Four early leaders of Christ's body are highlighted in Acts 15. They are true men of greatness in the eyes of God. Acts is about Jesus, the Holy Spirit and what it means to be great in God's kingdom. Therefore, we should look to these faithful servants when considering what it means to be great.
Paul, Barnabas, Peter and James come forth in this pivotal moment to decide which road the teachings of Christ will take. Will followers find salvation from sin and reconciliation with God along the path of Moses and circumcision, as they previously had, or will they now look directly to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, these men set aside time to discuss and give testimony to which road the Gentiles must take in their faith in God. Jewish believers in Christ continue on both paths as one. They keep the Law of Moses, but their hearts are with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, purified by faith.
How did this path veer for the Jewish believers? History teaches us that as the Gentile believers increased and took charge of the church, they tried to force the Jews to give up Moses and the Law.
What I discern from Scripture is that the Jews are called to faith in Jesus as the Messiah. They are also called to keep the Law of Moses, but not in the context of earning their salvation by works. Their path is one of faith in Jesus but maintaining the Law and the prophets.
Even though, as Paul wrote, they became blinded to this truth and forsook Jesus as the Messiah, one day they will all come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah and all of Israel will be saved. Read Romans 11.
This day is upon us as more and more Jews are placing their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. This is the prophetic word that God will bring them back to Israel from the scattering to the nations, and they will come to know their deliverer as Jesus Christ. All of this is to prepare for the return of Jesus.
The four leaders help the assembly come to the conclusion that the Jews will not impose the Law of Moses upon the Gentiles. Their path is in Jesus Christ alone by faith. They send them a letter confirming this with suggestions from the Law of Moses in how they should live.
Luke quotes their letter to the Gentile believers: "Abstain from food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from strangled animals, and from blood. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well" (Acts 15:29).
Thus, the wisdom of Paul, Barnabas, Peter and James prevails in the future of the Jews and Gentiles. The path they pave leads to a life of greatness in Christ. They are led to this decision by the Holy Spirit, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Tune into our podcast, AWAKEN with Blake Lorenz on the Charisma Podcast Network three times a week at cpnshows.com to explore the wonders of Jesus' teachings on His return and how we can live a life of hope, love and joy as we apply the principles He has given us for this special season.
Once a professional baseball player with the Chicago Cubs Organization, Blake Lorenz was called to Asbury Seminary after a radical encounter with Jesus, where he received his master's degree. He has pastored in the Orlando area for 33 years and has been blessed with the opportunity to evangelize globally, visiting five continents and preaching the gospel to tens of thousands. Blake has also helped plant 500 churches. He has been working in Israel for the past 20 years, includes serving on the board of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast in connection with the Knesset. In 2020, blakelorenzministries.com and the Awaken podcast launched to teach and challenge others to join him on a journey of anticipating the return of Jesus. He has used the three books he's written in his seminars and conferences. He and his wife, Beverly, share three children and six grandchildren.
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