Spend time in prayer and silence with God, asking Him to meet with you and speak to you.
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “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 brothers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the 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 obey the law of Moses.” The apostles and elders met to consider this question.
– Acts 15:1-6
Acts 15 records the first “church council,” convened to resolve a dispute over the meaning and implications of the Gentile mission. Some Jewish leaders argued that Gentiles had to convert to Judaism (and become subject to Jewish laws and customs) before they could become Christians. Peter reminded the council of how God had opened a door to the Gentiles through him. Paul and Barnabas recounted the things God had done among the Gentiles on their first missionary journey. Finally, the council issued a decision, declaring that the Gentile Christians would not be forced to become Jews first. Rather, they were on equal standing with Jewish believers the moment they trusted Jesus as their Savior.
The Big Question
What are the practical implications that came out of this first church council meeting? How did their decision impact the work of the Gospel moving forward? What implications did this decision have for you and me?
Conclude your time in prayer and silence, reflecting on what God revealed to you today.