Acts 15:22-35

“For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements…”

Sermon Transcript:

Good morning everybody. Invite you to take your Bibles. We’re gonna be looking at Acts chapter 15. Uh, if you have a, if you want to use the Bible that’s right in front of you, it would be page 869. We’re gonna continue our series here in the book of Acts, and I’d like to read Acts chapter 15, beginning at verse 22, down through verse 35.

Acts. 15, 22. Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders with the whole church to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch. With Paul and Barnabas, they sent Judas called Barabbas and Silas leading men among the brothers with the following letter, the brothers, both the apostles and the elders to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Silesia.

Greetings, since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us having come to one accord to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas in Saul and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have therefore sent Judas in Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it had seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality.

If you keep yourself from these, you’ll do well for, well farewell. So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. And Judas and Silas who were themselves prophets encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.

And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch teaching and preaching the word of the Lord with many others. Also, let’s pray.

What I’m struck this morning with. The perspective that as we just sang those words, the Apostles Creed, there have been people all over the world, brothers and sisters, countless ones that we have never yet met who are giving their lives to those same truths. Lord, we gather here and we look at this passage this morning, and we’re brought into a council of people that are dealing with theology, that are wrestling with truth because they want to live their lives under the lordship of Jesus.

And truth and theological parameters are so vital. So God, teach us today, I pray, Lord, may we learn from this church, which reminds us of the. , the dependence the church has on theology, a knowing God, unknowing what you teach us. And Lord, I thank you for your word, a timeless record that has stood the epics and the centuries and the millennia of time, Lord, allowing us to build our lives on its truth.

So teach us today from it. In Jesus name, amen. You have to become one of us before you become one of his. So spoke resident, pastoral, extraordinary Esquire, Josiah Parker, last Sunday here from our pulpit as he did a, I think, a tremendous job in summarizing. Acts chapter 15, What is known historically as the Jerusalem Council.

The whole conflict is built around that statement. You have to become one of us before you can become one of his. I want to just bring you up to speed again because our passage this morning is really just the delivery of the concluding comments that they agreed upon at this council. And what we find in this passage, and again as Josiah, and I’ll be referencing a couple of things from Josiah regarding that, is the, the Jews.

We’re feeling that the Pagans Gentiles, but to them they were pagans. And of course, as a Mitch and many time, the word pagan actually means someone whose, whose belief system is a part of creation. A pagan is one historically that does not view a transcendent God, sovereign God over creation. It is a belief system, as was all of the Roman and gr, the Greco Roman world at this time that saw gods as simply parts of creation.

The Judeo-Christian God is the God that is supreme above creation. He is the creator, He is the Lord, He is the transcendent most high at a very different perspective. And now these people were flocking to this new embracing of Jesus. And for many Jews it was frustrating, troubling because they seemed to be bypassing, first becoming Jews.

We can understand why they were bothered. 1800 years ago, God had chosen Abraham and his progenitor, his, his descendants as the ones that would be his chosen people. And for 18 centuries, plus he has been building his, his work on planet Earth through this group of people, this nation called the Nation of Israel.

People of any ethnic or national background who had wanted to embrace Jehovah, God had been required to become Jewish pross through all those centuries. And now all of a sudden the Messiah has come and these people want in. And the Jews, many of them said, Well then first follow the rules. Get circumcised, become one of us, and then you can embrace our Messiah as yours.

It has caused great controversy. Paul and Barnabas have gone out. If you’re a member of, we’ve talked about in chapter 13, they left the, the, the city of Antioch, which was 80 miles north of Jerusalem. It has become the second of the two epicenters for the church, and they have gone out and they’ve done the first missionary journey in, in Southern Turkey, which is called Galatia.

And as they have traveled through that area, they have led many to Christ, both Jews and Pagans. And now they have come back to Antioch. And while Paul and Barnabas are an Antioch, a new group. Missionaries has gone out. These are individuals that have gone from Jerusalem, pronouncing themselves to be representatives of James, the, just the head of the church, the physical brother, half-brother of Jesus, representing the, the, the true gospel, which is telling these pagan believers in Antioch where Paul and Barnabas are, and up in Galatia where they have been.

