Acts 15

Scripture: Acts 15:1-22 and various others

The Big Idea: It’s All About Jesus

1. We will have Family Matters (problems)

  • The Jerusalem Council

While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses , you cannot be saved. Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, Arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit believers. They told them – much to everyone’s joy – that the Gentiles too were being converted. When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God has done through them. But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, the Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.

* Since the birth of the church there have always been “religious” things to fight about.

* When we have (not if) disagreements and arguments how will we resolve them?

* The question is: “Do we want Religion or a Relationship?”

* There were 613 Jewish religious laws and Circumcision was the Test to follow these laws.

* Jesus + anything = ruin.

2. We Are Saved by Faith Alone.

Acts 15:6-19
6 So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 7 At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
12 Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:
16 ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David.I will rebuild its ruins and restore it,17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord, including the Gentiles— all those I have called to be mine.

The Lord has spoken, 18 He who made these things known so long ago.’19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

* Our goodness and good works will never be good enough for God:

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. – Romans 3:23-24

* Jesus said I came to fulfill the Law:

Matthew 5:17
Do not misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or its writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.

 The Big Idea: “It’s All About Jesus!”

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth. Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” – John 3:3

Jesus said to him, I” am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6 NKJV

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12 NKJV

… Sirs what must I do to be saved? So they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved… – Acts 16:30-31NKJV

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.. – Titus 3:5

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – Romans 10:10

 Our salvation is free for us, but it costs Jesus everything!

* Questions: Have you repented of your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Are you born again?

3. We are Saved to Serve.

* Saint Francis of De Sales said it this way: “Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily.”
* Billy Graham said it like this: “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christians service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”
* JESUS said it this way: “You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket; Instead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:14-16  NLT

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:8-11 NKJV

Action Step:
* We have been saved to serve.
* God has an assignment – mission for us, His church, and it’s not to sit and be silent.

*Question: Where are you serving?

James the apostle said it this way:

Faith without works is dead. – James 2:17

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