Acts #16: The Eutychus Syndrome

EutychusThe Gathering/ Pastor Barry  Acts #16: The Eutychus Syndrome  To hear this message and others get our free app from the App Store.  Search The Gathering Connect.

On The Move Acts 20:1-6

Last week, our lesson in Acts ended with a riot beginning in Ephesus because Paul was quoted as saying that man-made gods were no gods at all (Acts 19:26)  Although this statement was true it was far from being politically and socially correct in first century Ephesus.  Paul’s three-year influence on the city (through preaching the gospel) had so influenced the spiritual climate of Ephesus that even the idol business was in jeopardy.  This riot in Ephesus became the pushing point for Paul to move on towards Jerusalem where he felt God was calling him.  While in Ephesus, Paul had begun a mother church that would eventually give birth to other churches all throughout Asia.

Chapter 20 begins after “the uproar had ended” in Ephesus, and he takes the gospel to Macedonia and Greece.  A “plot against him” by the Jews changed his plans from going to Syria and sent Paul back to Macedonia and eventually on to Troas where our text is found for today’s message.

Sleeping To Death Acts 20:7-12

Some say that pastors can be “long winded”, but Paul actually preached someone to death with a lengthy sermon in Troas. Knowing that he was leaving the next day, Paul  continued till midnight and a young man sitting in an open window fell asleep and        plummeted to his death three stories below.  Dr. Luke,  who wrote this account, took    notice that he was dead indeed, but God brought him back to life!  You would think that Paul would take the hint and call it a night, but he went on talking until dawn!  That would have been about a 8-10 hour sermon with a pretty captivating illustration!  This is a funny story but let’s dig a little deeper for a life lesson in paying attention to God’s word:

Eutychus was in the privileged position of hearing God’s word from one of His greatest teachers of all time, but instead of hanging on every word and seeing the importance of that lesson for his life, Eutychus tuned out.  You might say that Eutychus was asleep in the light!  How many times have some people heard God’s truth only to disengage and “fall asleep”?  How often has God’s word been ignored by listeners or written off as boring by scoffers?  Not paying attention to God’s direction will eventually result in the Eutychus Syndrome, which always leads to death! 

Symptoms of  The Eutychus Syndrome: 

  • Ignoring Salvation: Warning: Hebrews 2:1-4
  • Scorning Instruction: Warning: Proverbs 13:13-14
  • Sleeping (not keeping watch): Warning: Mark 13:32-37                                                            

    When we choose to ignore God’s gift of salvation, scorn His instruction for living, and not watch for His promised return, we are exhibiting all the symptoms of the Eutychus Syndrome.  Falling to our death is eminent if we do not administer the REMEDY!

    The Remedy 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

    Fortunately for Eutychus, Paul had the remedy for his death.  Paul threw his arms around his lifeless body and by the power of God, he awoke!  Funny thing, the guy who bored Eutychus to sleep was the same guy who brought him back from the dead. The message of the truth never changes, only the receptivity of our hearts.  God’s word becomes important to us as we choose to listen and apply His instruction to our lives. 

    Like falling out of a window in slumber, the Lord will come again when we least expect it (like a thief in the night).  We must “keep awake” and be “sober”.  Then rather we live or die we will be with the Lord…He is the remedy.

    Wake Up Sleeper 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Ephesians 2:4-5, Ephesians 5:13-16

    As Paul said in his second letter to the church at Corinth:  “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers…”  It is the devil who deceives the person who drifts from God’s reaching love and into the Eutychus Syndrome.  But God’s love reaches still.  Even though we may be dead in transgressions (through ignoring the Lordship of Christ in our lives) He, like Paul towards the dead Eutychus, embraces us and beckons us to wake up and rise from the dead!  It is by His grace we are saved!

    The Word of God is a light for our sleepy eyes. Everything is visible to Him and yet He loves us still.  Do not ignore His salvation- make it yours!  Do not scorn His instruction-  let Him direct your life.  Do not sleep like Eutychus- Keep watch for He is coming again!  Wake up and Christ will shine on you!

     

 

Acts # 15: RIOT

EphesusTheaterPastor Barry/ The Gathering Church  Acts # 15: RIOT (Righteous Invasion Of Truth)   To hear this message get our free app @ the App Store.  Search The Gathering Connect.

