Acts 15:24-29.. 23 and they sent this letter by them, “The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. 24 “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, 25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
James, half-brother of Jesus and a leader of the Jerusalem church supported Peter’s statement, of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone, with OT Scripture. A James also proposed a way forward toward unity and fellowship between Jewish and Gentile Christians by recommending: (1) add no requirements for gentiles’ salvation beyond faith in Christ; (2) urge gentile converts to avoid certain behaviors involved in idol worship out of respect for their Jewish brothers and sisters who were disciples B. The apostles and elders, along with the whole church, agreed with James’s proposal. The group chose two men to accompany Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch with a letter that spelled out the council’s findings and recommendations. C
The written message is above vv.24-29. The letter is from the Jerusalem church to the Gentile brethren in the churches Paul evangelized in the first missionary journey. It was in response to disciples from the Jerusalem church who made false claims about salvation. They recognized that Paul and Barnabas had risked their lives to proclaim the gospel to the gentiles and did not want these new disciples to be disturbed or unsettled. The things requested was a part of the idol worship that the gentiles had been saved from. James referred to Old Testament scripture A and in v.28 said the Holy Spirit had led the church in its deliberation.
These scriptures demonstrate God’s concern that His church includes people from every tribe, tongue, and nation? How does our class and you make it clear that decisions are guided by the Bible and the Holy Spirit?
Henry Luke 12/30/2017
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