Do you often feel unable to live up to the expectations of other Christians? Ask God to speak about this as you read.
Read Acts 15:22-35
 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers.  With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.  We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.  So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul-  men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.  So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.  The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.  Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.  After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.   But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat impact did this letter have in Antioch?
Three times these church leaders—Peter (11), James (19) and the whole church leadership in Jerusalem (28)—stress their unwillingness to place a burden upon Gentile Christians by imposing demanding rules for living. They send four men to the believers in Antioch to reassure them of this, emphasizing that it is the Holy Spirit who has guided them to require just four “rules” (29). The messengers come from different perspectives. Paul and Barnabas have come from Antioch (2); the two prophets, representing the Jerusalem church, are Silas, later to travel with Paul (40), and Judas Barsabbas, possibly the brother of one of the candidates to be the twelfth apostle (1:23). Does this say something about their care of the Gentile Christians? This debate is no blueprint for the resolution of conflicts nor for deciding what is reasonable to expect from others. However, the letter containing these rules and the encouragement from the four messengers are well received (31), suggesting that the desire to affirm and welcome Gentile believers has been successfully conveyed. The crisis is resolved. Growth can continue.
Pray for any situations you know of where Christians are in disagreement or are placing unreasonable demands on others.
Lord, You want all people to come to You, so help me not to put any obstacles in their way.
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