It’s, you guys have to be circumcised. You have to join the team in order to become a part of Jesus team. Paul has seen it happen. We read it in chapter 15 here, verse one. It says, But some men came down from Ju Judea that just meant Judea. Higher elevation, they’re actually going north. We think of that going down, but some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers.

Unless you’re circumcised, according to the CU custom Moses, you can’t be saved. Paul has recently written the book of Galatians to the Galatian churches and the Galatian believers, and he’s, He’s worried. He’s concerned, and he says this in chapter one, verse six and seven, I’m astonished that you’re so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.

Not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble. and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. This word trouble is used a couple of times. In, in, in the Book of Galatians is used in Acts 15 where they talk about the troublemakers that were traveling around and they have gone up into these areas.

This is what brought about the events of the Acts, chapter 15, where Paul and Barnabas have come down and Peter is there and they’re having this big debate. And the big debate is basically trying to answer these questions. Do the Pagans need to become Jews? To become Christians? Do they need to practice the laws, the sabbaths, the rights of the Jews in order to embrace the Jesus mess?

Jesus, the Jewish Messiah as their Messiah and Christ? Josiah did a great job last week in highlighting, uh, a summary of what conclusions there were there. I just wanna rehearse them. They, first of all, concluded at the council that people raised in paganism did not have to become Jewish pross. Secondly, they concluded that God had actually inaugurated an entirely new era of faith through the works of Jesus freely open to Jews and Gentiles.

There were a couple of things that are highlight in this passage that are really important, and, and I just wanna highlight them because I’m gonna reference back to it in, in, in a moment. What he talks about and what we see in this passage is the fact that God is starting a new era in his work with humankind in the past, the era under Mosaic law.

It was basically an external system God had built in a system of laws. He had given his mosaic law to the people of Israel. It was an external system helping people to know him, his nation to know him. And it had two purposes. One, it was designed to keep Israel as a nation from godless practices and idolatry of all a pagan nations around them.

Its entire focus for them as a people was to keep them separate. Distinct, unique, special to God. And so he gave them all kinds of special things. He gave them special worship days, special practices to do in their individual lives, special foods to eat and not eat. Special cleansings to do if they touched the body, if they were around disease, special rights like circumcisions, special birth lines for the priesthood, special restrictions for marrying within their nation, special rules, multitudes of them designed to keep the people of Israel apart, separate from the influence of the word.

It was an external system. The second role of that system was also to speak to the hearts of people, to drive them to grace. in law as they would have the Old Testament law, the individual Israelite who loved God and was, was devout. And the loud, uh, uh, God’s spirit to speak into his life would be convicted of the holiness of God, the, the, the, the separateness of God and that they were sinners.

And, and these individuals would bring their sacrifices and say, This is this. I should have been the one that was judged. But this sacrifice is being offering. And God allowed these sin offerings and these trespass offerings and these guilt offerings. And this, this day of atonement, one time a year for all the people sacrifice.

And with any Israel, there were many who believed and embraced grace through the system of the. As it drove them to the sacrifices and, and viewing this is, this should have been me, but it’s not me by God’s grace. But there were also many, many people within Israel that were not believers. That’s why Paul talks about, in Romans, he talks about there is the true Israel and the Nont.

True Israel, just the nation of Israel. He talks about a circumcision, not of the body, but of the heart. And there were within Israel, many who had believed and, and embraced God’s grace. But there were many others that did not. But all of them benefited from the national external work of the law of keeping them separate from the nations around them in the godless practices.

But what’s happening through the work of Jesus Christ is a whole new era is being spawned this new era, the era under grace. It is not an error under an external system. It is under an internal spirit. That’s why you constantly see in the book of Romans, Paul’s always talking about we don’t live under law.

We live under the spirit. Under the spirit that brings the the season of grace. The Holy Spirit came. This is why it was so important that they said at the Acts 15 council, they kept constantly pointing out the fact. , they’ve received the spirit. The Gentiles, just like we have, they have received the authenticating mark that they have joined this, this new era where, where the Messiah has come and offered us life.

