Acts 15

Aug 4, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment

1 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”


2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.

Where are they ?  they are in Antioch, Syria

3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.

Phoenicia is now Lebanon

4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.

5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”

note that we have pharisees among the believers … but they strong adherents to the law

6 ¶ The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.

7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

Peter is likely referring to his experience with the gentiles in Caesarea (Cornelius  from Acts 10)

8 “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us;

I think “giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us” was a needed testimony to the Apostles as to the gentiles.

(meaning the Apostles would not have accepted them otherwise)

9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

what yoke is Peter referring to ?

11 “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

Is he saying , that Jews cannot be saved through the law ?

If people cannot be saved through the law, then what is its purpose?

Gal 2:19-21

school master (Gal 3:24)

Matt. 5:17 ¶ “Do not think that I came to abolish the aLaw or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. [pleroo]

Matt. 5:18 “For truly I say to you, auntil heaven and earth pass away, not 1the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.[ginomai]

4444   [4137]   πληρόω, plēroō, v.  [root of: 405, 499, 1740, 1741, 4429, 4430, 4431, 4432, 4440, 4441, 4442, 4443, 4445, 4650, 5230, 5670]. to fulfill, make full; (pass.) to be filled, full, complete

How does Christ complete the law ?

  • brings it’s application to highest level (context of Matt 5 is the beatitudes)  (and “you have heard it said …” statements)
  • paid full penalty for breaking all laws by all people. (John 19:30)

1096. γίνομαι ginomai; from a prim. root γεν; to come into being, to happen, to become

I have not come to do away with the law but to complete it; not until the earth and heavens pass away will the tiniest detail of the law be done away with , until all that intended by the Father to be created is, in fact created.

Eph. 1:7 aIn 1Him we have bredemption cthrough His blood, the dforgiveness of our trespasses, according to ethe riches of His grace

Eph. 1:8 which He 1lavished on 2us. In all wisdom and insight

Eph. 1:9 He 1amade known to us the mystery of His will, baccording to His 2kind intention which He cpurposed in Him

Eph. 1:10 with a view to an administration 1suitable to athe fullness of the times, that is, bthe summing up of all things in Christ, things 2in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

Eph. 1:11 1also we 2ahave obtained an inheritance, having been bpredestined caccording to His purpose who works all things dafter the counsel of His will,

Eph. 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in 1Christ would be ato the praise of His glory.



12 ¶ All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.

James gets up and gives the final decision

14 “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.

Who is Simeon ?

15 “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 ¶ ‘AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, 








Amos 9:11 ¶  “In that day I will araise up the fallen 1bbooth of David,
And wall up its cbreaches;  I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the ddays of old;

Amos 9:12  aThat they may possess the remnant of bEdom
And all the 1nations who are ccalled by My name,”
Declares the LORD who does this.


19 ¶ “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

James calls “legalism” trouble

20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

if Peter and James agree that salvation is by faith alone, they why stipulate these four conditions ?

freedom should not be abused to be a stumbling block to others.

21 “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

22 ¶ Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas — Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,

23 and they sent this letter by them, 

“The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.

24 “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls,

25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.

28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:

29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 ¶ So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.

31 When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.

32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.

33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out.

34 [But it seemed good to Silas to remain there.]

there had to be more than these four otherwise they could not have sent “them” (since Silas, Paul, and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, only Barsabbas left and that would be a “him” not a “them”)

35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.

36 ¶ After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”

37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also.

38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.

39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

divided over “can Mark be depended upon”

(2 Tim 4:11 Paul later writes describing John Mark as someone useful to him for ministry)

40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

What’s up with this division over taking John Mark ?

(the church just handled the most divisive issue known to christians, “how to be saved” and came out of it with flying colors)

is this leadership style, personality difference, biblical doctrine issue ?

Is Paul right/wrong?

  • A type personality 
  • task oriented (what we get done is primary goal)
  • less forgiving
  • likely thinking
    • Mark is not ready for this level of ministry
    • His character flaws would be a bad testimony to these budding churches

is Barnabas right/wrong?

  • encourager (lets try again mentality)
  • what we learn is more important than what we do
  • likely thinking
    • Mark needs an opportunity to learn and grow
    • “anyone can make a mistake


Best way to handle conflict is

  • expect it
  • fight against disunity


Eph. 4:1 ¶ Therefore I, athe prisoner of the Lord, bimplore you to cwalk in a manner worthy of the dcalling with which you have been ecalled,

Eph. 4:2 with all ahumility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another bin love,

Eph. 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the abond of peace.

Eph. 4:4 There is aone body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one bhope of your calling;

Eph. 4:5 aone Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Eph. 4:6 one God and Father of all awho is over all and through all and in all.


Major take aways:

  • handling conflict
  • contending for unity in the body
  • convenant of the law ended when the new covenant was established
    • there are NOT two covenants running side by side to choose from
    • we place ourselves under law when we seek to earn something from God


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