In Corinth Acts 18:1-17

After Paul preached at the Aeropagus he left Athens and went to Corinth where he met Aquila and his wife Prisilla.  They were Jesus believing Jews who were ordered out of Rome by emperor Claudius.  All Jews were ordered out of Rome by the emperor because of their constant rioting over Christianity (recorded by the Roman historian Suetonius).

Corinth during Paul’s day had a population of about 250,000 free men and as many as 400,000 slaves.  The seaport city contained at least twelve temples.  One of the most  famous was    dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, whose worshipers practiced religious prostitution. At one time 1,000 sacred prostitutes served in that temple.  Immorality was so rampant in Corinth  that the Greek verb “to Corinthianize” came to mean “to practice sexual immorality”. 

Silas and Timothy finally came back from Macedonia and joined Paul again where he was preaching to the Jews about how Jesus was their Messiah.  The Jews became so abusive that Paul proclaimed to them that from that point forward he would speak only to the Gentiles. This Paul did and had great success with the Corinthians.  God told Paul not to be afraid but too “keep on speaking” because He had “many people there”. “Many believed” and Paul began a church in Corinth (1 and 2 Corinthians are letters that Paul would later write to that Church) but it would have many problems. 

The riots that were caused in Rome by the Jews against Christians had now begun in Corinth too.  Gallio, the Roman proconsul, refused to judge such religious matters and so the Jews turned on the Synagogue leader and beat him up for allowing the Christians to share there.  Gallio did nothing and so the Jews continued their abuses; however, Paul did what the Lord said: He was not afraid, for God was with him and he kept right on speaking…so should we!  

Why People Fear Sharing the Gospel (Share with unbelievers)

  1. I do not know what to say. If you feel unprepared to do evangelism then the Bible tell us to get prepared (1 Peter 3:15-16). If you are not sure how to share your faith, you can get training by more experienced people. Ask your pastors, elders, or more mature believers in your congregation for help. Don’t over complicate evangelism. It is just a conversation about what you believe with those you care about.
  2. I feel unconvincing, and powerless when I think of evangelizing. You are not alone when you evangelize. Jesus said He will be with you always (Matthew 28:19-20). Through His Spirit, Jesus is with you wherever you go. The Biblical pattern of evangelism does not encourage a “Lone Ranger” approach, but spreading the gospel in pairs or groups of believers. Remember Jesus sent His disciples out two by two.  We also must remember that it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to Himself.  He saved us not because of our righteousness but because of His mercy.We must believe that for others as well as ourselves (Titus 3:4-7).
  3. I might get mocked, upset people, or create conflict. Yes, you may. Rejection, ridicule, and anger come with the territory in evangelism. Yet we know we are told by Jesus to “fear not” (Luke 12:32). His Spirit does not make us timid, but gives us power to share the gospel unashamedly (2 Timothy 1:7-8).  In fact, you will never know this power until you step out on faith and trust Jesus to deliver what He has promised. So Christian… ”Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For, as Jesus said, I am with you” Acts 9:b-10a 

    Educate Believers Acts 18:18-19:1-7, 1 Timothy 4:7-16

    Paul eventually left for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila after having his hair cut off at the completion of a Nazarite vow that he made to God. (The Nazirite vow, which appears in Numbers 6:1-21, was voluntary, had five features, had a specific time frame and  had specific requirements and restrictions. At its conclusion a sacrifice was offered and the hair was cut off). Wherever Paul went he shared truth with both unbelievers and believers.

    We read an interesting thing in Acts 18:18-19:7.  Priscilla and Aquila met a believer named   Apollos who spoke and taught about Jesus accurately but only knew the baptism of John. The couple invited him to their home and “explained to him the way of God more  accurately”. In other words they educated a believer on Jesus’ teaching about the Holy Spirit.  We understand this passage better as we read on: There were believers in Christ (baptized by John) who were   unaware of the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-20, 26-27). Paul met more of these    uneducated Christians in Ephesus.  You will meet many uneducated Christians today.  Some were poorly taught and  have poorly sought the scriptures.  We too must educate them       according to the truth that we have studied.  John the Baptist had only baptized people to  repent of their sin and to announce the one who would save them, Jesus.  They were not    baptized in Jesus’ name although they were followers.  They had not heard the teaching on the Spirit of God being always with them.  On hearing this they were baptized in Jesus name and asked for the Holy Spirit to come upon them.  Both the unbeliever and the believer must hear truth.  That is why we must study it and live it out (1 Timothy 4:7-16).  The Holy Spirit comes upon the believer at conversion yet we need to know what that means to experience it. 

