THEME: Sometimes, Contention Helps
PASSAGE: Acts 15:36-41
HYMN: MHB 503 –GOD moves in a mysterious way
MEMORY VERSE: Galatians 2:14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”
The Church is not immune from divisions that we see in different segments of the society at large. Paul had taken the departure of John Mark from his party in Pamphylia (Acts 13: 13) as desertion and lack of commitment to missionary work. The intention of Barnabas to take John Mark along on a tour of places where he and Paul had evangelized led to sharp contention and separation between these great missionaries. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus while Paul took Silas and embarked on his second missionary journey. Instead of one missionary team, two teams set out in different directions spreading the gospel on the way. Indeed, God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.
There is an adage which says that when two brothers come out laughing as a result of a close-door discussion, they have not been frank with each other; but when they emerge frowning, bitter truths have been exchanged. We are to stand up for the truth at all times in the church even if it requires or results in contention. Where contending parties have noble intentions despite the difference in opinion or style, God is always at work to make all things work out for good. Great reformation and revivals in the life of the Church emanated from contentions which God has used to build and strengthen His Church.
Interestingly, Paul later reconciled with John Mark (Col. 4: 10). This is the spirit that rules the church and this is the spirit that all Christians should follow. We should note that whatever contention we have should be settled amicably within the fold of Christ without resorting to scandalizing the work of God among unbelievers.
PRAYER: Lord, let our intentions be noble when there are contentions so that in all, Your kingdom will be blessed and Your name will be glorified. Amen.

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