Summary: An unfortunate glimpse into the lives of men who have come to an impasse in a quarrel over a meaningless and fruitless disagreement.
“Parting Ways,” Acts 15:36-41 NIV
AC 15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."  Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,  but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,  but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.  He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Introduction: Recently, I had the opportunity to perform a wedding ceremony. I could not help but notice the air of excitement and cooperation among the guests and the wedding party. Everyone seemed so happy and full of hospitality that I felt sure the ceremony would go well-- as it did. But as I waited for my role in the event to come, I also considered the days, weeks, months and years that would follow for this young couple. Knowing the challenges of marriage and the statistics on failed marriages, I prayed silently that God in his providence would protect this marriage long after the wedding.
I have also witnessed over the years wonderful, strong relationships take place in friendships. Many of you here today have been friends with one another for years. Many more of you have had and continue to have friendships that have lasted since childhood. What a blessing are such relationships!
However, most if not all of us have experienced the break up of either marriages or close personal friendships. This parting of ways, for many of us, has left deep emotional scars that have influenced and, sometimes, jaundiced our attitudes toward future relationships.
Today we come to such a passage. An unfortunate glimpse into the lives of men who have come to an impasse in a quarrel over a meaningless and fruitless disagreement-- and they were Christians! Not only Christians but, men of renown and esteem, lowered as it were to the selfish ambitions of the ever present carnal voice in man.
Prayer: Father, we come before you this day in hopes that your presence and leadership will guide our steps. We thank you that your word doesn’t leave out the reality of who we all are and sometimes become. Help us to see ourselves in this passage this morning and forgive us as the light of your word reminds us of our sin and need for you. Amen.
I. Making Plans
AC 15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."
a. Consider the difference between the decision made here and the decision of Acts 13.
b. Man’s plans Vs God’s plan’s
d. Paul’s victory at Jerusalem Council, elevation in rank and acceptance as a true apostle and the number of gentile believers won for the Kingdom in the first missionary journey all fuel the potential fire of pride.