    The Real Deal (“sheep” or “goat”) Acts 19:8-22

    There is a difference between those who love God (and the power He works through them)  and those who have other motives.  The seven sons of Sceva illustrate for us the folly of not having a personal relationship with Jesus and yet trying to ward off demons which are very real. Only God’s children (“sheep”) are protected from such harm and God knows His children and so does the Devil! (John 10:27-28, Matthew 25:31-33) Are you a “sheep” or a “goat”?  Be the    real deal.  Christianity is not a social club, a dating engagement or a program for profit.

    R.I.O.T. Acts 19:23-41, Matthew 25:31-40

    A R.I.O.T (Righteous Invasion Of Truth) broke out in Ephesus and threw haters into disarray.  In the same way the truth of God shared will always stir up something.  Those wanting to hold on to the things of this world will become furious, others will join in and “not even know why they are there”—these just want to be popular at any cost.  Some, however, “the sheep”, will share the gospel and educate the believers, feed the hungry and walk in the Spirit until Jesus calls us homeLike Paul and his companions let us be on a R.I.O.T. together until He comes!

 

Acts #14 The “Unknown God”

MarsHill Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church   Acts #14: The “Unknown God” To hear this message and others download our free app at the App Store.  Search The Gathering Connect.

Photo:  Mars Hill, Athens, Greece.  These are the steps that the Apostle Paul ascended to preach his sermon “The Unknown God” before the Areopagus.

Christian No More? 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Galatians 6:7-10

No one would argue that the United States of America was founded upon the Judaeo Christian faith and that Jesus Christ, and His teachings, became  the cornerstone of our nation’s building.  No one would argue either that those Christian principals, once highly valued by our nation’s forefathers, have since been devalued and are dangerously close to being eradicated all together by our government and its people Some would say this is only right since America isn’t Christian anymore:  As former president Barack Obama once said in a campaign speech:  “We are no longer a Christian nation—at least not just.  We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation and a Buddhist nation and a Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.” 

 Shall a father change the rules of his home just to make way for his guests?  Should he change those rules for those in his own family who choose another path?  God’s word says “no!”  God has warned us not to be yoked (fastened) together with unbelievers (nationally our personally). “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial”  (Belial: a Hebrew word “used to characterize the wicked or worthless.” The etymology of the word is often understood as “lacking worth”, from two common words: beli- (בְּלִי “without-“) and ya’al ( יָעַל “to be of value”) the term later became personified as the devil in Jewish and Christian texts).  This is not to say that Christians cannot co-exist peacefully with non-believers, but that we are never to embrace their ways.  When one does compromise in this way there are always grave consequences. As we read in Galatians 6:7-10: “God will not be mocked”. We will reap what we sow!

 Paul lived in a day where God’s people had not only deserted their Jewish faith, but they had rejected His provision of a forgiving Messiah, Jesus, and nailed Him to a cross!  Pagans ruled the world because God’s people choose to abandon the standard that God  prescribed. Christians… Stand for what you believe in, even if you should stand alone!

The Unknown God  Acts 17:1-4

Imagine the USA without freedoms and liberties.  Imagine the USA ruled by a demigod who was elected by “the people.”  Imagine our children living under oppression and    enslaved by an unstoppable power that we allowed to rule because of our own laziness and spiritual apathy.  If you can imagine such a thing then you can imagine what the Jews felt like in the first century and you can imagine how unpopular Paul’s message must have been to them.  Talk about kicking a man when he is down.  Yet, “as his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue”  to speak with the Jews as he did at every new stop along his missionary journeys.  The God who had parted the Red Sea for the Jews, fed them bread from heaven, provided water from rocks and once led them by a fire at night and a cloud by day, had become all but “unknown” to them.  They worshiped a concept, a legend, a distant memory.  Those who were not Jews worshiped everything else that gave way to their appetites and conveniences.

Today,  America is very much teetering in the same position.  The true Jesus of the Bible  (on which this republic was built) has become so watered down that He is unknown to so many who call themselves “Christian.”  Those who are not “Christians” worship everything else. But America is still standing so no one listens…(Israel was a mighty walled city before the Babylonian captivity too). We will reap what we sow.  What are you sowing today?

 Three Types Of Reactions  Who are you?

