Tag: Acts 15

Agreement with the Holy Spirit!

Scripture reading for May 25th:  Acts 15

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 15:28-29  “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.  You will do well to avoid these things.”  

There was a dispute in the early church about whether or not circumcision was necessary for salvation.  Some Jewish believers wanted to make this a requirement.  Paul and Barnabas were in sharp disagreement with doing this!  So they and others from the church decided to go to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem and settle this matter.  They discussed this matter and heard all sides.  Peter stood and stated what was clearly believed:  “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”  (Acts 15:11)  The council agreed with this ruling and added just a few recommendations to believers for their spiritual welfare.  Peter noted that “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us. . .”.     The Holy Spirit led them to a peaceful settlement of this dispute!

Observations for over-comers:  Disputes between believers are part of life in this fallen world.  Those in Christ’s Church seek to discuss and hear from God’s heart how to move forward in peace and unity!  “Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.  So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you.”  (Proverbs 22:17-19)

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Law or Grace?

Scripture reading for May 26th:  Acts 15

The doctrines of the early church had to be worked out through the leadership of the apostles and elders.  An early conflict concerned the requirements for Gentiles coming into the fellowship.  The first believers were all Jews, some from the sect of the Pharisees who were brought up in the strictest practice and traditions of Judaism.  This group insisted that the Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. (Acts 15:5)  The leaders gathered at Jerusalem to discuss this issue and come to a decision.

“After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them:  “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the Gospel and believe.  God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith.  Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?  No! We believe that it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”  (Acts 15:6-11)

The early church leaders discussed the issue thoroughly and came to a conclusion based on God’s Word, Jesus’ teaching, and practical experience of God’s working among them as they ministered.  Although circumcision was required of true Jews, God did not require this under the New Covenant of grace!  Keeping the Law of Moses was never possible for even the most devoted Jews, this would not be required either.  It was by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ that Jew and Gentile would be saved!

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