November 24, 2019

An Attack from Within

Preacher:
Series:
Passage: Acts 15:1-22, Psalm 133:1-3
Service Type:

Bible Text: Acts 15:1-22, Psalm 133:1-3 | Preacher: Andrew Love | Series: Acts | Introduction

Many people have turned to the Lord and be saved
First missionary journey – many were saved

Began in Cyprus, then Galatia

First Paul and Barnabas, then Silas
They faced persecution but the church grew

Acts 14:27 – returned to their sending church and reported all that God had done
Satan was active

Physical persecution – an attack from without
He seeks an attack from within
Quote from John Calvin

A terrible division
A terrible witness

Certain men from Judea come from Antioch to trouble the church

Categorically preached circumcision

Overview:

Where the trouble came from
What was the trouble?
How that trouble was overcome

Where the trouble came from

Rumours had spread about Paul and Barnabas

The people of Judea were hearing and were not accepting
They decided to go to Antioch to refute Paul and Barnabas
Consider what was written about both apostles – still these
Judiasers have no respect for them

Gal 2:11-12ff a parallel passage

Paul feels the matter was not initially resolved
Paul believes he needs to go to the apostles in Jerusalem to sort it out

Part of the sect of the Pharisees who believed …

… but they still insist upon their Jewish traditions
Quote from Matthew Henry
Paul had no problem with people following custom – cf 16:3

But only when it was imposed on people
Only when it was considered a requirement of salvation

People from Jerusalem

The sect of the Pharisees
Hardline
Those who have lost respect for the men of God
Quote from Calvin

Godly wisdom builds up
We must not ‘major’ on ‘minors’
We must concentrate on the central truths that unite us

The people were really causing trouble in the church (v2)

What was the trouble?

A big matter – a matter of gospel truth

They could not back down
Fundamental questions and issues – examples
It had to be dealt with by the apostles and elders

Elders are called to be those who exhort those who contradict

History shows that many Christians have had to stand for matters of truth – examples
Big matters must be defended
The gospel must be defended

How that trouble was overcome

They go to the mother church

Not to a higher authority but the apostles and elders
Smaller churches can employ the same

Are we willing to seek help?

No undue delay – to get it sorted swiftly

A number of people go straight to Jerusalem
Leaving problems can cause regrets

Not consumed by the problem (v3)

They share with the brethren on their return journey what God is doing
They report what God is doing when they are received by the church in Jerusalem
This is a lesson for us

They seek to resolve the matter at leadership levels (v6)

Representatives at this meeting
A ‘Jerusalem council’ meeting

They allow people to speak (v7)

They don’t shut down debate

Three people speak – Peter, Paul & Barnabas and James

Peter

Speaks of the salvation of Gentiles

Acts 11:18
He brings a second report
Acts 15:7-11

They were purified by faith
We are saved by faith

Paul & Barnabas

Don’t say very much
Do speak of the miracles done amongst the Gentiles

James

The people had become silent – the Spirit is working
Confirms what Peter says and how this accords with Scripture (Amos)

That God will build up a spiritual temple and the Gentiles would be part of this

We ought not to trouble – not an accusation
Gives 4 areas of practical advice – abstain from:

Things polluted from idols – cf Corinthians
Sexual immorality – the Gentile world was full of perverse sexual practice
Strangled things
Blood

Gives a reason – the Jews have been engrained in one view throughout the generations

Be careful not to offend our Jewish brethren

All are in agreement (v22)

The Spirit of God has led them
They write an official letter – to be carried by Paul & Barnabas but also Judas & Silas

Recap

Closing Remarks

We need courage to withstand internal attacks

The people had such clout – Paul and Barnabas would not be intimidated

We need to know when to forgo our rights
We must pray for wisdom to know what practical steps we must take under God
We must search our own hearts to ensure we are preserving the unity of God

