June 29 Devotion

Today we will look at Acts 15:22

15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, leaders among the brothers, to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.  23They sent this letter with them: 

From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 24Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 25we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul,  26who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person.  28For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:  29that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell. 

30So when they were dismissed, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the entire group together, they delivered the letter.  31When they read it aloud, the people rejoiced at its encouragement.  32Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.  33After they had spent some time there, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) the word of the Lord. 

The church was in trouble, they were stuck in confusion with opposing messages.  Paul and Barnabas had one message and others from Judea said something completely different.  The argument was whether or not the new Gentile believers had to follow the law of Moses or not.  The disagreement was so strong and important that they sent a delegation back to Judea, to Jerusalem to get the straight goods.  The council met and affirmed the message of Paul and Barnabas sending, not just Paul and Barnabas back, but others to confirm their decision.  

Do we have to follow the law of Moses?  Is it necessary for salvation?  Jesus made a new covenant with us.  Peter stood up in the council at Jerusalem and affirmed that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ.  That is the gospel!  Those who were preaching a different message were wrong and leading people away from the Gospel.  That is why the argument was so intense.  

This is also why our church exists.  It was essentially the same issue that separated the church in the reformation period.  We are saved by grace through faith. Jesus has also given us commandments to obey, the difference is that we are not saved by them, we are simply taught how to live by them.  

You are saved by your faith in Christ, saved to live a life that honors the one who gives it to you.  Live your life well.

Pastor Mac