When people hear the truth of the gospel preached, they will have one of the three    reactions that we see here in this chapter of Acts.  Cultures, technology, fashions, and languages change drastically over time but people and their reactions to the gospel pretty much remain the same:

The Jealous: (The Thessalonian Jews) Acts 17:5-9, John 15:19-21

These Jews did not like Paul’s message because to receive it would mean that they would have to repent. When people feel convicted they will either admit wrong and change or lash out to justify their own sinThe Thessalonian Jews were jealous of Paul and Silas’  relationship with God and their success in preaching the truth.  They were jealous of Paul’s ability to admit his own mistakes as a Jew and to leave a prominent position as a rabbi to follow his convictions.  They were jealous so they persecuted Paul and his companions.  They even “rounded up some bad characters” to help them. Unable to find Paul and Silas they attacked Jason (who welcomed them into his house) and other believers.  Jesus said that some will hate you for being a “true” believer (John 15:19-21), but remember, it is Christ they hate.  you are just the vehicle of His truth.  Move on, as Paul and Silas did. There are those who want to hear.

The Seekers: (The Bereans) Acts 17: 10-15, Matthew 7:7-8

The Jews at Berea “were of more noble  character” because they “examined the  scriptures.” The Bereans wanted the truth even if it hurt!  When they discovered that  Jesus was the prophesied Messiah they repented and followed!   One should never change the message of the gospel to please a crowd.  A true seeker will always find “The Way” because he is looking for truth.  Matthew 7:7-8 (haters will be haters!)

The Religious: (Athenians at Areopagus) Acts 17:16-23, 24-34

The Athenians professed to be wise but were fools. Romans 1:20-22  There will always be people who are more impressed by the inventions of their own mind than they will ever be with the one who created that mind in the first place.  The Areopagus was the highest judicial court at Athens. Its sessions were held on Mars’ Hill. Here Paul exposed the sin and folly of idol-worship with such boldness, that none could refute him, and some were converted. These high minded men thought themselves wise to make an altar to an “Unknown God” (politically correct) and thereby excused themselves from seeking real truth.  Religion is man made like stone altars and it cannot save.  Only Christ can save.  Believers must live out their faith and preach the “good news” (Romans 10;11-15). How else shall they hear?  Be unstoppable! Forget about  the reactions of the damned there are people who want to be saved… we must find them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts # 13: Prison To Praise

JailPraisePastor Barry/ The Gathering Church: Acts #13: Prison To Praise  If you would like to hear this message download our free app @ The App Store: search The Gathering Connect

“Believer” Acts 16:1-5

Are you a “Believer?” Not just someone who casually knows about something and says “I believe”, but someone like Timothy’s mother who was “worthy of belief” (Philippians 1:27).  The Greek word for “believer” used to describe her faith is translated  Pistos (Greek):  faithful, trustworthy, reliable, believing.  Many people say they believe in God but live something all together different.  In one descriptive word, Timothy’s mom is described as the “real deal!”  No wonder Timothy was spoken of so well.  He clung to his mothers faith in Christ and his character was so highly regarded by “the brothers” (other Christians) that Paul wanted to take him with him on his missionary tour.

Character at a Cost  1 Corinthians 9:19-20

A “Believer” according to God’s word is  a person of character who lives out their faith based on the object of that faith: Jesus.  Timothy took his belief in Christ so far that he became circumcised in order share Christ with the Jews. As we learned in the lesson last week, circumcision was not a necessary requirement to be saved.  Paul and Barnabas   established that at The Council at Jerusalem [Acts 15:1-2, 6-11]; however, Paul had    Timothy circumcised because everyone knew that Timothy’s father was a Greek-unbeliever.  The world of Timothy’s day strongly believed “like father, like son” although Timothy was like his godly mother!   Timothy was willingly circumcised in order to minister without prejudicial treatment by the Jews. Timothy was willing to make painful physical changes in order to share God’s truth with others.  Paul’s words in the passage above reflect the reasoning behind Timothy’s circumcision. “I make myself a slave to everyone,  to win as many as possible.” 

Although salvation is free, the cost to preach that freedom to others is costly sometimes.

 “Go West Young Man!” Acts 16:6-15, Psalms 22:3a

Often we want to go our own way and do our own thing…A “Believer” is led by the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit did not permit Paul to go into Asia, which was south.  He was not permitted into Bithynia, which was north.  As he traveled from the east it was as if God was saying… “Go west young man” and he went down to Troas.  In Troas Paul waited.  Where do you go when every door seems shut?  One of the most difficult things for a driven person to do is to wait, but waiting on God is obedience. In Psalms 23:2a the psalmist writes “He Makes me lie down in green pastures.”  God has a plan as we wait on Him.  Waiting and not rushing in always pays off.  Paul got his vision of a man begging him to go to Macedonia and they got ready at once to leave for that place.  This time the journey included Paul, Silas, Timothy and Dr. Luke.

