Book of Acts Chapter Fifteen (Part One)

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Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord everywhere we go. Today, we look to discuss the dissension of the council at Jerusalem.

Read Acts 15:1-5
B. The Council at Jerusalem. 1. The Dissension.
Some unnamed men were spreading the word that Gentiles had to be circumcised, in order to be saved in this section of the book of Acts.

Paul, Barnabas, and others were sent from the church in Antioch to the church in Jerusalem to work on this area of contention. When Paul and Barnabas arrived at the Jerusalem church, they were received warmly. But then the dissension about circumcision soon began.

Applications –
- Quality teachers and teaching.
Notice in vs. 1 of the book of Acts that it was renegade teachers who simply went, instead of being sent, who caused trouble with their false or unaligned teachings.

A major reason for having our teachers to teach in the spirit of the Pastor’s teaching notes is to prevent this kind of thing from happening our church. There are too many churches that lack curriculum control and adequate teacher certification.

The result is that anything can be happening in the classrooms of the church. Let’s appreciate and cooperate with the attempts to insure we have quality teachers and teaching. Don’t let the devil use you to be a renegade teacher or student.

- Don’t add to the Gospel. Notice in vs. 1 that it is faith that leads to salvation, not circumcision. If we are not careful, we will make those preferences that are so dear to us some kind of prerequisite for others to be saved.

For example, church cloths, an appreciation of Christian worship, nor biblical knowledge are prerequisites for salvation, even though each have their place. Let’s not make the simple Gospel complicated with our preferences. Jesus paid it all for those who would accept Him as savior by faith.

- Conflict management. Notice in vss. 2-5 of the book of Acts the effort given to resolving disputes in the body of Christ. A third party was called into the dispute.

It is not strange for there to be differences of opinion and even strong differences in preferences, in the church. The differences are not the source of ungodliness. How we handle the differences is often the source of ungodliness.

Too many fight and seek to win, instead of trying to solve the problem and save the relationship. Let’s work on loving conflict management among believers. This may call for including a third party like another disciple, a church officer, or the Pastor.

Do what it takes to solve the problem and save the relationship, because the longer we stay divided on a conflict the more vulnerable we are to demonic attack.

- Spreading the word. Notice in vs. 3 of the book of Acts that as Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem, they shared the good news about Jesus. And the brothers were glad to hear about the spreading of the Gospel.

Let’s work on developing a track record of spreading the good news about Jesus everywhere we go, and let’s be glad about the Gospel going forth. It is sad to see how quickly gossip spreads but how slowly the Gospel spreads.

We should make it a habit to tell at least five to ten people a week about the marvelous things that God is doing in and through our church family. We should tell people how God is making a difference in our lives.

And when we see people accepting Jesus, we who are saved should be glad. We should not sit with indifference as people join the church. We should be excited about another solider enrolling in the Army of the Lord.

- A welcoming church. Notice in vs. 4 of the book of Acts that Paul and Barnabas were welcomed by the church and leaders. It is important for the church to be known for its warmth, love, and welcoming spirit.

In order for this to be the case, every believer should work on an attitude of hospitality and friendliness. The mature must be so strong that even when they don’t feel like smiling and being hospitable, they do it anyhow.

The command to love one another is not based on how we feel. Let’s continue to work on being a welcoming and warm church.

- Accountability. Notice in vs. 4 of the book of Acts that there was structure and accountability. Even though Paul and Barnabas had done great things, they were still accountable to the church.

We should keep the devil from having us thinking that we outgrow accountability. Decency and order calls for structure and accountability.

Let’s work on balancing the need for accountability with the danger of becoming to bureaucratic. There is a such thing as too many rules and too much structure. We should aim for the balancing point.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.

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