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Acts 15 - The Church Divided Unites

Division is to be expected, yet those who cling to God's Word will remain united.

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Acts 15 Summary

For millennia, God's people were identified by a lifestyle that looked massively different than the world around them; especially in the way they ate & looked. Now as the gospel message was flourishing with the 'outsiders,' it was only natural that those steeped in the traditions would expect the newcomers to adhere to them.

Yet these expectations were rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of how salvation works: we are saved by the obedience, death and resurrection of Christ, not by following a myriad of traditions and customs.

What's remarkable about this chapter is how this early church dealt with this situation. They didn't sweep it under the rug, or let its members come to their own mutually exclusive conclusions. They came together, debated the issue, followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and issued a binding decision.

Unfortunately, it's not just doctrine that divides the church, it's often (mostly) conflicting personalities. Former partners Barnabas and Paul disagree with whether to take Mark along (yes, the Mark who wrote the gospel) because he ducked out on the previous trip. Notice how Barnabas takes Mark and they seem to go off on their own, whereas Paul & Silas are commended by the brothers to the grace of God (v40).

Dig Deeper

The Christian Reformed Church denomination is greatly divided at this time. Although the issues are different, we must let Acts 15 be a guide through these troubled times.

  • Differences must be debated in an orderly and deliberative way;

  • God's Word must be the final authority;

  • Discipline and church order must be heeded;

  • Continuing to be commended by the brothers to the grace of God (v40) may mean we must go in a different direction away from those we've loved and partnered with before.

AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God knows your heart and has accepted you by His Holy Spirit and has purified your heart by faith alone (v8-9).

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that our churches will be fully aligned with God's will, and not the world's.




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