Acts 15_1-5 - Attack Against The Gospel
Attack Against The Gospel
"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
1. The gospel was on the move
2. Satan had tried many attempts
a. Ananias & Sapphira
b. Unbelieving Jews and superstitious Gentiles
c. Political leaders
d. Things had turned bloody, but freedom was on the move.
3. Now Satan tries a stealth attack…penetrating the ranks and attacking deep inside the church
a. Galatians 2:4 "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
b. False brethren
c. Reminds us of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
d. Then to add to the fray, there are those who are believers joining their ranks!
4. The church would give audience to someone on the outside trying to teach doctrine should be.
a. Most liberal churches don’t read the Chattanooga Times Union or watch CNN to find out what their beliefs are and should be.
b. It takes someone viewed as being from the inside.
5. Satan’s objective: divide the multiplying church
a. Reduce effectiveness
b. Create confusion: Faith cannot reside where there is confusion.
The Attack Against The Gospel
1. Deviants Attack (1)
a. Deviants = departing from the norm
b. Galatians 1:6-9 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
c. The gospel revolves around a person, Jesus Christ and his work (death on the cross for our sins, burial and resurrection)
d. The attempt to put the attention somewhere else was deliberate and deadly.
e. They made it clear as to their interpretation.
f. Fallen from Grace
i. Galatians 5:1-4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
2. Disputation of the Adamant (2)
a. Adamant = uncompromising; inflexible; impenetrably hard
b. Dissention = controversy; uprising, insurrection
c. Disputation = discussion, reasoning, debate
d. Paul was unbending. He had a firm grip on the Scriptures and salvation
i. Barnabas was firm in Antioch, but not unyielding to the influence of notable and influential preachers in Jerusalem.
ii. Galatians 2:12-13 "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."
iii. Paul would not easily forget this unstableness later.
e. Paul would not yield to political persuasion during this critical hour
i. Galatians 2:3-11 "3But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 7But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 10Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. 11But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed."
f. Paul would not sit idle by while the gospel was being maligned
i. It was the red button you didn’t push with Paul
ii. Galatians 2:21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
g. This did not sour Paul…he was still a bearer of good news and the gospel
i. Acts 15:3-4 "And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them."
ii. They gave witness to the things God had done with them!
iii. They gave a good, not evil report.
iv. In the midst of strife and confusion, never lose sight of the goodness of God!
3. Deference to the Apostles (2)
a. No completed word of God.
b. If they had the book of Galatians, Romans, Hebrews, etc., these false brethren would have been shown the door.
c. This does not teach a religious hierarchy
i. The Spirit of God had commanded Paul to go.
1. Galatians 2:1-2 "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain."
d. Why did the Spirit want this to go to Jerusalem?
i. Confirm Salvation By Grace Through Faith
1. The whole issue of salvation being by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has always been the flag shining throught the rocket’s red glare and seen by the dawns early light.
2. It is this great salvation that is the flag that religion seeks to replace with the flag of the flesh and their own works.
3. Galatians 6:13-14 "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
4. Romans 10:8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;"
ii. Clarify the Gentiles Position
1. The Gentiles were facing stern opposition from Jewish believers.
2. Certain Jews sought to exclude them.
3. Others sought to assimilate them into their form of religion
4. Every time the declaration of Gentiles being saved was made know it brought rejoicing and glory to God. (3)
a. Acts 15:3 "And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren."
b. Acts 11:18 "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
iii. Changing of the Guard
1. Ceremonial Old Testament Law To New Testament Church
and From Shadow to Substance
a. Hebrews 10:1-2 "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins."
b. Hebrews 10:11-12 "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;"
c. Hebrews 7:11 "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?"
d. Hebrews 7:18-19 "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."
e. Hebrews 8:13 "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
2. Peter to Paul
a. It is interesting to note that his final act in Acts was to endorse Paul and his ministry
3. As did also Peter’s last written words:
2 Peter 3:15-16 "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
iv. Certify Pauline Apostleship
1. Paul’s message was from God and therefore undefeatable in the realm of reason and debate.
a. Galatians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)"
b. Galatians 1:12 "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
c. Galatians 1:17 "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus."
2. The enemy could not defeat the message, so they would try to discredit the messenger.
3. God would again and again certify His Holy Spirit’s hand on Paul.
4. Dissenting Accessories (5)
a. Adding to the dissension…believers.
b. Paul clearly identified “false brethren” and here are some delusional disciples
i. Accessory after the fact: One who aids a criminal after the commission of a crime, but was not present at the time of the crime.
ii. There were not there at the time of the dispute, but now are jumping on the bandwagon of these false brethren.
c. They were still committed to the kingdom concept
i. They believed that salvation was only available through the Jewish nation
ii. As many believe that salvation is only through the church, they believed that it was through Israel.
d. Salvation is not by the church nor was it by Israel.
i. We observe the Lord’s Supper and baptism today, but realize that they are not salvation or part of it.
e. Regardless of their sincere intentions…they were wrong.
i. Galatians 1:6-9 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
f. Regardless of the source of the confusion, from a brother or false brethren, perversion of the gospel must be rejected and opposed.
g. They would have to come to terms with the New Testament
i. Ephesians 3:1-6 "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:"
ii. As Jesus had prophesied…Jerusalem would soon be destroyed
1. Salvation is not in the temporal, but in the Everlasting Father.
h. Let go of the shadows and embrace the Savior