And grace Peter says it this way in Acts 15 in verse, uh, excuse me, uh, where is verse 11? We are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus. Just as they, in verse eight, he says it this way, God who knows the heart, bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us. What is taking place here in Acts 15 is a deeply theological conversation.

It is trying to wrestle through. How do I know if, if a, if a, if a Jew, if, if, if a pagan needs to become a Jew, how do I make these decisions, whether they should be circumcised or not? They had to wrestle it down theologically and understand what is God doing. He’s changing from the external system of law to an internal spirit directed life in the Holy Spirit, and what they’re recognizing is, wait a minute, this isn’t just a, an era for people that are part of the nation who lived under an external system.

This is for anyone of any cultural ethnic background who embraces Jesus Christ and therefore receives his spirit. All those things. I think Josiah did a fantastic job delineating last week. The reason I’m going back over them is because I want to just take a few minutes now to talk about what strikes me as I look at this passage as a visual.

For us, it is a reminder of how important theology is to the church. So I’m gonna just quickly go through what I see. Four things in the first two will be longer. The first thing we notice as we look at what’s going on in Acts 15 is theology is the Final Voice on Practice.

Excuse me. When these church leaders gather in Jerusalem, of course they get a, they get a both, a bunch of eyewitnesses. They get Peter there. Peter tells his story about with Cornelius, you know, the Roman Centurian, how he went, and, and, and, and God gave them the same experience with the spirit falling upon them.

And God says to Peter, Peter, don’t you call and clean when I’ve called clean, I call these boys clean. They’re in, They don’t need anything more. They also have received the spirit. They are a part of this new era. Under Grace. Peter told this story. Paul and Barnabas came and told their story. They told about all the things they saw on the Gentiles up in Galatian, all those places.

They’re an Antioch, but it was not ultimately the eyewitnesses That guide guided the conversation here in Jerusalem at the Acts 15 council. It is theology that guides the conversation. The word theology is from two words, ology, which means study of th ask, which means God. Theology in its broadest sense is the study of God and what God says about things.

You see, it wasn’t just that they could say, Well, you know, the Gentiles are in because you know they had the same experience we did. Well, that didn’t matter if the experience didn’t matter, right? I mean, they could have, Paul could have said, Peter said, You know, it was really funny, but I found out I like the same foods as those guys do.

Well, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that if they have something that theologically unites them, and what theologically united them was the reality of what God was doing in the historical moment of salvation. In human history. Here’s what Peter said in verse eight of chapter 15. God who knows the heart bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them having cleansed their hearts by faith.

Verse 11. We believe that we’ll be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. James the Justin nails, the, the whole thing with this statement in in verse 17. I see now that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord. And all the gentiles who are called by name, he’s quoting from the Old Testament.

Here’s what was happening in the Jerusalem Council. They were putting together the teachings of Jesus about the cross and about grace and about what he had done in the cross and about what his resurrection was all about. And they put together quotes here from the Book of Psalms and the, and the prophets, and they’re putting all this data together and they’re wrestling it through theologically, and they say, We get it.

We get it. This is what God has been doing. Here’s our answer to, what do we say to the Gentiles? We say, Guys, you’re in the only basis to live in the new era of grace. It’s that you have embraced Christ as your Lord and Savior and the spirit of God has come into your life. And now you don’t have a system, external system that has to guide every step and everything you do to keep you, uh, apart from the world.

We’re rather gonna put you in the world because you now have the spirit of God living within you. And as you yield to him and as you look to him and as you are guided by him, you will live as holy, righteous people. They put together. They had a fuller understanding of the era of grace because they wrestled with the theology of it.

Throughout history, the church has found itself as sailed with confusing and conflict creating issues. It is wrestling theologically. It that the church has known how to handle those practical situations. I’m just gonna throw a few up there. In the 300 s, there would be a number of controversies regarding the doctrine of Christ.

No. Can you see that?

That was kind of a low murmur that I’m not sure. I’m glad you make it so small. Um. Basically the doctrine of Christ, the Arian controversy. The, the question was, is Jesus really God, You know, uh, they wrestled through that. In the 400 s there was what is called the doctrine. Theology is the doctrine of sin.

