Monday, April 19, 2010

Acts 15:12-21

"12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. 14Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16" 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things' 18that have been known for ages.

19"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

Let's Not Make This Difficult!!

James the brother of Jesus spoke up and summarized the words of Simon Peter by saying that God first showed his concern by taking from non-Jewish people those who would honor his name. In fact it agrees with what the prophets said in Amos 9:11-12.

My commentary said that James's judgment was that Gentile believers did not have to be circumcised, but they should stay away from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, and from eating meat of stangled animals and from consuming blood. If Gentile Christians would abstain from these practices, they would please God and get along better with their Jewish brothers and sisters-in-Christ. Of course, there were other actions inappropriate for believers, but the Jews were especially concerned about these four.

This compromise helped the church grow unhindered by the cultural differences of Jews and Gentiles. When we share our message across cultural and economic boundaries, we must be sure that the requirements for faith we set up are God's, not people's.

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