Acts 15:7-9 “Proofs of life”
Jul 09 2018
Acts 15:7-9 “Proofs of life”
One of the challenges the early church faced was Gentile inclusion into the Church and whether that was to be by grace or by the law. Acts 15 tells us of the council that came together in Jerusalem to discuss. There were Three speakers that offered their testimony as to why grace and not the law is the sole basis for salvation.
a. Vs. 7b-11 First up is Peter, James will refer to him by his Jewish name Simon. But it was, as Peter will testify, him who God choose 10 years earlier to reach the first Gentile.
b. Vs. 12 Next up will be Paul and Barnabas listed in reverse order as to not offend the Jewish folks. They will testify of God’s work in reaching the gentiles.
c. Vs. 13-21 Lastly James the 1⁄2 brother of Jesus will testify to the validity of Peter and Paul’s experiences as supported by the Word of God.
Peter’s testimony is all they really needed as he states that there were three signs of life: 1. Vs. 7b GOD CHOOSE NOT MAN: Peter brings them all back to what happened 10 years ago with Cornelius; saying that they had no right to lay this trip on the Gentiles
when God did not do so with the first Gentile believer 10 years earlier. Peter says, “Hey, guys remember that it was God’s decision to grant salvation to Cornelius apart from circumcision and keeping the law.” The Judaizers were blaming Paul’s message but Peter says that God is the one that started it long before Paul! “New birth” is God’s sovereign act not man’s.
2. Vs. 8-9a HOLY SPIRIT PROOF OF LIFE: The proof of salvation was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit not the outward circumcision. Later Paul would say in Romans “he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Then in Philip. 3:3 Paul says, “we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Notice Peter’s words, “God made no distinction between us and them.” They, (Gentiles), received Jesus the same way the way of faith!
3. Vs. 9b CHANGED LIFE OUTWARD SIGN: The outward visible sign of salvation, Peter declares, is a “purified heart” not a circumcised private part. Since God had already cleansed their hearts of sins, seen in the way they were now living, what possibly could the law or circumcision add? They were purified “because” of their faith, not “before” their faith! Far too much of Christianity is trying to reform the sinner instead of seeing the sinner regenerated. One author put it this way, “We are called to be fishers of men but far too many Christians today are trying to clean the fish before they are caught.”
Saints, we all ought to be blessed that these truths were established early on in the church and we need to stay true to these truths!
This has been Pastor Dale, Blessings!