Summary: Paul’s ministry is received by James, Cephas and John, and he is accepted as an equal partner in the ministry of Christ.
“Jerusalem Council cont.”
• Vs. 6 “These who seemed to be somewhat” is also translated those who were of high reputation, that is the other Apostles.
o Why is Paul seemingly using a negative description of the other apostles?
o Also in vs. 9 “who seemed to be pillars”
o Paul was using the terms that the Judaizers were using against him, that he was either a lesser apostle or not one at all (being sarcastic).
• Again Paul was not looking to the Apostles for their approval or correction of the message he was preaching (that salvation was also for the Gentiles free and without works).
• Paul understood that all men, even the apostles, were all sinners saved by grace, lest any man should boast; and therefore all were equals because of God’s grace.
• Vv. 7-8 Despite the taunts of this other group, the other apostles recognized Paul not only as an apostle, but as an equal.
o Note: There were not two gospels: better said “gospel to the un-circumcision and circumcision” only the audience changed, not the gospel.
• “He” in vs. 8 is speaking of the Holy Spirit; the same Spirit of God that empowered Peter to preach to his Jewish brothers and sisters was the same Spirit that empowered Paul to preach to the Gentiles.
• Vs. 9 This was a common public gesture of unity, even though they sought to reach different people groups in different parts of the world, they were unified over the gospel of Jesus Christ
o Its all about getting the gospel right: that is how we be in unity with other denominations, as long as we get the gospel right!
• Vs. 10 The saints in the church at Jerusalem were suffering and struggling to meet even the basic needs of life.
o Salvation of Jewish pilgrims who then stayed in Jerusalem.
• Which Paul was doing already (Acts 11) and was eager to keep on doing.
• Vs. 11 “The Clash”
o Paul confronted Peter personally because Peter was wrong and sinful in his actions.
o Matthew 18:15 – the importance of doing it right
• Vs. 12 “The Cause”
o Peter was acting like a hypocrite;
o Eating and having fellowship with the Gentiles over a long period of time.
o Then these Jewish Christians, claiming to be from James, show up and Peter stops. claim to be from James (Acts 15:24)
o The worse part is that Peter did it out of fear.
• Vs. 13 “The Consequences”
o Not only Peter but others followed his lead, including Barnabas.
• Barnabas was a pastor of this church.
• A friend of and companion of Paul.
• He had preached to the Gentiles with Paul.
o Those following Peter was bad enough, but think how those Gentile Christians felt now.
o That is how our sin can have a ripple effect beyond our own lives.
• All this happened because Peter was afraid of a confrontation with a group of men who he knew to be wrong.
o How often do we bend over backwards to appease this world in order to avoid confrontation?
• Read our Bibles in public.
• Pray at school, work, or in a restaurant.
• Talk openly about Jesus Christ.