It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; the good news about Jesus had been accepted by those who didn’t even know the God of the Jewish Scriptures, the good news about Jesus had been rejected by most of those who did know the God of the Jewish Scriptures; Paul and Barnabas continued to teach new believers in Antioch that faith in Jesus is enough to know God, some claiming to know Christ continued to add requirements to faith in Christ; Paul and Barnabas wanted to make it simple to come to Jesus, some claiming to know Christ wanted to make it hard to come to Jesus.
In short, it was an age like every other age God’s people have seen, in which we must ask the simple question: Is Jesus enough?
That’s the picture we find in Acts 15.1-35. There’s a threat! And it comes, not from outside the people of God, but from inside the church. And, as we see God’s people work toward resolution, we’ll see them identify an issue that is just too big and important for compromise—call it a Truth Issue. We’ll also see them unify around less important matters—call them Unity Issues.
And, as we gather at Woodland this Sunday (and perhaps in small groups early next week) we’ll get to help each other with the truth and unity issues in our own cultural situation, all while we remember the one, big idea from Acts 15: JESUS IS ENOUGH.
Here’s some questions that, once we’ve read the passage, will help us do just that:
What is really being discussed in this passage? Why can’t they just “agree to disagree”?
How are the “unity issues” of verse 19-20 different from the major “truth issue” (salvation by faith in Christ, not law-keeping)?
What are some “truth issues” we encounter in our cultural situation? What are some “unity issues”?
What are some takeaways from the way the apostles and elders handled this dispute? How might they become important for us?
Have a great week. See you Sunday, at Woodland!