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Chapter Fifteen — Part Five: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 04/17/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 15:35-41

1. Antioch.
a. Acts 15:35 NKJV — Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
b. They continued their labors, teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord, along with many others.
c. Even though others had been raised up who were capable of teaching and preaching, Paul and Barnabas did not sit back and relax.
d. They continued to preach and teach and minister.
e. The passion, industry, and usefulness of others should provoke and motivate us to further good works; not lull us to sleep.
f. It was Jews from Antioch, among others, who were responsible for the stoning of Paul.
g. And yet, here we find Paul and Barnabas, continuing to teach and preach the Gospel.

2. Commitment and Consecration.
a. What kept them going and never giving up?
b. They were consecrated to their call and their commission.
c. Each one of us must decide who we will follow—God or man.
d. We must place a higher value on God’s Word, and will, than anything the world has to offer.
e. We must commit fully to His plan for our lives—which is higher and better than any plan we could think of.
f. We must die so we can live—we must lose our life so we can find it (Matt. 10:38).
g. When a man marries, he leaves father and mother and cleaves to (is inseparably joined to) his wife (Matt. 19:5).
h. In the same way, each of us must leave behind our past, where we served ourselves, and cleave—live fully committed—to Jesus and His will and plan.
i. The things of this world, and our own plans and desires, must be burned up in the fire of zeal for God and His call.
j. We must put our hand to the plow and not look back—regrets and misgivings are distractions that steer us off-course (Luke 9:62).
k. The Great Commission is our calling, our purpose, and our plan to follow (Mark 16:15-18).
l. Keep ministering the Gospel and getting people saved, healed, and delivered.
m. Do not be distracted by distractions, nor misled by opinions, nor stay stuck behind obstacles.
n. Keep faithfully doing what you know to do, and He will direct your paths (Gal. 6:9; Prov. 3:6).  
o. If you are looking for an example to follow, you will find it in Jesus, and those He called, anointed, and appointed, like Paul.
p. 1 Corinthians 11:1 AMPC — Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).
q. We must all continue to do our part.

3. Division.
a. Acts 15:36 NKJV — Then after some days 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.”
b. Paul suggested that they go back to the cities they visited on their first missionary journey to check on their progress.
c. He uses the term, “brethren” which includes all the Christians there, not just the leadership.
d. Once they were Gentiles and strangers—now they are Christian family.
e. The fields are plowed, the seeds are sown, but they must continue to be watered and the weeds rooted out.
f. Acts 15:37 NKJV — Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.
g. Barnabas was partial to Mark—perhaps because they were related and/or perhaps because he felt responsible for him.
h. He was determined—obviously, he had already thought it over and made up his mind—but Paul did not agree.
i. Acts 15:38 NKJV — But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.
j. John Mark had bailed out on them before, and Paul was wary that he would do so again (Acts 13:13).
k. When you are in the trenches, you need people you can trust and upon whom you can rely.
l. There is a saying, “Do not hire your ministry.”
m. Meaning: Help people, but do not hire those who need your help—hire people who can help you.

4. Different Paths.
a. Acts 15:39 NKJV — Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
b. Paul was thinking of Mark’s track-record, but Barnabas chose to believe and hope for the best.
c. Contention (Greek paroxysmos) — provocation, incitement, or irritation.
d. The same word used in only one other place: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb. 10:24).
e. They apparently agreed to disagree and parted company.
f. But in the end, it was probably for the best.
g. Two different parties were able to go in different directions and cover more ground.
h. Barnabas took the original route, through Seleucia, to Cyprus (Acts 13:4).
i. This is the last mention of his name in the book of Acts, and where he disappears from the historical record.
j. Mark, however, seems to have redeemed himself in Paul’s eyes, being mentioned by him as being “profitable” to his ministry (2 Tim. 4:11).

5. A New Partnership.
a. Acts 15:40 NKJV — but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
b. The brethren commended—committed or delivered—them over into the hands and grace of God.
c. Our prayers should never be prayers of fear, but of faith.
d. Whatever, or whomever, we commit into the hands of God, we do it in faith, trust, and expectation, that He will take care of it, or them, from that moment forward.
e. After receiving the prayers and encouragement of the brethren, Paul and Silas departed overland to Asia.
f. Acts 15:41 NKJV — And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.