Book of Acts Chapter 15 (Part Two)

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

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Body:
Read Acts 15:6-18
2. The Discussion.
There is a discussion about the conflict in this section of the book of Acts. Peter presents the case for salvation by grace.

Barnabas and Paul are said to talk about what has happened along their journeys. And James appeals to prophetic scriptures about Gentiles being saved.

Applications –
- Discerning the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Notice in vs. 8 of this section of the book of Acts the idea of the Holy Spirit being given to the Gentiles, as He had been given to the group in Jerusalem.

It is commendable that Peter could look past his biases and discern the presence of the Holy Spirit. There are too many who have such a narrow perspective that they cannot discern the presence of the Holy Spirit, unless He shows up the way He has always showed up in the past.

This may be the case with worship style, racial context, or even where we find ourselves located. Some can only sense the Spirit in the sanctuary. Let’s work on being open to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Prayerful study and obedience with relationships with other disciples can help us with the discerning process. Everything that is new is not godly, nor is everything that is old.

- Don’t modify the simply gospel. Notice in vs. 10 of the book of Acts the ideas related to yokes. First, we test God by putting yokes on people that He has not required.

In other words, we tempt God to get angry when we add our “dos” or “don’ts” to His simply plan of salvation. Second, we really tempt God to get angry, when we call others to do what we are not doing ourselves.

Let’s share the simple plan of salvation with our love ones and those we meet along our journeys. There is time for edification, after evangelism.

- Saved by grace. Notice in vs. 11 that salvation is by grace. The worst person can be saved, by the undeserved mercy of God. And the best person needs to be saved, by the undeserved mercy of God.

All humanity has sinned and fallen short of what is needed to be saved by their own efforts. But thanks be unto God, Jesus paid it all. Let’s live like we appreciate being saved by grace. Such appreciation should lead to obedient lives.

- Listening. Notice in vs. 12 of this section of the book of Acts the idea of listening to what is being said. This may seem like a trivial point, until you think about how much trouble is experienced because we were not listening to what God was saying by whatever method He was sharing.

Someone knows that if he/she would have listened earlier in life, he/she could have avoided some relational problems, financial troubles, and even health complications. Let’s work on listening to what God is saying.

This means being silent and perhaps even moving to a place where you will not be distracted. You may have to move your seat in the worship and Bible study experiences.



- God’s assignments. Notice in vs. 12 that God does what He wants through whomever He wants. God choose some people to perform miracles, and others were not chosen. God is still choosing some to do great works through, and others seem to have such ordinary assignments.

Whatever God does through you and those around you, it is a part of God working things out for the good of His people. Let’s work on trusting God’s ability to do the right thing through the right people.

Be prepared for whatever assignment God gives you. And trust God’s judgment with the assignments that He gives to others.

- Orderly discussion and the authority of scripture. Notice several items in vss. 13-18 of this section of the book of Acts. First, there was orderly discussion. People were not talking over one another.

One spoke while the rest listened. This may not seem to be a big deal, until you think about how disorderly conversations can become, when there are heartfelt issues at hand. Second, there was an appeal to scripture.

The appeal required a knowledge of the scriptures and ability to apply the knowledge to the current situations. When we study the Bible, we should be asking God to help us see how to apply the material to what is going on in our lives.

An appeal to scripture also requires a respect for the authority of scripture. The Bible is the Word of God. It is not advisory material. It is authoritative truth. Let’s work on orderly discussion and living by the authority of scripture.

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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