Summary: Grace is available to everyone,just believe
Paul preached last week from Acts 14 which was such an awesome message
After the Lord used Paul and Barnabus to perform a miracle the people wanted to worship them
When the Apostles told them not to worship but worship Christ, some Jews turned the crowds away from them
The result of this was that the crowd then turned and stoned them
It is evident that the Christian walk is not an easy one, but praise God for we have Jesus on our side
No matter the circumstance or situation, Christ is always with us to the end
What matters is how we perceive and move forward in the midst of those situations
Do we get discouraged or encouraged?
This morning we turn our focus to ACTS 15, and the title of my message is LIVING UNDER GRACE
I have chosen that title because our walk with Christ is a walk of grace
It is the grace of God that keeps us going and motivated
We need to live under this amazing grace of the Lord everyday not just when things are going bad
If Christ is for us who can be against us?
In this chapter we have a situation where there are some people who are trying to impose certain laws on the gentile believers
Basically this is what is going on:
• Some church members from Jerusalem came without authority and started teaching a different gospel
• Paul and Barnabus confront them on this and the word says they had a sharp dispute. Now just to point out, we are not called to have fights or quarrels about doctrine, but we are called to defend the cause of the gospel. That’s exactly what Paul and Barnabus are doing.
• A decision is taken to take this matter to the Jerusalem council comprising of the Apostles.
• A decision is made after much deliberation and the gentile believers are sent a letter
• This letter is not laws that were given to them, but for them to respect their fellow brothers in Christ.
This morning i just want to touch on 2 points:
• LIVING UNDER LAW
• LIVING UNDER GRACE
a. LIVING UNDER LAW
It’s quite clear what these Jewish Christians were trying to do
They were enforcing a law onto their gentile brothers
What they were basically saying to them is, “If you want to be saved then you have to be circumcised as well”. You can’t just accept Jesus and think that you’re saved; you have to go through this final step.
Now this was even a law that was given, this was a covenant that God had made with Abraham in Genesis 17: 9-14.
Now a covenant is basically an agreement between two people, they both agree on something that is both settled in their hearts
The agreement was that every child born must be circumcised on the 8th day as a sign of this agreement between God and Abraham
This act was a sign and an act of obedience to what was agreed upon
The circumcision in itself didn’t save any of them, but it was a mark of obedience on the elders, committing their children unto the Lord
Later on we see that God institute Laws upon His people through Moses in Exodus 20
As we know that God gave them 10 commands to follow, but as usual man decided to add to these laws and they ended up with approximately 600 laws by the time they were done
The lord gave them these with the full knowledge that they will not be able to uphold these 10 laws, let alone the further 600.
Gods plan was that the people would eventually realise that these laws are too hard to live up to and turn to God and rely on His hand and help. But that didn’t happen
Now here in Acts 15, we have a group of men who have taken a covenant and made it into a law
By them doing this they brought confusion to the gentile believers, because now they are wondering are they really saved or not
This is what the law does, it bring confusion to us
Following the law makes us focus on trying to fulfil it and our eyes lose the focus of grace
Do we need to follow the law? NO. Is the law bad then? NO
It was the law which made us conscious of our sin, but it was Christ who has set us free
Some may say, but we need just a little bit of law, i answer NO we don’t
The bible says that if you want to follow the law, by all means do so, but you need to abide to all its requirements
It becomes tiring and it demotivates you