Summary: Grace on trial.. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Dealing with tradition

Reading: Acts chapter 15 verse 1-35


A very poor holy man lived in a remote part of China.

• Every day before his time of meditation in order to show his devotion,

• He put a dish of butter up on the window sill as an offering to God,

• One day his cat came in and ate the butter.

• So to remedy this,

• He began tying the cat to the bedpost each day before the quiet time.

• This man became a well known who was revered for his piety;

• So much so that soon others joined him and became his disciples;

• And worshipped as he did.

• Generations later, long after the holy man was dead,

• His followers placed an offering of butter on the window sill during their time of prayer.

• Furthermore, each disciple went out and bought a cat;

• In order to tie it to the bedpost!

Question: What is tradition?

Answer: "That which is handed down from generation to generation."

• Traditions can be both good and bad;

• Often they can provide a sense of stability and normalcy


• At the Tower of London every afternoon at exactly 4:00 PM;

• There is a traditional ceremony that takes place.

• The Beefeaters, British royalty’s ceremonial guards,

• Come out of the tower and feed the raven on the front lawn.

• There is a legend that says;

• As long as the ravens are fed, London would never fall to her enemies.

• During WW 2, when London was being bombed by the German Luftwaffe,

• The ravens were frightened away.

• Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a secret order to the Beefeaters;

• He told them to secretly clip the wings of the remaining ravens so they couldn’t fly.

• Question: Why?

• Answer: To provide a sense of stability and normalcy to Londoners in a troubled time.

I guess we like traditions:

• But often they can provide a sense of permanence, a solid standard.

• Most of us like the familiar, the norm.

• Ill: How many of you always try to sit in the seat that you are now in?

• So some traditions can be good, but some traditions can also be bad;


• In our culture arranged marriages are deemed to be wrong!

• We have grown up with the tradition that male & female are free to find their own partner.

• But to many people around the world (large groups in this country);

• Arranged marriages are the norm! It’s their tradition!

• So traditions can be both good and bad;

• Because often they can provide a sense of permanence a solid standard.

In Acts chapter 15 we face a conflict:

• A conflict of ideas, the old and the new.

• Do we stick to what we have always known (tradition) or do we accept new ways!


• In 1786,

• William Carey a shoemaker/pastor from Northamptonshire,

• Was burdened by the needs of the worlds people,

• He stood before a counsel of representatives at a ministerial meeting in Northampton,

• He explained his burden to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.

• He was rebuked by the eminent Dr. Ryland who said to him,

• "Young man, sit &down! When God pleases to convert the heathen,

• He will do it without your aid or mine!"

• Carey refused to accept that advice and so he followed his heart and his Bible,

• And the rest, as they say is history.

• William Carey has been called the ‘Father of modem missions’.

• He initiated the modem missionary movement as we know it today.

Long before William Carey, Paul and his associates faced this same challenge:

• This time it was not in Northamptonshire, England.

• But Jerusalem, Israel.

• Not in 1786,

• But about 2,020BC – about 20 years after Pentecost, the birthday of the Church (Acts 2).

• And Paul and his associates like William Carey, would have to be courageous,

• To defend both the truth of the Gospel and the missionary outreach of the church.


• Paul and Barnabas have arrived back at Antioch after their first missionary journey.

• They have reported to the church how God has been working through them.

• So far so good!

• Everyone can rejoice with the news of conversions!

• Well…..almost everyone;

• Verses 1-5 tells us of those who could not!

(1). The dispute (vs 1 & 5):

“Certain individuals came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Being Content
PowerPoint Template
PowerPoint Template
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion