Summary: The first Jerusalem Council met to decide on the issues raised by the early Christians. Certain problems have to be discussed, argued, and finalized with the help of the Holy Spirit. Know further by reading through this sermon.
Acts 15:1-20 Jerusalem Council on Gentiles Conversion
15:01-05 Issues of Circumcision
15:06-12 Peter stood for Grace
15:13- 21 Ruling of James on Circumcision
Acts 15:01-05 Issues of Circumcision
This passage explains ceremonialism emphasized by few Jewish Christians. The descendants of Abraham had the value for the rites of circumcision. They had high for this ceremony. Because it was their peculiar identity as a chosen generation, Jews couldn’t compromise this sign of God. It was affirmed and made mandatory by Moses. Therefore, now how to do away with this spiritual and medical importance. The Jewish believers want to impose this act of ceremony on the new converts from the Gentile world. Paul and Barnabas, the apostles of the Gentile, could not digest this new system imposed on the new converts from Non-Jewish backgrounds. They argued and proved that there is no need for circumcision because all are saved through the grace of God and not by works.
Acts 15:06-12 Peter stood for grace.
Peter identified with Paul and Barnabas in this issue. Peter had witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Gentiles at the house of Cornelius at Caesarea. He knew it by the revelation that God has cleansed and purified all races and classes by His precious blood. Peter stood for grace and faith. He felt that imposing the Circumcision on Gentiles would be like keeping Yoke upon their necks. It would be an unbearable and controversial issue for the growth of the Gospels and the Kingdom of God. The author of the Book of Acts confirms that teams led by Paul and Peter had an agreement on the issue of circumcision. It is good to stand for the Truth and what we are assured of and known. We shouldn’t afraid of people who are not standing for Truth. There were occasions Paul condemned Peter for not standing for the conviction and taking the compromising positions. However, here both of them stood for the growth of the Church.
Acts 15:13- 21 Ruling of James on Circumcision
Apostle James was the leader of the council which met at Jerusalem. He was a mature leader of his days. Believers and leaders of the Church constituted a council to deal with day-to-day issues and controversies. It seems that it was parallel Church governance has come into effect. There was Sanhedrin to deal with all their spiritual problems. Apostle James gave a judgment after careful listening of the arguments put forth with shreds of evidence and presentations of all. He was an excellent Chairman to keep the assembly in silent mode. Finally, he gave his written order for circulation among the new believers. Four things had given as order to the new believers: To abstain from food polluted by Idols, to keep away from sexual immorality, from the meat strangled animals and blood. These are followed from the days of Moses and read in all the Synagogues on every Sabbath. They had established a relationship with the scriptures and the Gospel.
1. What are the issues in our churches today that hinder the growth of the New Converts?
2. How can we defend new converts for their spiritual growth?
3. Is the judgment of Apostle James relevant for today?
4. Discuss the chairmanship of Apostle James.
(For further studies, kindly refer to the Acts of the Apostles on this website)