Acts Chapter 15

Eat This Book

Read Proverbs Chapter 22

Acts 15

1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.

24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.

34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.

35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.

37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

25 thoughts on “Acts Chapter 15

  1. Acts 15:39-40
    And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other:and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

    Proverbs 13:10
    Only by pride cometh contention:
    but with the well advised is wisdom.

    Here a debate had ensued at whether or not circumcision was necessary for the Jews. Although they came to agreement the spirit of pride, and contention remained in the air.

    Now Paul’s good friend, and ministry partner chooses to go against the advice of his friend, and the apostle to the church.

    Suddenly Barnabas is replaced with Silas.

    Contention is provocation, and incitement.

    Provocation should be used to invite people to good works, and not cause division.

    Hebrews 10:24
    And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

  2. Circumcision of the skin or Circumcision of the Spirit.
    5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
    8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
    9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
    10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
    20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

    We need to be very careful not to burden new babes with the technicalities of law. It is my opinion, that our Lord is showing us here that it is more important to circumcise the heart by following God and putting a side the old flesh than to physically show the appearance of salvation. Do not take me wrong, I believe that setting ourselves apart from the world by the way we act, dress in modesty, and treat each other is one of our greatest testimony. You have no idea how many time has people approached me because of the way I dress, or because of my long hair and just one question leads us to me sharing my testimony and planting a seed in their heart. However, here the Lord is speaking about new babes in Christ and how they should not be yoked with all this things, but that for them to just abstain from their old lives and old fleshly rituals is enough. Now, once they feel a conviction on their heart and start following the examples of their Brothers and Sisters, then is ok, for they have followed the desires of their heart. May we all have kindness with our new brothers and sisters, may we keep in mind that we are not to place a yoke that they can not bare on them, and may we all be blessed by new births. In Jesus Name. AMEN

  3. 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

    13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

    14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

    15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

    16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

    17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

    18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

    19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

    20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

    James said it best, I agree with the words of the prophet. It is always good to agree with the prophet, because God will use this to help us reach to the next level.
    James wanted to not tax the gentiles with a lot of old wives fables, but teach them the true laws of God.
    1. Abstain from the pollution of Idols
    2. fornication
    These things help them in their walk with God, to lead them by the truth, to the fullness of the spirit of God.

  4. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

    It is written…you can always go to the Word to seek your answers!

  5. iLove to eat the Word

    Acts 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

    When I was on vacation there was a man from the “House of Yahweh” church who taught that Gentile Christians had to keep the law of Moses. Everyday for about a month we would sit down at the table and debate the scripture. I had only received the Holy Ghost about a year earlier and was brand new in the scriptures. I prayed and sought the Lord. It can be really tempting to want to “Keep the Law” and follow Jewish customs and traditions because somehow if you’re able to do it, pride rises up and you become spiritually proud. How do I know, because this man from the House of Yahweh was full of himself!

    As I read the scriptures one thing became crystal clear…the Gentiles were never required to keep the Jewish customs and laws. This verse is very clear from the original Apostles that says, “Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:” Then they write the necessary items that needed to be addressed, “28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

    29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

    BOOMSHAKALAKA IN your face House of Yahweh doctrine, you didn’t get me that day and in Jesus name you won’t get anyone who loves the truth.

  6. Vs.11, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved, even as they.”

    Eph. 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”
    Eph.2:5, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
    Eph. 2:6, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
    Eph. 2:7, “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
    Eph. 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

    Thank God for his MERCY and GRACE!

  7. DIVISION DIVIDES

    36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
    37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
    38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
    39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

    There has always been the seed of contention in the church. As we witness here and have witnessed in our own circles of life. When DIVISION becomes so sharp that communication is broken, then DIVISION DIVIDES the UNITY that was FIRST presented.

    These disciples began in UNITY we read in verse 25.

    25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

    ***NOTICE they were not divided over DOCTRINE but over man.

    We must approach every situation prayerfully and humbly that we will not invoke a spirit of DIVISION in the church that will ultimately end up with DIVISION in the Church.

    iRepent
    iPraise
    iPray
    iWork
    iGive
    iReap

  8. 36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
    41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

    Accountability is even being witnessed in the book of Acts. They had sent men to preach the word of the Lord, and now Paul and Barnabas was going back to that same area to take an account of how those churches were growing. God has called all of us to given an account for the Kingdom sake. He is interested in growth and consistency. We must take soul winning and God’s kingdom seriously, God does.

  9. V 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

    i Love my Holy Ghost! The Holy Ghost helped sincere believers sort out disagreements.
    The Holy Ghost will be a comforter , teacher and our guide.

    iRepent
    iPray
    iPraise
    iWork
    iGive
    iReap.

