– Galatians 2:1-10… 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.
People known as Judaizers had tried to say to the church at Antioch that a person must become a Jew by circumcision before being saved A. They had forgotten the inner, spiritual aspect of the rite of circumcision B, just as some have lost the meaning of baptism and have turned it into something other than an act of obedience indicating a heart already changed by grace through faith in Jesus. C
As a result, Paul, Barnabas, Titus, and others went to Jerusalem to settle the matter there. D Peter had already been shown by Jesus faith in Jesus was for everyone and that Gentiles were saved by grace through faith. He defended his taking the gospel to the Gentiles to the church at Jerusalem. E
Paul presented first to the Apostles and after getting their approval to the church at Jerusalem that Gentiles are saved just as Jews by grace through faith alone. The church agreed and did not require the Gentile Titus or others to be circumcised. They sent the group to Antioch to continue the ministry to the Gentiles while also remembering the poor.
As a church desiring to take the gospel of Jesus to our region we would also do well to remember the poor without neglecting Disciple Making. F
Notes: A- Acts 15:1; B- Deuteronomy 10:16, Jeremiah 4:4, Romans 2:28-29; C- Romans 10:9,13, Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 2:10-11, D- Acts 15:1-35; E- Centurian Servant Luke 7:2-9, Samaritian women and village John 4:4-42, Cornelius Acts 10:1-11:18;
F- The government cannot fix the problem of poverty and related problems as I found out while providing strategic planning for communities in over 60 regions in 18 states. After spending untold trillions of $ the poverty rate is virtually the same: 1970 at 12.6% and 2016 12.7%. The church should be an encourager and helper in all three attributes below but particularly the first.
“Young people can virtually assure that they and their families will avoid poverty if they follow three elementary rules for success –
(a) get married and stay married [Families headed by a single female have a Poverty Rate of 28.8% – over five times higher than married couple families of 5.3% in data released September 2016 by U.S. Census Bureau],
(b) Complete at least a college education [only 4.5% of Americans over 25 with a college degree are in poverty]. A higher % of jobs each year require technical training or an AA degree from a Community College.
(c) Have the discipline to work full time [Adults that work full time have a low Poverty Rate of 2.4%] Based on an analysis of Census data, people who followed all three of these rules had only a 2 percent chance of being in poverty and a 72 percent chance of joining the middle class (defined as above $55,000 in 2010.”