Summary: Because of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness you are free from 3 things: the letter of the Law, legalism of men, lusts of this world. (Acts 15:22-29)

Freedom Because of Christ

Acts 15:22-29


Church this morning is a little different; but sometimes different is good

-- Sometimes we need to knock the dust and do something new

-- The same old becomes a routine; and this morning is def not routine

This passage is a great encouragement to the church in moving forward

-- IMP: When the Gospel is preached the resistance is ALWAYS strong

The Christian brothers and sisters at Antioch had good reason to rejoice

-- They had been at the center of a great controversy; and stood firm in it

-- The controversy? Answering, “What must we do to be saved?”

The “church” wanted to set standards for Gentiles who accepted Jesus

-- But after debate, discussion, and prayer, they came to the right conclusion

-- Therefore, we see a letter sent declaring the freedom of all Believers in Christ

They were not made free because of the letter; but ONLY because of Jesus

-- Jesus died on the cross. Jesus was raised from the God. Jesus is Savior!

-- We must (if necessary) remind ourselves daily of this important fact

-- There is a God … I (we) are not Him.

Because of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness you are free from 3 things

Read Acts 15:22-29

The first thing they were freed from is …

Point 1 – The Letter of the Law (v24)

The Law is not a bad thing; it provided holiness and structure

-- The Law gave followers a standard to be measured up against in living

-- The problem is that no one could keep it except for Jesus.

Romans shows the letter of the law is what proves us guilty

-- Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”

However; because of God’s grace we are no longer bound by the letter of the Law

-- Romans 3:28, “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”

We are now under grace; GRACE being the most important thing

-- When we die, it is grace that we will proclaim; grace that we must cling to now

-- Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The spirit of the law is what we are to live by through the power of the Holy Spirit.

TRANS: The second thing is IMO the most deadly obstacle we face today

Point 2 – Legalism of Men (v28)

We discussed that the Law is not a bad thing; but men certainly make it that way

Legalism defined: Excessive adherence to law or formula; Dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith

Legalism is NOT the result of the Law; but of man’s SIN to control everything

-- It is man’s self-righteousness imposed on others that is reared here

Even true believers can be legalistic. We are instructed, rather, to be gracious to one another: Romans 14:1, “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters”

To avoid falling into the trap of legalism, we can start by holding fast to the words of the apostle John:

-- John 1:17, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”

We must remember to be gracious, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ -- Romans 14:4, “Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand”

The Jews had lived under legalism for so long they were oblivious to it

-- This is the danger of falling into ruts and becoming complacent

-- Complacency can kill a church in minutes if we aren’t careful

Peter rightly pointed out back in v10 that this was self-righteousness at its core

The letter sent to the church at Antioch stands in contrast to this as shown in v28

TRANS: Third, we are to escape what holds us captive here …

Point 3 – Lusts of this World (v29)

The church at Jerusalem wisely exhorted the church at Antioch to live moral lives

-- Gentile converts (often from pagan backgrounds) regularly practiced v29

To do these things, while culturally ok, was to sin against God and His Law

-- Believers are to stand firm and NOT be involved in things that discredit God

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