Heras is, is the word for sin. It was collegian controversy. People was a teacher polyus who felt that people were not totally depraved. That man actually can sort of save himself. Yeah, he needs Jesus, but it’s kind of Jesus and, and big, big theological issue. The reformers in the 15 hundreds, the A the doctrine of scripture church tradition was, was questioned and often had been held as authoritative and solo scriptura was a, an emphasis upon the scripture as the ultimate authority.

At that same time, the doctrine, salvation needed clarification that were saved. Not by faith and works, it is soloed only faith. Now, these were not new truths historically that were presented. These were simply clarifying moments in the church where those truths were clarified and sharpened through the anvil and fire of controversy.

This is what constantly happens. I’ve mentioned to you before, we are living in a century. We are living in a day in which, in my opinion, there is no question the most, a sailed doctrine for the church of Jesus Christ is the doctrine of anthropology. I would suggest to you that all of these abortion, gender definitions, marriage and divorce, sexual orientations and practices, racial prejudice, euthanasia, capital punishment, are all questions of anthropology.

So what’s the role of the church? What I believe will happen, I believe it is happening, the church is thrown back on its heels and has to think, what is a theological understanding of these issues? How do we interpret these things? Now, what will not happen if we are faithful and biblical and follow historic theology, which has always been the way that the church has lived in health and prosperity under God, is we will not have new views of these issues.

but there will be a more clear, consistent explanation of these positions. It will not be by reinventing or running from historic biblical theological positions, but rather by explaining with clarity, compassion, and courage. The church will be strengthened. The church will be deepened. Even though right now every church feels rocked to be able to process some of these questions, we’re not the first time that’s happened in the church.

So where do we go for our answers? Do we do, we say, Well, let’s just not, let’s just go. You know, we don’t want to be, we don’t wanna be narrow. We, we just gotta go with the flow of culture and no, we have to say these are moments, these are times, these are opportunities for theology to direct our practice.

It’s just, we’re gonna have to learn how to do it better than we’ve had to do in some of these areas before. Secondly, theology is the enduring basis of unity. There was a giant shift that took pl place here in Acts 15, and it, it’s, it’s this, this is one of my favorite parts of this message, so hang with me.

If you haven’t been interested at all, gimme a chance here. All right. . The way that Israel historically has maintained their unity is primarily because everyone sort of did life the same way, the same practices, the same life rhythm. They all practiced the weekly Sabbath. I mean, one day, one seventh of your week was completely shut down from sundown to sundown.

Their annual calendar was built around three major pilgrimages of multi-day that you went to Jerusalem. They were all, all the males were circumcised. They offered regular sacrifices and there’s all different kinds of them for all different purposes. They had morning and afternoon and evening prayers.

They had ritual cleansings. They had regular occasions to offer those sacrifices. They had many food laws of kosher and non kosher food. Israel was a faith, primarily united around Ortho Pria. New word for you, right? Orthopraxy. The word ortho means straight. What does an orthodontist do? Strain your teeth, right?

Ortho PR is you have straight practice. Israel was united in their practice. I, if you’ve ever thought about, there’s not much theology in the Old Testament. You ever think about it? There’s no doctrinal statements there, there’s no large explanations. Were feel like, I mean, you read the Pistols pawn. He’s constantly giving all these doctrinal uh, formulas, these doctrinal explanations about Christ, about, about how we live a as Christians in light of our nature is very little of that.

In the Old Testament, the unifying factor of the Old Testament was not doctrine, it was practice.

What happened in the era of the church was it is primarily our doxy, our teaching. Our beliefs that are our unifier. That is a quantum shift that took place as the church reckoned because they had put their trust and we gotta live this way, we gotta do this. You know the Pharisees love that they fasted three days a week.

I mean, they bing, B bang B, they had all the checklist, and all of a sudden the resurrection happens and then the Pentecost happens and nobody can find any lists. It’s why Tertullian, or excuse me, not Tertullian, a minute, one church father wrote this to his pagan audience. We live with you. We enjoy the same food, we have the same manner of life and dress and the same requirements for life as you.

One he was arguing was. We’re not just walking around in, in Christian outfits, you know, we’re not just walking around with, with, with, with badges that say, Christian, no, it’s our lifestyle. And he goes on to talk about how the life comes from within and, and causes them to honor the government and, and to care for the needy.

