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January | January 15, 2020
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
In our last visit we discussed the heated blow up Paul and Barnabas had as they contemplated a second missionary trip. I suggested, had they followed the pattern seen in the first church council in Jerusalem things might have ended more peaceably.
Acts 15 begins with Paul and Barnabas disputing with some who demanded all new converts submit to Jewish customs. They debated the issue prior to the church council. The council began with discussing the issue, followed by leaders describing what God did through them and how He blessed the Gentiles with the Holy Spirit like He had the Jewish believers.
After the presentations by first hand witnesses, James, who chaired the council, discerned that, “The words of the prophets are in agreement with” what had been described. After quoting the prophets he continued, “It is my judgment, therefore,” to make a recommendation. The council decided to accept the recommendation and chose representatives to distribute to all churches comprised of Gentile and some Jewish believers a letter that explained their decision. It declared: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” to share with you our decision. The outcome was amazing: “The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.” Oh, that all disputes would end this way!
Note the process: dispute, debate, discuss, describe, discern, decide and distribute the decision. Had they gone to the church first Barnabas and Paul’s dispute might have been resolved peaceably and both been blessed by the church.