Addition Through Subtraction (Living 2021 On Purpose pt. 6)

Sunday Morning
Pastor Jim Lowe III
Sunday Morning,  9:30am Stream


{All scriptures are NIV unless stated}


Summertime is coming up.

This will be the time to get ready for sun.

It’s a reminder for me of summers…especially growing up.

What are some fond memories during the summer time?

Going to the beach.

Going to the lake for fishing.

Riding bikes.

Eating ice cream…

To spend time in the shade.

All that summer stuff!

We have many memories of good times during the summer.

Even now…many of you are making plans on what you’re going to do this summer.

But one thing you’re doing as you prep for summertime…

You’re making sure you have summertime stuff!

What Are Things We Don’t Need In The Summertime?

In Alabama?

You don’t need a space heater in the summertime!

You don’t need thermal gloves in the summertime!

You don’t need snow boots in the summertime!

You don’t need coats!

You need shorts!

You need short sleeves!

You need air conditioner!

You need suntan lotion!

There are things we need for different times in our lives.

There Is A Time And Season For Everything

Each season is unique.

There are things we experience in each season of our lives.

Things That Helped You In One Season Might Not The Next

We have to check our suitcases to make sure the things we’re packing are necessary for where we’re going.

We have to make sure we lighten the load for ourselves.

Thought to ponder:

Addition Through Subtraction

If you’re into cars,

You MIGHT be a little into the idea of fast cars.

I had a minor interest in it.

They had racing and modding shows on netflix I used to watch.

There are car videos I’ll look at on YouTube on occasion.

I was into the Fast and the Furious movies when it was still about racing cars.

-           Before they turned into the Avengers.

The whole idea in that world is being faster than the person you’re against.

To do that, people would try to find the greatest potential for their cars.

There were many things people would do to achieve that speed.

But to do that they’ll tell you that you have to get rid of excess weight.

You’d see these cars and they wouldn’t have back seats.

The literal seat was pulled out because it was heavy.

You’d see the passenger seat would be missing.

Many of the things you’d be used to seeing in the car weren’t in these.

Anything not necessary to the goal of running the car or making it faster was taken out.

It’s the same thing with us.

If we’re walking or running…we move at “our speed.”

When we start carrying excess stuff…it begins to slow us down.

We Have To Make Sure The Things And People Around Us Aren’t Slowing Us Down

Major Point:

God Adds Through Subtraction

You might be removing things…but you are gaining as a result.

You are getting your speed back.

You are gaining momentum.

You are starting to run faster towards the things God has for you.

And NOT letting things or other people slow you down.

It’s Okay To Part Ways

We need to be aware of the people around us.

They might have been great before…

But today you might not be going the same place.

And when we aren’t…it’s okay to part ways if necessary.

It’s all about finding our purpose and doing the work of the Lord.

Even men of God can part ways.

Acts 15:36

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.”

Paul and Barnabas were known as a super team.

They were doing it all.

They did ministry.

They did missionary work.

They evangelized.

They started churches.

But as they traveled from one place to another…they now had all these places they’d been and ministered.

Paul wanted to go back to make sure they were doing alright.

“We’ve done a lot.  Let’s make sure it’s being effective.”

Verse 37

37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 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.

Barnabas wanted to take John.

They were family and he wanted John part of the ministry work they were doing.

[Barnabas was John’s uncle.}

Acts 13 talks about how in the middle of their ministry, John left them to go back to Jerusalem.

Paul considered John a deserter.

Barnabas felt that Mark was different now.

Paul was recommitted and ready for ministry.

We tend to have an extra heart for our family.

Paul says no…we can’t trust he’ll stay.

Verse 39-40

39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

So they had such a disagreement that they decided to leave.

Many people interpret this as they stormed away, slammed their doors and hated one another.

But many also see this as a legit disagreement in love neither would be able to budge on.

We see an argument of principle here.

Paul - No man who put his hands to the plow and looks back is fit.

Barnabas - Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

You might be encouraged to take sides in this argument…but whoever is right or wrong isn’t important.

The important thing is how it’s handled.

