Text: Acts 15:36-40
“Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.”
(II Timothy 4:11).
I have often heard some brethren say, “Never, nothing can ever bring us together again. It’s over forever, even to eternity”. Sometimes, I wonder whether we have the same God, pursuing the same eternity or reading the same bible! Some just want to draw God’s blessing on their own terms.
There is a common slogan among politicians, which says, “There is no permanent enemy in politics”. If the world can do that, then we should do better. “Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom” (Matt 5:20 MSG).
The only permanent enemy we have is satan. He is an enemy of God and all who worship God. He has completely fallen from grace and banished to destruction in hell, with all his fallen angels. He has lost the opportunity for repentance eternally. We are not permitted to seek for his friendship or accept his friendship. In fact, anyone who makes friendship with satan, the god of this world, has already positioned himself as an enemy of God. “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
“Is Christ a friend of Satan? Can people who follow the Lord have anything in common with those who don’t” ( 2 Cor 6:15 CEV).
God has not declared anyone of us a permanent enemy like He did to satan, because we still have the opportunity to repent. We were all enemies of God before we surrendered our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Through Christ, we became friends of God.
According to our text today, Paul and Barnabas had such a sharp disagreement over Mark. While Barnabas wanted Mark to come along with them in their missionary journey, Paul was strongly opposed to it. Paul felt Mark had not proved to be dependable because of their past experience with him. This disagreement led to the parting of the two and they went on separate ways! Who would have believed that Paul would ever have anything to do with Mark anymore! But it happened! Paul, in his later missionary work, called for Mark and said something good about him (II Tim 4:11).
Jesus sent special resurrection message to Peter, who denied Him during His time of greatest need. He became the leader of the other apostles.
The key factor is repentance. Don’t close your heart to an enemy who has acknowledged and repented.
Friends, if you are finding it difficult to relate with your offenders who have repented, you need to ask God to soften your hardened heart. Always, remember that you were also forgiven and restored. Also, ask for God’s leading and wisdom as you make efforts to restore the broken relationships.
1. Father, please, as I attempt to relate with my offenders, help me never to forget that I was also forgiven and restored, in Jesus name.
2. Father, I need Your wisdom in relating again with those who once posed themselves as my enemies in Jesus name.
1. I have no other permanent enemy aside from satan.
2. Closing my heart to my repentant offenders is an indication that I have forgotten that I was also forgiven and restored.