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For those of you who don’t know me my name is Danny Watton.
I am your service pastor and I am absolutely humbled to be here with you.
I think its amazing that my job allows me to dive into the Word and learn more about our God.
I think as Christians we should all feel that way.
Excited to dive into the Word and learn more about who we are as Christ followers.
I remember when I was a new Christian I thought that I knew everything!
I knew what it meant to be a Christian and how to behave in order to prove to others that I was serious about my faith.
If you asked me how I knew I was a Christian I would start off telling you I wouldn’t do certain things and of course I would read my Bible, be kind to others and go to church.
But what should have alarmed me that I had a problem was when Lauren and I traveled to Vancouver Canada with my family.
I found myself getting irritated and mad at her for having a glass of wine.
I was being super judgy that she was drinking a glass of wine and that she was not 21 yet.
It was legal in Canada to drink at 18 so she was within her legal right to have a glass of wine in Canada even though in the US it was 21 of course.
I was acting and communicating to my future wife that she was not really a Christian because she was not abiding in the standard that I set as the golden standard for being a Christian.
If I had a time machine and I would go back in time a slap myself because I love me a good glass of wine.
What I was doing was I was adding to the Gospel with man made rules on how to obtain salvation.
I was telling Lauren that she was not really a Christian because she was not truly a follower of Christ.
Now I was absolutely wrong and Lauren was within her rights to have a glass of wine.
Even though she was not 21, Canada’s legal age to drink was 18.
So she was not breaking the law in Canada even though she would have been breaking the Law in the US.
And she was absolutely a Christian because she believed in Jesus as her Christ.
So the problem that I had was I was adding requirements to the Gospel.
I was telling her it was Jesus’ death plus following these certain rules.
And that is exactly what is happening in .
The question arose if the Gentiles could be granted full salvation through grace if they did not obey the Mosaic Law.
Specifically, circumcision and Jewish customs.
The Jerusalem Council
The Jerusalem Council
Antioch was the first place that believers were called Christians
Paul and Barnabas traveled all over and they were preaching the Gospel.
And at the end of Chapter 14
“27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.”
Paul and Barnabas were seeing the Holy Spirit move as Gentiles were believing in Jesus Christ.
The harvest was plenty and God granted them success as they were on their mission.
Everything is going great.
But what did we talk about last week?
Satan knows he has been defeated and even though Gods plan will not and cannot fail, it doesn’t stop Satan from continuing to try and torment the church.
We see this in verse one of
6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.
That’s was the message that they began teaching.
They essentially said “goodbye grace”……Jesus isn’t enough!!!
The Bible calls these men Judiazers.
They didn’t deny that one isn’t saved by grace but rather they believed that you were saved by grace and following the customs of Moses i.e. circumcision
2 And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.
We see here that Paul and Barnabas had a strong debate with them.
It seems hear that there was arguing and things were heated and shouting was taking place.
The Judiazaers said to Paul and Barnabas you are wrong.
We have the support from the main office in Jerusalem.
So what any good church would do is seek counsel.
They all agreed that they would travel to Jerusalem to seek counsel from the Apostles.
So Paul and Barnabas and some other witnesses went to Jerusalem
Verse 3 & 4
12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me.
14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.
15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.
4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.
5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”
So they arrive in Jerusalem and they are tired but excited to put this debate to rest.
But immediately the pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them to order them to keep the law of Moses”
Now at first as I was reading this passage I said to myself, well of course the Pharisee’s are at it again.
Causing trouble for the church.
But as I went back to read this verse again I see that these Pharisees were believers.
So these pharisees where not evil people as I initially thought.
They were committed and they have given up a lot to be were they were in their Christian faith.
It cost them everything.
They had to give up their positions within society and their families.
What I realized was that these Pharisees were brought up in the scholarly study of the Mosaic Law.
They worked hard to gain position as a Pharisee and they were no doubt honored by their family because of their achievement.
So looking at this I realized that even though these Pharisees who stood up and said they had to obey the Law of Moses I thought to myself that these men were a product of their up brining.
Not being able to let go of the Law of Moses.
But when they accepted Jesus a civil war broke out inside of these men as they were trying to reconcile everything that they had learned.
But these men were not evil men.
But their view was a problem.
They were new believers so this question and debate that they are about to have is super important.
So I began to understand where they were coming from and sympathized with them a little because they are a product of their up brining.
As we are all who were are because of the family and up bringing we have.
This is an important point in the church history.
If they came to the wrong decision then Christianity would not be what it is today.
The doctrine of salvation through grace was at stake here in the Jerusalem Counsel.
16 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant[b] of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’
The counsel has been in hot debate.
They have been yelling and screaming so their point or position would be heard.
I am sure things were said that some of the regretted.
Again I see this scene as a law being debated or trying to be passed into law in Washington.
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