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 Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 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 Cilicia, greetings.

24 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, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.

28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 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 yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

Acts 15:22–29 ESV Read More

This section is a big deal for the Christian church. Many people consider Pentecost as the birthday of the church because that’s when the Holy Spirit came down with such ferocity. That’s fine. (Although some of them had already received the Holy Spirit while Jesus was appearing after His resurrection.)

In some ways, this event right here is almost as important as the birth of the church in Acts 2. This event in Acts 15 is a corporate agreement and show of unity between the Christians that were Jewish and the Christians that were Gentiles. With the establishment of “what do people have to do to live as Jesus-followers,” the whole Body of Christ is given practical training on how to “go into all of the world and make disciples.”

It’s genius of Peter and the rest in Jerusalem to send people back to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They aren’t going to leave any room for some trouble-makers to slander anybody. They are sending and showing their full approval so that anybody that needs the endorsement of authority can get it.

This is a great caution to us as we make disciples, too. As we discuss what it means to be a Christian, are we making more laws up than Peter, Paul, James, and the original church of Jerusalem and Antioch? Are we building a better Christian life than they could by adding on rules like “don’t listen to music with a drum beat” or the classic “wear a tie to church?”

No Way!

As people block their view of the Holy Spirit with law upon law and rule upon rule, it’s hard to not notice that the plan in Acts 15 didn’t list out the 10 commandments. Surely these devout people that were Jewish from birth knew the 10 commandments?! While we memorize them, cross-stitch them, and even yard-sign them, the founders of the “evangelical” (going and telling the Good News) Church didn’t even bring them up. They were asked “What way of life rules should we teach new followers of Jesus?” And this was their answer.

Let us too not put a stumbling block before new believers in Jesus. 

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