The First Church Council

Aug 28, 2022 • Mike Hubbard • Series: To Be Continued…

The theological question addressed in Acts 15 was not a small one. God had revealed Himself to the Jews and gave them the Law, and this God also sent Jesus (a Jewish man) into the world to save people. So, shouldn't these new Gentile (non-Jewish) followers of Jesus be required to obey the Law and join the Old Testament covenantal people through circumcision? Of course, this is a big ask, and add on to this, is giving up bacon. This chapter is one of the benchmark moments, not just in Acts, but in all of church history. On one hand, it was important to stay faithful to the Scriptures. On the other hand, Paul and Barnabas's mission led to the conversion of a large number of people from the nations believing in Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit without circumcision and adherence to the Law. The Apostles and Elders of the early church, including Paul, Barnabas, and James the brother of Jesus, come together to wrestle with this question through the lens of Scripture and, with the help of the Spirit, come to a settled position. In this instance, the great doctrine that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone wins the day. But this story also gave the church a model to follow for centuries as it had to deal with multiple theological questions and even heresies. This morning we will look at an event called the First Church Council and we will find that the core doctrines of our faith are very important.

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