25th May 2018

A Spirit-led Discussion 

“Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. They wrote this letter by them…
Acts 15:22-23 (NJKV)

How were things decided in New Testament times? It’s interesting that one of the first major decisions of the newly formed Christian church was made in the spirit of consultation and co-operation.

The problem was serious and potentially dangerous to the Gospel. Some men had gone from Jerusalem and had explained to Gentile converts that the law of Moses should be kept by all believers. The church in Jerusalem, however, had given “no such commandment” (verse 24). But it was a genuine question: some of the Pharisees who believed felt that it was “necessary to circumcise them (the converts), and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (verse 5). So “the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter” (verse 6).

It was to be a discussion among spiritual colleagues. Various people including Peter, Paul and Barnabas testified about how the Spirit had worked among the Gentiles without imposing the law of Moses. Thus the Spirit had “made no distinction” between those who kept the law of Moses and those who did not do so, “purifying their hearts by faith” (verse 9). After hearing the input from various people, James summarised the group discussion and outlined their decision that, because “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us”, the burden of the Law of Moses should not be imposed on new converts (verse 28).

In verse 22 above a team of people are chosen to convey this decision of the Jerusalem council to the churches. “And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4).

Prayer
Thank you, Father, for the Holy Spirit, and for the way in which He has inspired and does inspire decisions within the church through discussion and consultation. In Jesus
’ name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
james.henderson@gracecom.church
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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