On the Sabbath, outside the city gate, (An archaeological find etched on arches outside of the city of Philippi gave a warning against bringing an unrecognized religion into the city,  a similar warning here may be the reason for meeting outside the city gate.)  the missionaries share with a group of women.  Among them was Lydia, a business woman.  She responded to Paul’s message and she and the members of her household were baptized.  God also used this woman’s hospitality to provide lodging for the missionaries.

Your Midnight Hour Acts 16:16-24, Philippians 4:4-7

Satan can mock God even by saying the truth in a deceitful way.  Here Satan was attempting to use reverse psychology on people by choosing a known fortune teller to repeat the truth in such a way as to drive away crowds.  After “many days”, Paul finally got wise to this trick and rebuked the demon out of the slave girl which ruined her owners profits. (She no longer could tell fortunes)  The owners accused Paul and Silas of inciting a riot by teaching unlawful customs.  The truth was that the owners were angry because their  business was ruined.  Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten on a false charge! 

In the midnight hour, shackled in prison, Paul and Silas chose to pray and sing songs (worship) to the Lord. Other prisoners were watching and listening just as people today are watching Christians under pressure.  What do people see and hear when you are in your “midnight hour” (times of trial)?

Do you realize worship has the ability to literally change the atmosphere around us? It starts by changing our own heart and then flows out and impacts others. When we     worship regardless of our circumstances or our feelings; the atmosphere within us and around us changes. We may not see it right away as Paul and Silas would in that instance, but we will see it.  In the Apostle Paul’s final exhortations in his letter to the Philippians (which he wrote while in chains in Rome: Philippians 1:12-13) he tells them to “rejoice in the Lord always” and God’s peace will guard both heart (emotions) and mind (reason).

 Circumstances Turned Around  Acts 16:25-34

Paul and Silas looked at their circumstances and praised the God who could turn it around.  The Jailer looked at his circumstances (A jailer received the death   penalty if a prisoner escaped under his watch.) and decided to take matters into his own hands of hopelessness.  Mans way leads to death.  God’s way to life!  In the end Paul and Silas  realized their pain was the jailer and his families gain.   (It really isn’t all about us.) 

Prison to Praise (“When it was daylight”)  Acts 16:35-40, Proverbs 3:5-6

“When it was daylight” is a great line!  Faith and action brought daylight from midnight!  Prison to praise!  When we “trust in the Lord” and praise  God even in the difficult times He turns things around. He makes all things beautiful in time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Paul was an educated man and knew his rights as a Roman citizen. (Romans were not to be beat or jailed without a trial)  Paul used his earthly rights to promote his spiritual agenda.  Christians had better do this too while we actually have such rights in America or they will soon be taken away (use it or loose it).  If you are singled out and discriminated or persecuted in some way for your faith by a person in authority then stand up for your rights.  It may be inconvenient for you but it is not just about you.  It is a stand for your faith and everyone who believes.  Paul understood this.   His enemy had to apologize and escort the missionaries out the front door for all to see. This was a victory march and an encouragement to all who believed.

Child of God…you are a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20)! “Believe” like Lydia, Paul and Silas, Timothy and his mother. “Believe” even in your “midnight hour” and see what God will do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts #12: Right & Wrong

TractWitnessingPastor Barry/ The Gathering Church  Acts #12: Right & Wrong  To hear this message and others download our free app @ the App Store by searching The Gathering Connect.

The Right Thing in the Wrong Ears Acts 14:1-8, 2 Timothy 4:2-5

Have you ever tried to offer good advice to someone who just didn’t want to hear it, or give something helpful to someone who just didn’t want to use it?  Perhaps you found a job for someone who was just too lazy or irresponsible to keep it, or you gave a precious gift to someone who misused it.

The gospel (lit. Greek: good news) is always the right thing at the right time but often it is heard by the wrong ears.  Why do you think that Jesus always said “He who has ears let him hear?” (Matthew 11:15)  People hear what they want to hear, when they want to hear it.  Jesus was basically saying “Hey, who’s really listening to what I’m saying?”