We Can Disagree In Love

We live in a time now where if people don’t agree with one another…we feel we have to fight,

or dislike them

or bad mouth them

or call them out on social media

or do something to attack them

Every disagreement doesn’t have to be an attack.

And just as we can disagree in love.

We can separate in love as well.

So we have the disbanding of a Super Team.

These two men of God decide to part ways.

Their ministry together is over.

They are separating.


Verse 39-40

39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

You’d think with them separating…it’d be over.

But Barnabas took Mark and went for Cyprus.

Paul took Silas and in verse 41 they went to Syria.

What were they doing?

Strengthening the churches.

So they were 1 group…

Even through they separated…they became 2 groups.

Headed different directions.

Now doing twice the work!

God Adds Through Subtraction

They were good together.


They were able to get more done when they separated.

It’s okay to part ways…

Why Are We Talking So Much About This?

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Remember…bad company corrupts.

The “wrong company” “changes.”

The “wrong people” slow you down.

The “wrong people” are anyone not headed the direction you’re going.

Proverbs 27:17

         As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

So on first read, this is saying we need people in our lives.

But we gotta look hard at it.

The bible says as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

The bible uses the word “iron.”

Iron is a type of metal.

But the bible doesn’t use the general term metal.

It specifically says “iron.”

It’s not specific with ‘one person.’

BUT considering how it is specific with iron.

We can imply it is being specific with ‘one person’ also.

Iron sharpens Iron…

a certain specific metal is sharpened by a similar metal.

It doesn’t say as copper sharpens iron.

It says iron and iron.

But they have to be like metals.

So if one “specific type of metal” is sharpens one “specific type of metal,” so one “specific type of person” sharpens another “specific type of person.”

What is the “specific type?”

Whatever is like the original metal.

We Need People Like Us In Our Lives To Sharpen Us

Too many times we’re trying to sharpen ourselves with people who are NOT like us.

We have people around…but they aren’t like us.

So we have to look at those around us.

Are We Surrounding Ourselves With People Of Iron, Or People Of Paper?

Many of us know the paper people in our lives.

Kitchen knives:

Many people buy knives and keep them until they become dull, then throw them out.

Kitchen knives become dull through regular use.

Through doing what they are made to do.

Knives are designed to cut…as you cut with them, you eventually wear them down.

But many people know you can sharpen knives?

Rubbing knives with certain materials can sharpen them.

Rubbing knives with the wrong materials will dull them.

There is no in-between.

Anytime the knife is used, you are either sharpening or dulling it.

Are The People Around You Sharpening Or Dulling You?

Are they causing you to be better and stronger?

Are they challenging you to go after God?

Or are they wearing you down?

We need people LIKE us around us.

There is no in-between.

You are either being sharpened or dulled by the people around you.

Even scissors that cut paper will eventually be dulled by it.

Who Are You Rubbing Elbows With?

Are the people around you like you?

Are you after the same things?

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.

When 2 or 3 are gathered.

Not just 2 or 3 together…

When 2 or 3 are gathered in his name…he is there in the midst.

The people around you have to have similar goals!

Are you chasing and running after purpose?

There is no in-between…

They are either sharpening or dulling you.

Acts 2:1

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

What happened?

They were all together.

The spirit came in and filled the room.

Every one was filled with the Holy Spirit.

But WHY did it happen??

Acts 2:1

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

The bible says they were all together in one place.

Isn’t that redundant?

Back then they HAD to be in one place to be together.

Today we can be together on a zoom call or facetime in different places.

This is speaking not just physically, but spiritually.

They were together…

in mind

in spirit

in goals

In one place…

and THAT is where the spirit fell!

We Need Like-Minded People Around Us!

If You Are Searching For A Word From God, Do You Have The Right Minded People Around You?


It might seem difficult to let people around us go.

But for everyone we let go of…

It helps us grow.

The people in our lives will either sharpen or dull us.

Are they helping us to be better or not?

When we have like minded people around us, God moves.

We need people around us with like minds and spirit.

That is when we can hear from him.

That is when he speaks.

If we’re having a hard time hearing from God.

Have e checked those around us?





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