What Makes a Christian a Christian–Acts 15 Part 1

We mean well.  As Christians, we are forgiven of our sin and raised spiritually to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.  Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” So, after an amazing missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas returned to meet opposition from the home church in Jerusalem.  The gist of the opposition came from Christians that had been from the Pharisees. In affect, it was their position that while the gentile Christians were clearly allowed–they should have to live like Jews and be circumcised and follow Jewish law.

 After much prayer and discussion, the Church leadership including Peter, James and others agreed that the gentiles that became Christians were not bound by Jewish law or tradition.  If God saw fit to accept them just the way that they were–then who was the Church to demand more of them than God did, himself. In the end, they were directed to leave behind the sexual immorality of their pagan gods and they were directed not to eat meat offered to idols.

 In our current day, God still directs the Church to accept his followers the way they are.  Like the early Church, God is not saying to allow sexual immorality, but he is saying that we, as believers, are not to impose our traditions and local rules on people as requirements to be saved.  All of God’s people are required to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives.  They are to humbly seek him and follow the process that allows us to be conformed into his image. What we wear, what we eat, how we dress is not a prerequisite to our level of spirituality.  What God has, is and will continue to examine is what is going on in our heart.  If we allow him to lead and trust him with our lives–He and we should accept believers just the way they are!

 God Bless You

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are

Author: Michael Smith

This is an amazing Journey. I hope you will hear from the Lord, as you seek Him with your heart. Matthew 6:33

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