Living To See Others Grow
Father God, continue graciously to help me as I read Your Word, so that I can grow in wisdom and obedience.
Read Acts 15:12-21
 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.  When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.  Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.  The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:  “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it,  that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’-  things known from long ago.  “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.  Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.  For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat did the council finally decide, and on what basis?
Yesterday we learned that the role of circumcision has been replaced by the giving of the Holy Spirit as God’s defining marker of his chosen people. As definitions shift, the Jerusalem Council must wrestle with the question of lifestyle. The rules they advocate sound strange to our ears (20). Why is avoiding the meat of strangled animals on a par with sexual immorality? Theologian Darrell Bock states: “The limitations are probably to keep relations from becoming strained in a mixed community of Jews and Gentiles, as well as to warn about association with idolatry. It is quite likely that the prohibition relates especially to attending pagan temples and what goes with them” (Darrell L. Bock, Acts). Bock is suggesting that the rules are there to avoid disunity and confusion within the church family. The same challenge of disunity and confusion can face us nowadays. Paul reminds us that it is important to avoid actions that damage the faith of others (1 Cor. 8:9-13). Let’s be those who live in such a way that we enable our brothers and sisters in Christ to see Jesus in us.
Read 1 Corinthians 8:9-13. Ask God to remind you of any ways in which your behavior could be a stumbling block to others.
Lord Jesus, I need the insight to live in ways that promote unity within Your body and help others grow in their faith.
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