Summary: We need to be Mature Christians!


Dr. Dennis Deese - Fan The Flame Ministries, Inc.

ACTS 15:1- 35

God has recorded for us what I believe to be one of the most critical moments in the history of the church. The exciting thing about it is that while it begins with dissension (15:1-2) it ends with a joyful celebration (15:30-31). How? This recorded event could have been the most destructive moment in church history but it wasn’t! What happen? What made the difference between the beginning of the chapter and the end of the chapter?

There are three underlying marks of mature Christianity that are the strengthening agents that made the difference in this chapter. It was the Christian Maturity of Paul, Barnabas, James, Peter and many others in the church that God used to defeat the plot of Satan.

It should be our goal to develop these areas in our Christian life in order to successfully defeat the ploys and intentions of Satan against us and the church.

What are the strengthening marks of a mature believer?

I. CONFIDENCE 15:1-18 (in the adequacy of salvation by grace through faith alone)

"Dissension:" (15:2): 4714 stasis {stas’-is} from the base of 2476; histemi {his’-tay-mee} To cause or make to stand, to place, put, set

to make firm, fix, establish, to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything, stand still, to stand immovable, to be of a steadfast mind, one who does not hesitate, does not waiver

"Disputation" (15:2): 4803 suzetesis {sood-zay’-tay-sis} AV - disputation 1, disputing 1, reasoning 1; 3

A mutual questioning, disputation, discussion.

The reason we need to be certain about our salvation (that is know what we believe and why we believe what we believe) is because there has always and will always be false teachers.

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (2 Peter 2:1-2)

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." ( Mt 7:15)

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:18)

These were self-appointed guardians of legalism. They believed that Judaism was the gateway to Christianity and they resented the gentiles as equals who came out of pagan backgrounds. They taught that Jesus was not enough. Thus, a church council meeting was called first at Antioch and then at Jerusalem. It was a head to head confrontation led by Peter, Paul, Barnabas and James between the church and the legalist Judaizers.

The issue was how do you get saved? This is still the issue today!

The reason these believers were so confident is because they had proof that attested to salvation by grace alone. What was the evidence they shared.

A. The Conversion of the Gentiles 15:3-4; 7 (See Acts 10:34-35, 43)

"Conversion" (15:3): 1995 epistrophe {ep-is-trof-ay’}: Transitively to turn to, to the worship of the true God, conversion (of the Gentiles from idolatry to the true God) A word of transition and change.

It was the work of God (15:4) breaking down the strongholds of idolatry and preparing their hearts to be receptive. (See Ephesians 3:6-8 & Galatians 2:- 8*)

"For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:" (Ga 2:8)

B. The Gift of the Holy Spirit 15:8 (SEE Acts 10:44-45; 11:15-17)

By bestowing upon them not only the regenerating and sanctifying grace of the Spirit; but his extraordinary person and gifts

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Ro 8:9)

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Gal 4:6)

"And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (I John 3:24)

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (I John 4:4)

C. The Universal love of God 15:9 (SEE John 3:16)

"Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" (Romans 3:22-24)

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