The God of Second Chances.

April 2, 2022 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Acts 15:36–41

In our text we learn of the imperfections of Paul and Barnabas. Luke honestly reports a clash that occurred between two great men of God, Paul and Barnabas. This clash led to a rupture in the close working relationship between these two godly men.

Just like these men, we too make mistakes, we fail, and we sin. But sin and failure doesn’t ever have the last word if you belong to Jesus Christ.  We need to be reminded that even when we fail and even when we sin, God can restore us.  Are you living today in defeat by some past sin?  Are you wondering if God could ever use you for anything?  In our text we see how God sovereignly, works through less than favourable circumstances to accomplish His plan. 

  1. Paul’s Concern (v.36-39)
  2. God’s Concern for His Glory (v.40-41)
  3. God’s Concern for His People (v.40-41)

Paul and Barnabas had just come away from the Jerusalem Council, where the core issue of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone had been affirmed. Both men firmly agreed about this and other central doctrines of the Christian faith. But their personalities clashed over a practical matter of ministry, whether to take Mark along on the second journey.

Paul and Barnabas were not new believers. Both men had walked with God for years. They were both fully committed to doing the will of God, no matter what the cost. They had risked their lives for the sake of Christ (15:26), and yet they clashed. I believe they fell into sin in the way they dealt with this "sharp disagreement" (v.39). They both stubbornly dug in their heels and refused to give in at all to the other man’s point of view. be diligent to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We need to seek to work out our differences if possible in a spirit of love and kindness. 

Years later, at the end of Paul’s life he sees Mark differently.  Mark has no doubt matured in the faith and has proven himself in Gospel ministry.  Peter had taken Mark and discipled him. Mark would become the writer of a Gospel!

Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:9-11:

Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.

God is the God of second chances…Get Mark and bring him with you.  You may be feeling the weight of some sin.  You may be, because of a past failure thinking God cannot use you.  Perhaps you feel defeated and discouraged.  You past does not need to define you.  As believers we must live in light of who we are now not who we were.

God comes and in the person of Jesus Christ puts a nail-printed hand on our shoulder and says, "Get up; go on back. The game is only half over."

That's the good news of the grace of God. That's the good news of the forgiveness of sins.

Discussion Questions

  1. When is it a sin to belong to a particular denomination? Are denominations by definition sinful? Defend biblically.
  2. How does liking someone interface with loving him (or her)? Is it wrong not to like everyone?
  3. When my personality clashes with someone else’s, how do I know when I cross the line into sin?
  4. How can we work at genuine Christian unity with other believers? What practical steps can we take?

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