The Jerusalem Decree

Acts 15:22–35 (NKJV)

22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.
23 They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment—25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who 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 necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell

Acts 15:22-29

After the Jerusalem Council came to agreement on the basic requirements of Gentile Christians, they composed this letter to instruct them and verify that the “home church” was firmly behind them in their conversion and Christian life. This was a watershed moment for the church, for Gentiles could have retreated from the gospel if given too harsh requirements to be a part of the body of Christ. While they were given basic requirements, the leaders knew that eventually the Gentiles would find a place of holiness, being led by the Holy Spirit.

30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. 33 And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.
34 However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. 35 Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts 15:30-35

Upon their arrival back in Antioch of Syria, the Northern headquarters of the church, they read the letter to the brethren amid much rejoicing. Judas and Silas preached for a time in Antioch, and then Judas returned to Jerusalem, with Silas staying in Antioch. So the trio of Paul, Barnabus, and Silas preached and taught in Antioch for some time.

This example of the success of the Jerusalem Council demonstrates how, when the church hears from the Holy Spirit and responds in unity, the people of God can do amazing things. Too often we see division and discord in the modern church. In truth, it is necessary to put personal agendas aside and submit to Scripture and the Spirit when determining direction for the church of God. Hear His voice, in print and in spirit, and follow His leadership. Success and revival will ensure!

Artwork from Foundations of My Faith: The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

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