But he’s saying we don’t really have a lot of those external things. It’s not primarily our ortho proxy that we all look alike, that we all dress alike, that we all do everything exactly the same. When the Romans and the Greeks became Christians, they didn’t see it as embracing the whole mosaic system at all.

To them, they had come to religion, not about deuce, but what had been done by Jesus Christ. For them living the Christian life was about a life of joyful gratitude, about a, a life filled that is. , gratitude driven dependence on the spirit of God, trust and yieldedness to Jesus Lordship in all areas of life that there isn’t a visual of.

This is what the church, you know, Christians are, are to look like because they all have all the exact identical earth of proxy. Now, of course, a church is really good at trying to fall back into that. It’s what legalism does. It produces an unconscious list of clean and unclean activities. There’s always the temptation to try and rebuild our unity on ortho proxy.

Fundamentalists tried to do it for years. Tertullian made this statement as he tried to do it. He ruled out all intellectual activities. He didn’t want them going to hear speeches. He didn’t want them to go to hear secular poets. He felt they’d be tainted. He definitely didn’t want them going to the theater.

He didn’t want any of the believers, and this is the second century, by the way. He didn’t want any believers doing dancing because he was sure it would inflame sexual passions and cosmetics and perfumes were out because, quote, if God meant for you to smell like a flower, he would’ve given you a crop of them on your head.

It’s easy to look at Christianity as orthodoxy. We just gotta punch the right buttons. But that’s exactly what was not determined to be its pathway in Acts. They recognized we have something so much better than an external system of rules. We are gifted with God himself residing within us and directing us and being as Colossians as the referee in our heart, directing us what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s good, what’s bad.

Certainly through the scripture, but also the spirit is given. So you go around the world today and you find out that Christians don’t all look the same. They don’t practice, have the same practices of food or music or clothing or daily routine or even worship experiences. They have the same word, They have the same spirit.

They have the same theology. It is a. ortho. It’s why theology is so important for the church. It’s why it’s so important for us to see that we have been given a timeless record of truth and that we can count on that to be our source of unity in our theology. Our beliefs are that which lead to practice and this, that which has united the church.

It’s why Paul constantly makes this simple doctrinal statement, although he elaborates on a number of passages with other doctrines, but the most off reported, most off recorded theological statement in the New Testament is a three word statement by Paul. It is used in Romans 10, Philippians two, Ephesians four, Colossians three, and first Corinthians.

Here it is. Jesus is Lord. I think he thought that’s the biggest theology. If we really embrace that, we will live in concert with the Spirit and the many seasons of history. The church has been encouraged to soften up on its physicians in order to promote unity and peace. No one has a higher priority on peace and unity than Jesus Christ, but there’s never a peace gained at the expense of theological truth, but rather it is a peace gained through the embracing of theological truth.

Biblical authority does not change. The church cannot modernize its sexual standards. The church cannot modernize its definitions of gender. It cannot modernize. Its viewed as leadership roles in the church. It cannot modernize its views on divorce and remarriage and count and marriage and countless other elements to accommodate because we are at very heart a people that are founded on truth and theological foundations.

The beautiful thing is we have what the world does not have. We have a timeless standard. We have a A A A I read a while back about a guy named Simon Newcomb, who was professor of mathematics and astronomy in the early 19 hundreds. One of the most respected scientists. In the world At that time, he was the first American since Benjamin Franklin to be made a member of the Institute of France.

He wrote an article in 1903 proving that it was scientifically impossible, that a heavier than air machine would ever be able to fly. It was taken as established fact. Fortunately, the Wright brothers did not read scientific literature, and a few weeks later they flew their plane in Kittyhawk.

I don’t know if you know, but a hundred years ago, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local con corner drug store. One pharmacist advertised. I found this. Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach in bowels, and is in fact a perfect guardian of help.

You know of health. You know what? There are things your grandparents believed you can’t believe they believed, and there are things your grandkids won’t believe you believed. , things change, right? But there is a theological foundation that is timeless and we can say, I, you know, I don’t know how to, I don’t how to work through gender definitions, and I want to do so with compassion and gentleness.

