Summary: It is living still, inspite of all that has come against it; inspite of all who have tried to pervert it. Keep the faith!
What an august gathering we would witness, if we were able to transport back in time and go to Jerusalem for this first official council on the doctrines of the faith.
All the big names are there. Paul and Barnabas, who have had much God-given success in ministry among the gentiles, which is the very reason this council is convening, Judas and Silas, who would accompany Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch with the results of this meeting, Simon Peter, James the brother of Jesus, and apparently a large gathering of Pharisees who had become believers.
These days, if some organization gets two or three guys together who have written books and gotten their name known, they’ll charge you hundreds of dollars to come to their city and hear these big names tell you what they know. In actuality, all they know, or think they know, is derived from what these early fathers left behind for them to learn from. In some cases, as we will see later, they deviate from what these great men determined to be true by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and we must be discerning.
I wonder how much folks would be willing to pay to be a fly on the wall at the Jerusalem council?
Now without the universal translators that they use on Star Trek imbedded in our heads we wouldn’t be able to understand a word they’re saying.
But just imagine that you could, or that you could hear the whole meeting in English. Wouldn’t that be amazing? You’d be witnessing possibly the most important meeting of the church there has ever been.
In recent weeks we’ve been studying the movement of the gospel through Samaria, the blossoming of the church in Antioch, spreading to Cyprus and then North to the various cities of Pisidia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia, going to the Gentiles as Jesus told His Apostles that it would, and later instructing Paul specifically to take the message to them.
It hasn’t been a joy ride, by any stretch of the imagination. Whenever God’s people determine to do God’s work in God’s way, the enemy will oppose that work. He won’t ultimately win, but he will stir up trouble and do his best to deceive and dissuade and discourage.
Nevertheless the spread of the gospel has been successful in those regions, churches have been started and the gentiles who have heard and responded to the call of God are rejoicing.
OPPOSITION FROM THE CHURCH
So as chapter 14 draws to a close Luke traces the steps of the evangelists back to Antioch. As they go, passing through Pisidia and Pamphylia and preaching in Perga and finally coming to Antioch, Luke says they
‘…began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles”.
That’s a tradition that still goes on in the church today, doesn’t it? Occasionally we have missionaries returning and visiting their home churches and maybe other churches that have been giving them support, and they’re given the floor for a worship service or two and they talk about the things the Lord has been doing in the place they serve.