Introduction

  • Many people have turned to the Lord and be saved
  • First missionary journey - many were saved
    • Began in Cyprus, then Galatia
    • First Paul and Barnabas, then Silas
    • They faced persecution but the church grew
  • Acts 14:27 - returned to their sending church and reported all that God had done
  • Satan was active
    • Physical persecution - an attack from without
    • He seeks an attack from within
    • Quote from John Calvin
      • A terrible division
      • A terrible witness
  • Certain men from Judea come from Antioch to trouble the church
    • Categorically preached circumcision
  • Overview:
    • Where the trouble came from
    • What was the trouble?
    • How that trouble was overcome

Where the trouble came from

  • Rumours had spread about Paul and Barnabas
    • The people of Judea were hearing and were not accepting
    • They decided to go to Antioch to refute Paul and Barnabas
    • Consider what was written about both apostles - still these
      Judiasers have no respect for them
  • Gal 2:11-12ff a parallel passage
    • Paul feels the matter was not initially resolved
    • Paul believes he needs to go to the apostles in Jerusalem to sort it out
  • Part of the sect of the Pharisees who believed ...
    • ... but they still insist upon their Jewish traditions
    • Quote from Matthew Henry
    • Paul had no problem with people following custom - cf 16:3
      • But only when it was imposed on people
      • Only when it was considered a requirement of salvation
  • People from Jerusalem
    • The sect of the Pharisees
    • Hardline
    • Those who have lost respect for the men of God
    • Quote from Calvin
      • Godly wisdom builds up
      • We must not 'major' on 'minors'
      • We must concentrate on the central truths that unite us
    • The people were really causing trouble in the church (v2)

What was the trouble?

  • A big matter - a matter of gospel truth
    • They could not back down
    • Fundamental questions and issues - examples
    • It had to be dealt with by the apostles and elders
      • Elders are called to be those who exhort those who contradict
    • History shows that many Christians have had to stand for matters of truth - examples
    • Big matters must be defended
    • The gospel must be defended

How that trouble was overcome

  • They go to the mother church
    • Not to a higher authority but the apostles and elders
    • Smaller churches can employ the same
      • Are we willing to seek help?
  • No undue delay - to get it sorted swiftly
    • A number of people go straight to Jerusalem
    • Leaving problems can cause regrets
  • Not consumed by the problem (v3)
    • They share with the brethren on their return journey what God is doing
    • They report what God is doing when they are received by the church in Jerusalem
    • This is a lesson for us
  • They seek to resolve the matter at leadership levels (v6)
    • Representatives at this meeting
    • A 'Jerusalem council' meeting
  • They allow people to speak (v7)
    • They don't shut down debate
  • Three people speak - Peter, Paul & Barnabas and James
    • Peter
      • Speaks of the salvation of Gentiles
      • Acts 11:18
      • He brings a second report
      • Acts 15:7-11
        • They were purified by faith
        • We are saved by faith
    • Paul & Barnabas
      • Don't say very much
      • Do speak of the miracles done amongst the Gentiles
    • James
      • The people had become silent - the Spirit is working
      • Confirms what Peter says and how this accords with Scripture (Amos)
        • That God will build up a spiritual temple and the Gentiles would be part of this
      • We ought not to trouble - not an accusation
      • Gives 4 areas of practical advice - abstain from:
        • Things polluted from idols - cf Corinthians
        • Sexual immorality - the Gentile world was full of perverse sexual practice
        • Strangled things
        • Blood
      • Gives a reason - the Jews have been engrained in one view throughout the generations
        • Be careful not to offend our Jewish brethren
  • All are in agreement (v22)
    • The Spirit of God has led them
    • They write an official letter - to be carried by Paul & Barnabas but also Judas & Silas
  • Recap

Closing Remarks

  • We need courage to withstand internal attacks
    • The people had such clout - Paul and Barnabas would not be intimidated
  • We need to know when to forgo our rights
  • We must pray for wisdom to know what practical steps we must take under God
  • We must search our own hearts to ensure we are preserving the unity of God