Acts 15:36-41

Act 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.

1. In this passage we see a desire that is contested, detested, and almost nonexistent in our day. These men had a concern for the spiritual welfare of the church.

2. We see an obvious concern for the position of local churches concerning the word of God.

a. not a great concern for numbers

b. not a great concern for the facilities

c. not a great concern for the finances


These days there is a denomination in our nation that we know as Non Denominationals,  but there is also an attitude among many religious people of non-denominationalism.  They are using the non denominational church as an excuse not to take a stand on anything.  In our area this is the case, and many give the non denominational movement a bad name.  I do not agree with this group on all that they teach.  I am a baptist.  However, I do not believe that only Baptists are going to heaven.  One man that I know in particular, continuously asks people what church that they attend. Then, when they tell him he automatically falls into a defensive position with,

“Well, I don’t have denominational hang-ups. I used to be that way but I have matured to the place that I don’t concern myself with doctrine so I found a church that I can go to that doesn’t get hung up on doctrine. But I don’t have any denominational hang-ups.”

(notice all of the I’s)

Yes he does. I am not a “brider”. I don’t think that any one church is the only one going to heaven. And I don’t automatically feel the need to defend the church which I choose to attend simply because I attend it. If you feel that you have to take a defensive position because of where you hold church membership, maybe you are in the wrong church. Anyone who chooses to go to what they consider a nameless church because they don’t like denominational names has a great deal more of a problem than they think. That is the most legalistic and prideful attitude of the human heart. A simple desire to be different. There is a great deal of immaturity that is disguised by being called marching to the beat of a different drummer. Many people are simply proud to be non conformist and not concerned with being right.

If you feel a constant need to defend the position that you hold even though you may not be under attack, then perhaps you are simply learning that it is hard to kick against the pricks. Maybe, like Saul, you are experiencing Holy Spirit conviction and you need to grow up. Maybe you are not so mature as you thought.

Is doctrine, after all, really that important? Let’s see.


(Mat 7:28 ) And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

(Mat 16:12) Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

(Mat 22:33) And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

(Mar 1:22) And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

(Mar 1:27) And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

(Mar 4:2) And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

(Mar 11:18 ) And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

(Mar 12:38 ) And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,

(Luk 4:32) And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

(Joh 7:16) Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

(Joh 7:17) If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

(Joh 18:19) The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.

(Act 2:42) And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

(Act 5:28 ) Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

(Act 13:12) Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

(Act 17:19) And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

(Rom 6:17) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

(Rom 16:17) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

(1Co 14:6) Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

(1Co 14:26) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

(Eph 4:14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

(1Ti 1:3) As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

(1Ti 1:10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

(1Ti 4:6) If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

(1Ti 4:13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

(1Ti 4:16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

(1Ti 5:17) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

(1Ti 6:1) Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

(1Ti 6:3) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

(2Ti 3:10) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

(2Ti 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(2Ti 4:2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

(2Ti 4:3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

(Tit 1:9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

(Tit 2:1) But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

(Tit 2:7) In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

(Tit 2:10) Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

(Heb 6:1) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

(Heb 6:2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

(2Jn 1:9) Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

(2Jn 1:10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

(Rev 2:14) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

(Rev 2:15) So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

(Rev 2:24) But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.


Act 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

Act 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

Act 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

Act 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Act 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

1. An interesting point to notice here is that there can come a time that you don’t agree with one of your closest of friends. There can even come a great deal of contention.

2. And at such times as this it is not necessarily a display of enmity to part company. Such partings would usually be much advised for the effective performance of the task at hand.

3. If there were such contention between Paul and Barnabas, there is no way that they would have been able to work as effectively together. There must be unity and harmony. Hence, their parting was well advised.

4. It is worth noting however, that Paul being the one that the Holy Spirit seemed to be placing the greater emphasis on should have been shown the respect of Barnabas and his wishes followed in the interest of maintaining harmony in the relationship and the ministry.

5. You will find that there is no further mention of Barnabas after this. Could it be that Barnabas was in the wrong? I believe that we can see fruit from Barnabas’ ministry in this situation. Many preachers will argue that Barnabas must have been wrong because he is never again used or mentioned in the word of God. No reference is ever made to his ministry again.

6. Nevertheless, there is fruit borne out of this rift in the relationship of Paul and Barnabas. In Paul’s writing of

2Ti 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

If not for the persistence of Barnabas these words may never have been written. There came a day that Paul realized that maybe there was something to this thing about Mark when Barnabas was trying to reach him in honesty and compassion. After all, this same thing occurred in the life of the apostle Paul when he presented himself to the church in Jerusalem. If not for the ministry of one Barnabas, Paul would not have had a friend to stand for him.

Let us not forget in dealing with a brother or sister who has proven to be less than perfect, who may have been dependent upon another at some time or for help, or guidance, even correction. We are no better. A great friendship is not to be sacrificed over something that may or may not be what we see it to be. May God help us to learn how to deal with one another and work through our differences so that we don’t have to spend the rest of our lives in regret of hard words or actions which should never have been uttered or taken place.


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