I have to hold to a foundation of how God views these things, and I, I need to understand it more. And I’m diving into passages, you know, I never really thought I had to dive into before to understand how to answer questions. But it will be theology that will direct our practice. It will be theology that we gather as our source of unity.

Last two things. Theology is processed through spiritual leadership. It’s interesting, verse 21, verse 28. It says, As the letter is sent out by the leaders, it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. The US there is primarily, he’s saying the letter is from the apostles and elders, the teachers and leaders of the church.

The whole church endorses it, but it’s clear that these were the individuals. That did the discussing. We Americans often have a distorted view of the individuality of faith. 80% of Americans, I just read this recently, say that you can be a Christian without needing a church. Now I agree as do you that if that means, can a person become a Christian can person embrace Jesus Christ to savior without a church?

Absolutely. It’s an individual decision. You don’t need a church to do that. But I suspect the question actually was really asking, do you need the church to do life as a Christian? And I would suggest to you that the church in the view of historic theology and New Testament theology is essential to do life.

You’re not gonna find a perfect church because, There’s no perfect, you or me, but the church is the place which has to been the disseminator of truth and godly leaders. Godly teachers, are called to process and proclaim historic theological interpretations of truth. These believers supported the sense of spiritual authority that comes from spiritual unity of the leadership and teachers of the church as they proclaimed theology.

Last thing I just wanna touch on theology is applied with humility and love. You know when, when James in, in Act 15 and verse 21 is talking about, you know, what do we say to the Gentiles? We’re gonna say, You don’t have to be circumcised, you don’t have to be Jewish. But he says, We want them to be reminded, as he says in verse 20, And Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and has read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.

He says, There’s lots of Jews out there that are embracing Jesus and it’s gonna be a big thing for them to believe that. Now the Goam, which is another name for the nations, the goam, who they have been either responsible to eradicate and wipe out in the land or certainly to avoid, are now gonna be sitting in the pew next to him every Sunday.

And he says, Guys, we’re, we’re asking you. And it just gives some, some principles, and I think Josiah did a great job on this. I think the sexual immorality here is primarily talking about that which was associated the temple. Certainly everybody knew sexual immorality was out, but he’s highlighting certain things that might be questionable.

And he’s saying in these practices, just restrain yourselves. Because guys, remember these Jewish believers that now have embraced Jesus just like you have. They’ve never gone to the theater. They’ve never gone, even public gatherings. They’ve never had Pagan neighbors in their homes, and they’ve never gone in your homes.

They’ve never, they’ve done all their schooling at the synagogues. They’ve never shocked on the Sabbath. They’ve never gone anywhere on the Sabbath. And now we’re telling ’em the worship day is no longer the Sabbath. It’s the first day of the week. Their heritage was to live separately in every possible way from those with Pagan backgrounds.

And now you pagans are gonna be taking communion with them. Celebrating the Messiah. It’s a lot. , and I think what he’s saying, Guys, we want to grace you by not adding to you that, which has just been a burden to us. It’s just been a system that we’ve had. You have the spirit. We have the spirit, and we don’t want to add to you, but we also ask you to grace your Jewish brothers.

We’re gonna see the wisdom of that as we go through the Book of Acts. We would also see it if we looked at a number of the New Testament books of the letters. But what enabled them now to be able to outwork their practice was these guys took the time with the theology. They thought as Christians, they built their lives under the authority of the word.

We’re gonna see the benefit of that as the church continues to grow and. and faces lots of hurdles along the way. Those passages will all find their theological mooring. Here in Acts 15, theology declared to them that there was one gospel for Jew and pagan, one gospel in which sinners stand forgiven. One gospel in which unrighteous people find acceptance through Jesus righteousness.

One gospel which gives the Holy Spirit as the guide and source of life. Let’s pray. Lord, we glory in the one gospel. Gospel of Christ, Lord Jesus.

What a glory it is to live accepted. Stand accepted in your righteousness to have the freedom that comes from the forgiveness that you provided to live our lives. Independence of the Spirit which you sent to us. Lord, we do glory in the one gospel, which is the foundation of our theology, and therefore the basis of our unity.

Lord, we love you for it. In Jesus’ name, amen.