#carmelprays – Acts 15:22-35
Opening Song: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Read Scripture: Acts 15:22-35
After the council’s discussion, the apostles and elders begin to select leaders who will accompany Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. The mission that these men are charged with is to report the important findings of the council in 15:1-21. These men brought with them an important letter (v23-29).
This letter begins with acknowledging that false teachings have proven both disturbing and troubling to the Gentile church (v24). The apostles and elders are aware of the impact that this has had on the Gentile believers and provide a solution. They choose to send the beloved Barnabas and Paul, along with other representatives to the Gentile churches to inform them of the comforting decision that the council has made. Notably, Barnabas and Paul are identified as men who have risked their lives for the name of Jesus Christ (v26).
When the men arrive at Antioch, they gather the church and deliver the letter and the decision of the council. The Gentiles are not under the Law and receive salvation freely in Christ. This brings the Gentile church much gladness and peace (v31-33). Here we have a picture of what it is like to be free from the Law. When we see that our salvation is not contingent on our works, but the work of Christ alone, we should rejoice.
This passage challenges us to be devoted to caring for others. First, the apostles, elders, Paul and Barnabas were aware of the trouble that the Gentile believers faced. Are we aware of the struggles that others are going through? Do we regularly ask how others are doing in this trying time? We cannot effectively care for others if we do not know what they are going through. We should model ourselves after the early church, which was well aware of the struggles that church members were going through.
Second, the apostles, elders, Paul and Barnabas spoke truth that was rooted in Scripture to struggling believers. This made these struggling believers glad. Are you speaking biblical truth into the lives of others? Or are you instead just prescribing your own views to them? Do you recognise the value that biblical truth has? The early church leaders challenge us to rely on Scripture, especially in encouraging others.
Lastly, do you rejoice in the fact that you have been saved by grace alone? Does salvation through Christ bring you joy? Does the gospel bring you peace? In a difficult time where our joy is often robbed and our peace often disturbed, come back to the Gospel of Jesus. The Gospel will bring joy to your days and peace to your hearts.
Pray in Response
Good and gracious God, I confess that I am prone to living selfishly. Very often I live for myself and I disregard the struggles of others. I pray that You help me to desire to help others. Help me to be less selfish and to be more like Christ. Help me to reach out to fellow believers, especially those who are struggling.
I also pray that I counsel others using the Scripture. Help me to see the great value of the Bible. Teach me to refrain from forcing my own ideas on others. Instead, fill me with Your Word so that the advice that I give is biblical and Spirit-led. Amen.
Response Song: Ancient Words
By Darren Sim