In the Church there is the bond of family, yet room for variety. The devil tries to disrupt unity. Two chickens tied at the legs and thrown over a clothesline may be united, but they do not have unity. (Leslie Flynn, Great Church Fights). … More
Paul said we should not put obstacles in the way of the Gentiles that turn to God (v. 19). But we should send word to them in writing to abstain from and avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols, all sexual impurity, eating meat of the animals that have been strangled, and tasting blood (v. 20). The decision coming from this Jerusalem council was that Christians will not be bound by the Old Testament law. The law of Moses has been preached in every town for many years (v. 21). Once and for all, the vexing, divisive issue of circumcision was settled. The leaders and the whole church (v. 22), directed by the Holy Spirit (v. 28), made a doctrinal decision about salvation, and a practical decision about living for Christ. A letter was written explaining the action taken, and a group, including Paul and Barnabas, was chosen to distribute it to the mother Church of Gentile missions in Antioch, and to the Christians in Syria and Cilicia (v. 23).
The first thing this letter did was to carefully isolate the false teachers who had come pretending to have the endorsement of the leaders of the Jerusalem church (vv. 24-27). The apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem wanted it known that they not only had no part in that legalistic teaching, but they were disassociating themselves from it altogether. There comes a time when those who propagate false teachings must be confronted, their teachings denounced, and their errors exposed.
The doctrinal position was clearly worded that faith alone was all that was needed for salvation. At the same time the council made some suggestions for the Gentiles concerning fellowship. That being that they would abstain from certain things which would be offensive to Christians with Jewish background. The three things the Gentiles were to abstain from (v. 29) were: (1) Eating food that had been offered to idols, (2) Becoming involved in sexual immorality, (3) Eating meat from any animal that had been killed by strangulation.
In this letter it is good to see the loving unity of people who had once been debating each other with opposing views. I need to take time to listen, love and learn from my brothers and sisters in Christ. A person who is always right, and who insists on having his or her own way, is difficult to live with.
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Acts 12:1-11Continual Prayer Brings Results
Acts 12:12-17Prayers Answered – Oh We of Little Faith!
Acts 12:18-25God’s Judgment on King Herod (Agrippa I)
Acts 13:1-3Barnabas and Saul Commissioned for Missionary Service
Acts 13:4-12Saul (Paul) Confronts a Sorcerer at Cyprus
Acts 13:13-31Paul and Barnabas Say Farewell to John Mark
Acts 13:32-41Paul Preaches the Gospel Including Christ’s Resurrection
Acts 13:42-52Gentiles Receptive to Paul’s Message – Jews Become Envious
Acts 14:1-7Opposition/Rejection From the Iconium Crowd
Acts 14:8-12Paul and Barnabas Refute People’s Worship
Acts 14:13-20From "God” to "Stoning” – Paul Still Committed to Preach
Acts 14:21-28Paul and Barnabas Share their Ministry with Supporters
Acts 15:1-5Jerusalem Council–Divisions Re: Circumcision
Acts 15:6-11Jerusalem Council–Discussion Re: Moses’ Law
Acts 15:12-18Jerusalem Council–Decisions Based on God’s Word
Acts 15:19-29Jerusalem Council–Decisions for Unity
Acts 15:30-41Paul and Barnabas Disagree About John Mark
Acts 16:1-5Paul & Timothy – New Ministry Duo
Acts 16:6-10Paul – Flexibility in the Itinerary
Acts 16:11-15Lydia–Conversion to Christ and Hospitality Offered
Acts 16:16-34Paul & Silas – Praising God While In Prison
Acts 16:35-40Paul’s Ministry Produces "People” Change
Acts 17:1-9Paul & Silas – Trust God’s Strategy for Ministry
Acts 17:10-15Obstacles that Hinder the Work of the Lord
Acts 17:16-34Religion ... Ridicule ... Results
Acts 18:1-4Paul Adapts to His Audience
Acts 18:5-11Opposition Enhances Ministry Results
Acts 18:12-17Paul’s Roman Citizenship On Trial
Acts 18:18-23God Works His Will in His Servants
Acts 18:24-28Tactfulness–Words That Work Mightily