Sabbath 9/14/13 Pastor Ken Table Fellowship Acts 15:13-29
Many call this the Jerusalem council that stated these principles to the Gentiles. The local church is autonomous-independent. Autonomous means self-sufficient and needs no one. Independent means to act on own but needs someone sometimes. This is like when a committed couple comes together independently, but they are together. Local churches are like this. The church at Antioch was being preached to by Paul and Barnabus and certain people were coming against the Antioch church. The Grace of God comes free to everyone and this is what Paul and Barnabus were preaching. Salvation comes free thru the Grace of God.
In verse 1 people came down saying it wasnít by Grace alone, but you had to become Jewish and keep the old covenant. It was decided that the Jerusalem council would associate with the Antioch church. Paul and Barnabus has stopped at each church on their tour and told of the Gentiles accepting Jesus. The people hearing this had rejoiced. In Jerusalem, when Paul was testifying of the Gentiles, the Pharisees which believed objected. The Pharisees said the Gentiles must keep the law and be circumcised. Peter had a problem with this position of forcing them to be circumcised. Peter reminded the council of how he had preached to Gentiles, preached to Cornelius. Peter said the Holy Spirit wants Gentiles to get salvation thru Grace and Faith. The gospel is not to be broken into little bits where people say unless you are this or you do that, you canít be saved. Salvation comes thru Grace. Not only if you belong to a certain church or read your bible everyday. Salvation comes thru Grace, Free to All!!
At this time, the Jews and Gentiles did not like each other. If they brushed up against each other, they would feel defiled and go home to wash up. They, like us, need to have table fellowship with each other. No matter what culture we come from, we should have table fellowship as long as we are both believers. The Jerusalem council decided that there were four things that the Gentiles could not do:
1. Donít eat blood
2. Donít eat strangled food. Animals that were strangled and not been given mercy.
3. Donít eat things that were sacrificed to idols.
4. Donít commit sexual sin=fornications.
Doing these things showed that you were not really a Christian and canít have table fellowship with other Christians. The Jerusalem council prayed to God and then put all this in a letter and sent it to the Antioch church with Paul and Barnabus. The Holy Spirit had told them to tell the church that Grace thru Faith in Jesus Christ is enough! Faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Grace thru Faith leads to Salvation! We all need to live in Grace thru Faith.
God is Good !!