December 8, 2019

When good men disagree

Passage: Acts 15:36-41
Service Type:

Bible Text: Acts 15:36-41 | Preacher: Andrew Love | Series: Acts | Introduction

Different words for preaching

Including didactic preaching

Reading Acts 15:36-41
The church of Jesus Christ has come under pressure

Physical persecution – an attack from without
An attack from within – from Satan

Trying to make a division between Jew and Gentile
Another attack

Paul’s desire is to return to the churches they established 

A significant disagreement – they end up going different ways

Title: ‘when good men disagree’

Never once has God disagreed within Himself
Humans are fallen
Who was right / What are the causes
God overruled in the situation

Consider the relationship between Paul and Barnabas

Christian experience shows that good men and very good men will disagree
We should not be surprised at this
A sad fact of human nature


The authority of apostleship
The nature of the disagreement – a person: John Mark
The question of who is right


Factors that may have led to division between them
God’s purpose in it all

Factors that may have led to division between them

Both very godly men dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ

Warm, empathetic, encouraging, inclusive
Son of encouragement
He believed in Saul

He brought him up
Because of him Paul had the right hand of fellowship

A man full of faith and the Holy Spirit
Happy for Paul to take the leading role


Warm, tender
Strong, principles, a clear leader, withstood people to their face, bold preacher
Stood up to the authorities

Was the disagreement due to a personality clash? [no]

Barnabas was inclusive

John Mark had failed in the past
He needed a second opportunity
Time to be involved in the work of the gospel

Paul may have thought

He put his hand to the plow but turned back
Not mature enough yet
Not up to it
May be a liability

Do we know our strengths and weaknesses?

Be careful about stubbornness and lack of understanding
Be careful about being weak, over generous and naive
Be balanced

Family Connections

John Mark was Barnabas’ cousin

We know how family connections can distort things
A very difficult thing to conclude

God uses family

The disciples
Several families in churches

We must always following biblical principles

Readiness to Serve

A difference in opinion

May be concerned that John Mark might suffer
Not a moral failure but a personal one – not loyal, a desertion that could of hurt
Bitterness towards John Mark (very unlikely)


Maybe an assistant and he will assist us again
Maybe a reminder of Peter and others who have been restored


No facts
Not easy to make conclusions

Paul not bitter towards John Mark

2 Tim 4:11

A sharp contention

No division in the church

Fallible Sinners

We are all sinners – we should not put anyone on a pedestal

For our encouragement

God’s purpose in it all

God overruled in the situation of Joseph
God overrules in this situation

Barnabas takes John Mark to Cyprus
A new missionary team

Sometimes separation is better than people continue at loggerheads

Quote from Charles Spurgeon

Paul and Silas

Visited Galatia
Silas – a roman Jew

God had purposes in this

Barnabas and John Mark

Go to Cyprus

God’s providence is working overall