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Between Believers (Acts 15:30~41)
30 The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.
31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.
32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.
33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.
35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
36 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."
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
38 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.
39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Strengthening Others (15:30–35)
When the believers in Antioch read the letter from Jerusalem, they are glad and feel encouraged. Judas and Silas also spend time encouraging and strengthening the believers, and then they are sent off to return to Jerusalem, but Paul and Barnabas stay and continue to teach and preach the Word. As we help one another to grow in faith, we should encourage and strengthen our fellow brothers and sisters. There may be times when we challenge and rebuke one another, but when these are done in love, even a rebuke can strengthen us to become more like Christ in our words and deeds. May we make a greater effort to encourage one another so that we will grow stronger in our faith.
- Who have you encouraged lately? How can you help people in your church to grow stronger in their faith?
Disagreement between Brothers (15:36–41)
Paul suggests to Barnabas that they visit the towns where they had preached the Gospel. Barnabas agrees and wants to take Mark with them, but Paul does not consider this a wise decision because Mark had previously deserted them in Pamphylia. Unfortunately, Paul and Barnabas are unable to resolve their disagreement, and despite having been friends and co-laborers for the Gospel for several years, they part ways and head to different areas to strengthen the churches. Later, Paul changes his mind about Mark and agrees that he is helpful in ministry (2 Tim. 4:11). Though God is gracious and can use us when we are in conflict with one another, we should still work toward forgiveness and reconciliation with our fellow believers.
- What would you do if you had a sharp disagreement with a fellow believer? How could you forgive and reconcile with one another?
A letter to God
Lord, I acknowledge that it is difficult to forgive and reconcile when I disagree strongly with someone. Give me a teachable heart so that I may be gracious with my Christian brothers and sisters just as You are gracious to us. In Your name I pray. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.