Acts 15: 1-11
According to Galatians 2:1-10 this meeting happened 14yrs after Paul was saved. This chapter does NOT deal with how Gentiles should behave after coming to faith, but it is (primarily) a chapter about the proclamation of the authentic gospel in an accurate way. It should not surprise us that the gospel to the Jews is the same gospel as the one proclaimed to the Gentiles – it has the same saving outcome but also the same behavioral outcome in our lives.
v1: Gal 2 tells us these men came from James’ congregation in Jerusalem (James = Yeshua’s brother). This does not mean though that James endorsed what they believed.
· The custom of Moses = the law.
· “Cannot be saved” – here we see that the issue was one of salvation (it was not one of how to behave once saved)
v2: What these guys were in effect saying was this: be circumcised (become a Jew), pledge allegiance to the Torah/law (take on its yoke) and only then would they be ready to be evangelized and eligible for salvation. Paul and Barnabas vehemently opposed this idea/ teaching.
· Disputes need to be judged and settled in the house of G-d (1 Cor 6:1-11)
v3: They told a testimony about the Gentiles all the way to Jerusalem
v4: When they arrived in Jerusalem, they gave testimony that the message of the gospel and the methodology that they were using was effective in bringing Gentiles to salvation.
v5: These believers regarded this as something that G-d demanded from the Gentiles.
v6: They wanted to attend to this matter under advisement.
v7: “Much dispute/discussion ” – there was great conflict in the debate (same word is used in 15:2)
v8: The heart relates to our thoughts (G-d knows whether someone is sincere or not)
· When Cornelius and friends (uncircumcised) heard the gospel proclaimed (death, burial and resurrection of Messiah) they were saved, and as a testimony of their salvation they also received the Holy Spirit. Same message. Same result.
v10: Adding the law of Moses (circumcision etc) to the gospel message as a means of salvation destroys the gospel message. The gospel reveals to us that it is by grace that we are saved.
v11: Everyone is saved by grace – Jew and Gentile.
After being saved, salvation should manifest itself the same way in a Jewish person’s life as it does in a Gentiles. As believers we are seen as ONE people under the authority of G-d. We do not lose the identity we have in our ethnicity – G-d has called out people from every nation, tribe and tongue (Rev 7:9)