The apostle Paul, giving advice to his “spiritual son”, Timothy, said “For the time will come when men will not put up sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Paul goes on to tell Timothy that people will turn aside to myths rather than follow a truth that may upset their path of living.  Paul advises Timothy to stay with the truth and endure the “hardship” that it produces.

In Acts 14:1, Luke tells us that Paul and Barnabas spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.  But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds…  The important thing to see here is that the response of the people who didn’t believe had nothing to do with how well Paul and Barnabas spoke.  (they didn’t even believe because of the “miraculous signs”)  It had everything to do with their willingness to hear the truth.  As Christians we must remember that we have the right message but some will not accept it no matter how it is presented.  Many times these people are not content to reject your message alone, but they want to bring others against you as well.  Jesus called humans sheep and it is human nature to want others to join us as we flock around a belief, be it truth or a lie.  Following the truth isn’t always popular, but it is the truth!  We need to stick to the truth as Paul told Timothy and continue to “preach the good news” as Paul and Barnabas did.  They didn’t stick around where people didn’t want to hear.  They moved on with their message and we should do the same.  Someone will always want to hear.

 The Right Thing and the Wrong Reaction  Acts 14:8-20, (21-28),  Matthew 7:6 

Have you ever tried to do something good only to have your actions mistaken for something bad?  What a discouragement that is!  Once again, people perceive things the way that they want too.  As a matter of fact, in the instance recorded in the passage above, the people chose to perceive Paul and Barnabas as gods.  When Paul and Barnabas insisted that they were not, and could not be persuaded by the crowd to accept worship, the crowd  allowed another group to incite them to riot against them.  Funny thing, if Paul and Barnabas accepted the people’s worship, the Jews from Antioch and Iconium  would have been stoned for speaking against the new “gods.”  The bottom line, once again, is people believe what they want to and those who don’t join them they will persecute.  What was the response of the “dynamic duo?” Once again, they left for another city!

Jesus warns us not to give what is holy to dogs or to throw our pearls before swine.  What He is saying is to move on with our message.  When people won’t receive the truth that you present to them, don’t give up, get discouraged, or quit.  Go elsewhere.

Grace Check Matthew 7:1-5, Philippians 2:3-5 

It is vital, that as we share the truth of the gospel, that we give ourselves a “grace check”.  Is the reason people are turning away from our message because of the judgmental way that we are presenting it?  Are we presenting the message of God’s grace or our own self-righteousness?  Are we representing Christ?  Without periodical “grace checks” we can easily chase people away.

Grace Message  Acts 15:1-2, (3-9), 10-11, (12-27), 28-29, (30-35).

Even Christians who say “we are saved by grace” can become practitioners and preachers of a legalistic, law keeping, message of bondage.  Paul and Barnabas were called in to clear up such mixed messages from some ”well meaning”  but mistaken men from Judea to Antioch.  (Teaching that Gentile converts must become circumcised and follow the law of Moses)  Paul and Barnabas, as well as two others sent (Judas and Silas), cleared up this mixed message to remove the “yoke” of bondage from the pure message of the grace of God.

The council did send some eating restrictions to the Gentiles (Acts 15:28-29).  Not given as a law by which Christians must live, for the New Testament clearly teaches that we are not under law (Romans 6:14Galatians 4:8–31). Rather, the Jerusalem counsel was advising Gentile Christians to respect their Jewish brothers by observing some food practices that would utterly offend them. This passage is used by some religious groups, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to claim that blood transfusions are against God’s will. This passage refers to the Old Testament  restriction against eating or drinking blood (Genesis 9:3–4, Leviticus 17:10–12). These prohibitions were directed at eating flesh that was still pulsating with life     because the lifeblood was still in it.  “Sexual immorality” was also prohibited. Pagan worship often featured all of these acts done together at temple rites.

No Super Saints  Acts 15:36-40 

Paul did not show the grace towards John Mark that he preached.  We don’t know exactly why John Mark (Barnabas’ nephew and the author of the gospel of Mark: Mark was his surname; his common name was John.) left Paul and Barnabas but the fact remains that he wanted to join them again.  Barnabas went on to preach successfully with John Mark and Paul left Barnabas and took Silas.  Reconciliation must have later occurred between  Mark and Paul as we read  of Paul’s affectionate request for his services in 2 Timothy  4:11.  There  are no super saints in the Bible.  Everyone, even the apostles and disciples, are imperfect.  Wrong can only be made right when we desire walk in the truth making constant “grace checks” along the way.  Be encouraged…God’s grace extends to all… always!