“…the Holy Ghost said, Separate [M]e Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)
“And the contention was so great between [Paul and Barnabas], that they departed asunder one from another…” (Act 15:39)
To summarize the texts above: Paul was called Saul before being called Paul. As Saul he hated with great hatred the Christ-ians and their ascended Leader. Saul had been given authority to punish, even kill any “found in that way” of Christ-ianity. Saul decided to go to Damascus for it was rumoured that many Christ-ians were there.On his way, while breathing out threats, he was apprehended by the Risen, Reigning and Blinding Lord of Glory. He was asked by this, brighter than noon day sun, “Why persecutest thou [M]e?
Saul upon hearing this question replies, “Who art [T]hou, Lord?” The answer is Jesus…the Lord Jesus.
Saul spends (3) three days blinded in a cell when one of God’s servants was sent to Saul with directions and to baptize him. Upon being baptized Saul regained his sight.
Saul began to preach Christ straightway however, he was not well received nor was the Christ he preached. After many days it became needful for Saul to escape Damascus and travel to Jerusalem and join in with the other disciples but they feared him and his past, “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles” and there he remained until our text, Acts 13:2 came to pass.
Saul/Paul and Barnabas was used greatly by God. Even though there was great success for the Kingdom Acts 15:39 came to pass. Paul and Barnabas had no little dispute over Barnabas’ nephew who had departed prior. Barnabas wanted to bring his nephew, John Mark (author of Gospel of Mark), back to the mission field but Paul disagreed flatly. The dispute was so great that these two split up. Years later Paul desired this same John Mark to be sent to him as he would be of value.
It seems that the lesson here is the need for some to grow apart so that they may grow up apart. This principle we are painfully familiar with. About (10) ten years ago we departed from a ministry that we had been a part of for many years. This departure was over a disagreement of doctrine as well as a bad spirit having moved in.
Since departing we took to teaching and preaching out of our home and here and there. We are very fulfilled in our station.
Ten (10) years later my daughter and I are walking into Walmart and cross paths with the pastor of the church we left. Before maturing in the Lord we would have avoided this pastor at all costs. That was before maturing in the Lord. We called out to this pastor by saying, “Hey, I know you.” and we then shared about (15) fifteen minutes of sweet fellowship. Since then we have broken bread (3) three times. We have both stated our doctrinal stands, neither giving in nor compromising yet God is pleased because two of His children are dwelling together in perfect peace.
This pastor and I have always been brothers for God calls us both His sons but now we are friends again. One could look at this situation and say so much time was lost but I prefer to look at it as much growth gained. While breaking bread with my brother a thought came to me, as I was looking at (3) three trees. The trees were planted far too close together. All three trees would have massive die back unless a wise landscaper dug them up and replanted them farther apart which would allow then to grow properly. This, methinks, was the purpose of God, the wise Planter. My brother and I were growing to close and needed to be relocated so that we might grow more fully.
Some might ask about the doctrinal differences and further question whether two can walk together lest they be agreed.
The answer I would give is in the affirmative. There is historical precedence for two men holding these two differing views walking together in perfect peace. As to the Biblical question, “Can two walk together lest they be agreed?” The answer is dependent upon the difference of opinion for example can a Christ-ian and a catholic walk together? In one sense they can. They could discuss the Trinity, Christ’s Son-ship to the Father, Christ’s deity, etc. However when it comes to the Eucharist, Mary’s position in their church, prayers to saints, or confessions to a man or their works soteriology we cannot walk with them nor can we ever worship with them. Can a Christ-ian walk with a J. Witness? – No. Is a Christ-ian able to walk with a Mormon? No. These two cults have “another Jesus” than the Scriptures. Can a Calvinist walk with an Arminian? Yes. One simple way to determine whether one can walk with another is by determining whether or not you will walk in Heaven with this person. That determination is based on whether or not Christ Jesus is your Lord and Saviour? Have your many sins been forgiven by Holy and Righteous God? Is God your Father? is Christ Jesus your Elder Brother? does the Holy Spirit of God dwell within you. Do you love the Lord Jesus with all your mind, body, strength and heart? Do you love your Bible? Do you love your Christ-ian brothers ans sisters? Do you seek to obey God’s Word? Do you long to see Christ’s return? Do you enjoy telling others of Christ for from the heart the mouth speaketh. Do you love discussing Christ with other believers?
The questions above will give you a sense of where you are in relation to Christ. I would, as Paul does, advise you to examine thyself to see if thou art in the faith. Elsewhere Peter admonishes us to make our calling and election sure…which means your fruit will reveal what kind of tree you are. You day to day action will identify you as Christ’s own or not.
In closing, I’m so glad to have reconnected with my brother and my friend. Application: is there any in your past that you might seek and find?