Good morning! I know the past few months have created a level of disputes that we have not experienced before. From COVID-19 to face coverings, to social justice to meeting in churches, and many more. The greatest disappointment has been the disputes among believers. In today’s verses we will read on a dispute that required greater leaders to get involved. Join me as we begin our reading in Acts chapter fifteen.
“While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers[a]: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.” – Acts 15:1-3NLT
- Unidentified men began teaching the believers the Good News with the requirement of the law of Moses (Genesis 17:10-14) to be circumcised.
- Paul and Barnabas had been preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone Jew and Gentile. Each believer received the Holy Spirit and the promise of salvation without the requirement of circumcision.
There was a dispute over circumcision and non-circumcision. In the numerous chapters and verses before, we learned that God was doing something new through the life, death and ressurrection of Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We also learned that the Gentiles who were once excluded, are now accepted by God. That all people who believe in Jesus shall be saved and reconciled to God.
However, the great part about the church in this situation is that they sought the greater church (e.g., original disciples and apostles) for further clarification. The benefit of this was to ensure the church was aligned with the appropriate teachings. As we read on, we can see that salvation wasn’t just for the Jews, but it is for everyone who believes in Jesus. Race, social class, education, wealth, past traditions, and a person’s past did not and will not limit the work of God in the lives of believers.
Sisters and brothers we sometimes get into disputes that we know Jesus would never approve, especially over the past few months. He would have a good parable for us to self-examine ourselves. Then Jesus would ask us a question about our own heart. Truly, we have been so caught up in worldly behavior that we have forgotten what Christ Jesus said and has called us to do.
Things to ponder:
- How is your behavior different from a non-believer?
- Are you preaching something other than the gospel when you post, write or say something out of your own emotions?
- Have you read the scriptures yourself or are you depending on other authentic Christians to guide you or “fake” Christians to guide you? – Don’t be mislead.
Father God, we thank you for opening the eyes of the blind, which many of us were. Lord, thank you for allowing us to see you at work in the life of believers and in the world. Lord, we want to be used by you to share the truth of the gospel message – the Good News of Jesus Christ. Lord, we want to be living examples of you in the world today. Lord, set our hearts on fire 🔥. Purify our heart so that only your love and word remains. Lord, build us up and strengthen us to stand in the gap for your children and the world you created. Lord, keep us aligned to Your word, both in mind, heart and deed. Lord, whatever we lack we trust that Your strength will be made perfect in us. Keep using us to do Your will. In Jesus name, amen.
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