, to the buildings. The policemen dropped everything and went to the buildings, and they went up the buildings, and many of them didn't survive. There's one poignant picture of a firetruck crossing the Brooklyn Bridge from, I believe the borough of Brooklyn on its way, and it's got a picture of that firetruck crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and the two twin towers burning in the same picture.

Everyone in that truck died in one of those towers when it came down. That's a classic picture. While everybody else was trying to get out, all the workers trying to get out, which they should, they were passing the firemen and the policemen going to the fire, going to the work. And look at what is said here with Luke, that he had not gone with them to the work. Now, Mark had a lapse. He got cold feet, he chickened out, whatever for whatever reason. But as I said, when we talked about this earlier, he learned his lesson. And Barnabas sees that about him, and Barnabas wants to bring him now on this second trip to the work. I think Mark probably got home, and I think his mother that we were introduced to earlier in the story where Peter was let out of the jail, remember that? And then he went to the house, Mark's mother's house. I kind of think, this is the way I'd imagine it. When Mark got home, his mother gave him a dressing down. “What are you doing here? You're supposed to come home on your shield or carrying your shield.” That's what a Spartan mother said to their son when a Spartan went off to work, “You either come home on that shield or carrying that shield.” In other words, you don't come home chicken. I have a feeling that Mark's mother said, “What are you doing here?” And she didn't fix him chicken and dumplings or enchilada casserole, or the whole enchilada. He probably got the whole enchilada in another way when he got home and he had time to think about it.

And it's evident that he probably went along with his relative Barnabas back to Antioch, because he's there when they get ready to go. And he's probably ready to go now to the work. When you go to the work, when you're called to the work of the Church, it's a mission, it's a job. Yes. And, you know, we get those of us that are employed by, we get a paycheck. Yeah, I've been at this for almost 50 years. But it's a job that I like going to every day. I've never felt like I've gone to work because I've had a job that I've loved, but I've gone to the work in my life. And that's the spirit that we have to have. That's the spirit that we need. And you need in your generation to carry forth what we have done, what your parents have done to the work. Go to the work. And so, this created contention.

Acts 15:39-41 “And it became so sharp that they parted from one another. So, Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, and Paul chose Silas and departed being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the Churches.”

And so, here we have a division. Is it a Church division? Did they split the Church? Yes or no? I have actually had people quote this story to me to justify splitting the Church and going off and creating a new fellowship. Can you believe that? That is a heresy, that is a twisting of scripture, that is wrong. Barnabas and Mark didn't split the Church. They didn't divide, go off and, you know, create a new logo and trademark for their organization. We find Mark, as I told you earlier, he's called by Paul to bring a cloak from Troas when he's shivering in prison in Rome. He says, “Have Mark, bring me my coat.” He says at the end of 2 Timothy. Paul even made up with Mark in time. We don't hear any more about Barnabas in the story of Acts. The tradition is that Barnabas and Mark, as it says, they went to Cyprus, which remember that's where Barnabas was from. And there are kind of commemorative Churches on the island of Cyprus today to Barnabas, and supposedly I think even a traditional site where Barnabas may be buried. Mark is not even traditionally buried there. But this is where Barnabas leaves the narrative of Acts.

Barnabas being the son of encouragement, the one remember who welcomed the marauding, persecuting, murdering Saul into the Church in Jerusalem when nobody else would. He took him to the apostles, introduced him when nobody else would. This is the same Barnabas who saw good in Paul. Now he says, “Hey, give the kid a second chance.” And thank God for second chances, thank God for third chances, fourth chances, because that's Barnabas is... I like Paul, I like Peter, but Barnabas is somebody I look at in the story of Acts and I think, “Wow, I look forward to getting to know him a whole lot better in the Kingdom.” And so now, the positive thing is it is not a division of the Church, it's a division of labor. You got two teams going out now. We don't know what Barnabas and Mark later did, but I think they strengthened the disciples and did other things. And so, we have two teams and so twice as much as getting done. And it's that next chapter that we get into here in Chapter 16 where the focus is upon Paul and Silas, and ultimately Luke. And we'll go into Europe. And I thought I would get to that today, but I didn't. But never fear, we're going to get through the Book of Acts. But we are now getting into what to me, with the next few chapters, is the heart and core and my favorite passages and sections of Acts. And so, we'll spend some time there and get into that beginning with the next class, Chapter 16.