(Part 29)


May 19, 2017

Today’s reading:  Acts 15:22-31

The early Church was beset by her own challenges. There were Christian missionaries not mandated by the top leadership that upset Christian communities with their teachings and thus disturbed their peace of mind (v.24). So the apostles and presbyters sent them a letter that said, “It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us ….” (v.28a).

Wow. Such boldness and confidence in claiming the stamp of approval by the Holy Spirit. How could the top leadership of the early Church claim such?

First, because they were united. They were of “one accord” (v.25a). They were prayerful and Spirit-filled servant leaders who agreed on the course of action. They conducted their discussion with fraternal love and pastoral concern for the flock. They were united as the top leadership of the Church, discussing the problem together and making the decision together. “Then the apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.” (v.22a).

Remember that a favorite and very successful work of the enemy is division within the Christian body. Thus the top leadership should strive hard for unity of mind and heart. In turn, those under them should respect and be submitted to their authority and anointing.

Second, because they were living their lives in Christ. They had “dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.26). They were dedicated servants, centered on Christ, who only looked to the interests of Christ. They did everything in his name, that is, in accordance with his will and his ways. They prayed and they meditated on the scriptures and the words of Jesus, and they knew and lived out the authentic gospel as taught by their Master and Lord.

One proof that their bold claim was true was in the fruit of their message to the Antioch community. “When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.” (v.31). Indeed the Holy Spirit had spoken through His chosen instruments.

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