We have just seen how the Holy Spirit brings unity to the church of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and no man is. The church is the body of Christ, and it cannot be divided. Where division exists and persists in the body of Christ, it is a sign of carnality and of a disregard for unity within the body and of placing self above the body.
We have seen how the Holy Spirit in council with men filled with the Holy Spirit can bring a unity of mind and heart previously unknown to men – because it is a unity of the new Spirit alive within men’s hearts who have been made alive by Christ. Since Christ cannot be divided, neither can His body.
So Judaizer and Gentile have been brought together in thought, in heart, in mind, and in deed. Amazing, simply amazing. Only the Holy Spirit could have accomplished this unity of fellowship where such sharp cultural differences and perspectives existed.
This is such an example for the church this day. If the first church experienced disputes and divisiveness, should we expect less? The same enemy attempting to eradicate the first church is the same enemy seeking to eradicate ours. The question is: will we allow the Holy Spirit to rule over His church, and to produce the unity He desires?
But then we see this dispute between Paul and Barnabas, which is unlike anything we have seen before. Church disputes being as they are, we have seen the Holy Spirit bring unity. But what of Paul and Barnabas?
Again, this is why Acts 15 is so important to us. We see general dispute. Church division. Church division solved. But now we see personal dispute to such a degree the very thing accomplished by the Holy Spirit in His church is seemingly disregarded over sharp differences of personality. Are differences of personality present within the body of Christ to the degree men separate from one another?
You bet they are. Personality conflict and differences will always be present because men have free will, and men have perspectives for ministry based upon their own desire for how ministry ought to be accomplished. Are we free to say this is wrong – or does the Holy Spirit teach us there is more to say about this than meets the eye?