Thursday, August 30, 2018
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO Acts ~ Chapter 15
Certain men came down from Judea and told the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to Mosaic custom, you cannot be saved.’ Naturally, Paul and Barabas took a leading part in the discussion and disagreement that arose, and so they and some others from among them were chosen to go up to the apostles at Jerusalem to settle the question. It was, in fact, the congregation that was sending them. They passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, and as they went along they told about the conversion of the Gentiles. This made all the brethren happy. When they arrived at Jerusalem they were given a welcome by the congregation and the apostles and elders there, and they related to them, too, what Elohei had done through them.
Some of the believers there had been Pharisees, and they rose up and said, ‘Circumcision and keeping the Law of Moshe are 2 essentials.’ The apostles and elders therefore called a council to look into the matter. The discussion was carried on at great length. Finally, Peter rose up and said, “Friends, you know already a good while ago it was Elohim’s good pleasure to use me to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles so that they might believe. And Elohei, Who knows the heart, bore them clear witness when He gave them the Ruach Ha’Kodesh even as He had done to us. That is, He has made no distinction between them and us. They too had their hearts purified by faith. I therefore ask you: why do you want Elohim to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, one that neither our fathers nor we were strong enough to bear? No; we believe that it is by the grace of Adonai Yeshua Ha’Mashiach that we are to be saved, and they also will be saved in the same manner.” The whole assembly remained silent, listening to Paul and Barabas as they told what signs and wonders Elohim had worked among the Gentiles through them.
When they were through talking, James answered them, “Men and brethren, hear what I have to say: Simon has now told us how Elohim made his 1st visit to the Gentiles so as to win from the nations a People to bear His Name. And this agrees with the words of the prophet, when he says, ‘There will come a time when I shall return to build the fallen tabernacle of David. Yes, I shall build it again out of its ruins; I shall restore it. And so the rest of mankind may seek Adonai, even all the Gentiles who have been called by My Name. So says Adonai Who is the doer of all this. Elohei has made known all His works from eternity.” (Amos 9:11 & 12)
“I am therefore convinced that we should not trouble those gentiles who have turned to Elohei. In this case we could write to them to avoid everything that has been sacrificed to idols, also to avoid unlawful sexual intercourse, and not to eat anything strangled, or blood. From ancient times the Law of Moshe has been read and expounded every Sabbath and in every city.”
Then it seemed good to the apostles, the elders and the whole congregation to choose some men from their midst and to send them with Paul and Barabas. They chose Judas Barsabas and Silas, both leaders among the brethren, and they sent along with them this letter: “The apostles, elders and brethren, to the brethren from among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, greeting! We have learned that some from our group have gone out and have caused you trouble by their claims, and have upset your minds. They have said that you must be circumcised and that you must keep the Law. We gave them no such commission. It has therefore seemed good to us to come together and to agree on choosing men to send to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul. These men have hazarded their very lives for the name of our Adonai Yeshua Ha’Mashiach. The men we are sending are Judas and Silas, who will themselves confirm this message by word of mouth. It has seemed good to the Ruach Ha’Kodesh and to us not to lay on you any other burden except what is necessary. You are to avoid what has been sacrificed to idols, the eating of blood, meat from animals strangled to death, and sexual impurity. If you will keep yourselves free from these things, you will do well. Farewell!”
So, when they were dismissed they set out for Antioch, and as soon as they had gathered the people there they gave them the letter. When the letter was read it gave them both comfort and joy. The Judas and Silas, who themselves were also prophets, preached to the brethren and strengthened their faith.
After they had been there for a time, the brethren dismissed the in peace, to go back to the apostles. But Silas felt that he should remain there. Also Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch. Together with many others, they taught and preached the glad tidings in the Word of God.
Some days later, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit the brethren in every town where we have preached the Word of Adonai, and find out how they are getting along.” Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. But Paul did not think it wise to take him with them, for he had left them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
So sharp was the dispute between them that they parted company, and Barnabas, taking Mark with him, set sail for Cyprus. Then Paul chose Silas and, after the brethren had commended him to the grace of Elohim, he also set out. His trip took him through Syria and Cilicia, where he established congregations.