“Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”
Acts 15:36-41 NKJV
The church is made up of human beings, people, who though they may be saved, are still buffeted by many things, causing them each of them to harbor stressful feelings that can, on occasion, give away to conflict with others in the body of Christ.
It is in those moments, that we must remember that we are all saved sinners, pardoned by a forgiving God who sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. He saved us through His grace, even though we caused His Son, who He beloved, to go to the cross to die a brutal death.
Our God has shown the world the power of reconciliation, for He commissioned those who were responsible for the murder His Son, Jesus, to go and tell the story of the Gospel. Lest we forget:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV
In that transaction; the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; for the sins of of fallen humanity, has granted those who have received such grace to be added to the inheritance, to be made ambassadors of Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
II Corinthians 5:17-21 NKJV
As God has done this for us, it is expected of us that we do so for each other. Reading Acts chapter fifteen, I was reminded of the “church split” between Barnabas and Paul, over one John called Mark. It is believed that Mark, being young had left the pair in a lurch, and Paul had concerns about taking him along for further ministry.
As a result the pair split their efforts with Mark going along with Barnabas and Silas joining Paul. If the story stopped there, we would not have a good sense of who young Mark was, but the Lord is faithful, for just as Paul cast Mark aside for a time, the Lord was not done with him, for it was Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark.
Walking with Christ is a journey for the followers of Jesus, for each of us is journeying down a long and winding road, filled with unknown twists and turns, alliances and conflicts, and unseen pairings coordinated only by God.
Brothers and sisters, I am sure that all of us has at one time or another, been embroiled in a conflict in church that has resulted in the loss of fellowship with a brother or sister in the Lord. It is important to keep in mind the grace that God has extended to us, for even in our offense called sin, God provided pardon at great cost to Himself.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
John 3:16-17 NKJV
God so loved the world, and we should so love each other. Jesus told the disciples that one must be willing to forgive an offense seven times seventy times if necessary, for the Lord has forgiven us. The Lord has given me a life where I have had to live in a state of constant forgiveness, for offenses are frequent due to the color of my skin.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:30-32 NKJV
In the coming days, weeks and months, those who call upon the Lord are going to need unity, for the evil one will have many adversaries opposing the spreading of the truth of the Gospel. In that coming persecution, it will be required of us to put aside all the conflicts and things that have divided us, for the we will need each other to survive long enough to complete our mission.
Even Paul, nearing the end of his life, and all but abandoned had reconciled with the one over whom he had disputed with Barnabas.
“Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.”
II Timothy 4:9-11 NKJV
In the most his most dire need, Paul called for Mark, that he come, for now he was useful for the ministry. God is in the business of preparing people for His use. I tell you the truth, the Bernie of twenty odd years ago was not useful for ministry, but the Bernie of today is, and the Lord was faithful in working through me and preparing me for such a time as this.
Let us have hearts at that are open to the idea of reconciliation, discerning the changes in the lives of those who have previously offended us. We are going to need each other, for darkness is coming, and it will be dark indeed.
HAVE A BLESSED LORD’S DAY!
9 thoughts on “Reconciliation”
What incredible privilege, and great joy, to have the job of helping people be reconciled to God! Thanks so much for your reminder Bernie. Will you please pray for the Lord to open up a door for the gospel in my life today please? Thanks so much my friend
You are useful, indeed, my friend! Thank you for your hard work, for your prayers, and for your ongoing zeal for the Lord. Thank you for your forgiving spirit, and for using the gifts the Lord is giving you. True Bible Baptist Church has agreed to host our @GCRSaylorville on May 30 and June 6. Will you pray for the Lord to send a speaker for June 6, and will you pray for a close friendship connection to be formed between our churches?
Someday the Lord will strip away all that you hold dear , that you learn the worthlessness of human effort and “hard work” and the power of walking in the Spirit.
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I’m sure the Lord will Bernie, I have been slowly recognizing this from the day He saved me. May we continue to decrease, and the Lord increase? Thanks so much for your “work” in the spirit. God bless you my friend.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV) 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Even as I write this I am laying on a gurney in ER awaiting blood. My life is only submission for there is no strength to do any work at all…
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I understand. May the Lord continue to remind you of His presence in powerful ways… during this difficult physical trial.
Father in heaven, your child, and my brother Bernie is in a very difficult trial this very minute. You see this Lord, you know this, and you ordain this in your supernatural wisdom and power. With tears Lord, we ask you for your mercy , encouragement, and Holy Spirit strength for this dear man. Father, as you have called Bernie to medical missions, would you allow him, even in his suffering and isolation, to bring your gospel light to the staff that is serving him. Would you make even one or two of the medical servants super compassionate and super caring For my dear friend? Father will you keep and strengthen, in Bernie, the joy of his salvation? Will you uphold him with your Holy Spirit? Thank you father for your gracious work in and through him. In Jesus name I pray, amen
Praying for you brother. May the Lord give you HIS strength and HIS power:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the might of His strength. as well as on my behalf, that words may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel—”
Ephesians 6:10, 19 LSB
I am home. The house. Not the one I am looking forward to.
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