  10. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

    6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

    7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

    8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

    9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

    God is the Just judge that knows the desires and intentions of the heart. There might plenty if situations that we may not understand. Things we may question, but we must know that we are dealing with perfectly imperfect people. The wisest thing to do is to prayerfully consider all situations. In this chapter, I was amazed at the humanity and their frailty. It was a good example of everyday ordinary church. There was a conflict, the wise men got together to pray and consider a solution, and at the end a disagreement, a division. This were not ordinary men but the apostles. This shows me that in all things I have to pray and protect my mind and human heart. To pray for the mind of Christ can be one of the wisest things to do every day. It is God that tires the heart. It is Him that changes us. We must allow Him to do the work in us that we may live and love one another.

    Deuteronomy 30:6
    And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

  11. NLT 19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

    A true statement, let us guide, lead and love the new converts coming to church. Anything added pressure, can drive them away. In time, they will grow spiritually stronger, and continue to follow God’s way of living.

  12. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

    Contention – should never be found among God’s people, but unfortunately it sometime arises. It is something that should be dealt with through prayer, the word and communication.

    Much contention is carried on because people refuse to communicate. It is always easiest to see our own perspective and know that it is right. We should always consider others even in contention, even if we feel justified.

    I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. -Philippians 4:12
    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. -Philippians 4:13
    Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. -Philippians 4:14

  13. Be Careful Little Ears…

    24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

    25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

    26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Acts 15:24
    As we have heard that some persons from our number have disturbed you with their teaching, unsettling your minds and [a]throwing you into confusion, although we gave them no express orders or instructions [on the points in question]

    The people who “just went” were not only not sent but didn’t have a burden for the people like the ones who were sent. The ones who were sent were willing to die for the truth and would handle it with care. We must be careful who we let speak into our lives. Not everyone is as careful about what they tell us as “truth” and not everyone will truly care for our souls. And not only that, but those who speak harmful things do so in a way that separates us from hearing the voices of those sent with truth. We must guard our spiritual ears and try what we hear even from brothers and sisters, our salvation is at stake if we don’t.

    John 10:10-13
    10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

    11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

    12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

    13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

    1 Corinthians 4:15
    For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

  14. This chapter shows the importance of working together. When we work together, we can do great things. It’s when we try to work separately, that’s when things begin to fall apart. Let’s keep unified in everything we do for God.

  15. Agree to disagree
    Acts 15:39
    And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

    The issue was mark gave up on a prior mission with Barnabas and Paul, so Paul did not want to give mark a second chance. After a disagreement they part ways. There isn’t much heard from Barnabas since. History suggests he died for the faith.

    Disagreements come and how we handle them is crucial. Mark ends up becoming a disciple of Paul after Barnabas’ death. Slight disagreements should not cause bitterness and hatred. Paul even writes favorably for Barnabas in his epistles showing the separation did not end their friendship.

    For more information on Barnabas see below.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02300a.htm

  16. The first church split

    37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

    38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

    39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took

    Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

    40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

    41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

    I lean toward Paul on this one. If you want to have that close of a relationship with the man of God he has to know that you have his back. You have to prove your faith by your works. Faith with out works is dead. I wouldn’t take a lazy person to work with me either.

  17. So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts of the Apostles 15:25, 26 NLT)

    25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

    26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The ones willing to risk it all will be the ones that are sent. Are you trustworthy enough to be sent?

  18. As I was reading this chapter, my thoughts went to me. A sinner. Someone who was unworthy of the spotless lamb to die for me. And yet he did because he loves me. Just as when a sinner comes to church and doesn’t know that thus and thus is a sin. This is how the Jew were treating the Gentiles. We all have sinned and come short but then why did Jesus die for us. Because he loved the sinner and hates the sin. Do as Jesus love the sinner , hate the sin.

  19. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
    I
    God gAve them word a to speak. They did and the people listened. If you want to be heard, be seen.

  20. In this scriptute it is clearly indicated that a strugle was being played out about “Law” vs. “Grace”, and with the Pharisees vs. Gentiles, or rather the Disciples of Christ Jesus and the Gospel teaching. Anything new was disputed by the Pharisees, because they could not grasp the Gospel. They lived by tradition, and the Old Testament. There was much more indicated here.

    “Be blessed”………………….

  21. In this chapter we see that the good news of Jesus is for everyone. My Pastor from Wichita always says, as he did when he came, “There is room in the House of God for EVERYBODY”. We must witness to any and every person the Lord puts in our path. Our job is to plant the seed, the Lord will do the rest as the end of verses 6-9 MSG says “He treated the outsiders exactly as he treated us, beginning at the very center of who they were and working from that center outward, cleaning up their lives as they trusted and believed him.”

  22. “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples”. There were those that mandated certain procedures had to be followed. There will always be some that believe certain procedures (traditions, etc.) must be followed. However that may be one should be concerned on what sayeth the word of God (Jesus), and the true man of God (which the true man of God will speak the whole word of God). What a mighty God we serve, thank God for his word! God bless Jerusalem and you all, in Jesus name, Amen

  23. The Letter for Gentile Believers 22. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to An’-ti-och with Paul and Bar’-na-bas; namely, Ju’-das surnamed Bar’-sa-bas, and Si’-las, chief men among the brethren: 23. And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gen’-tiles in An’-ti-och and Syr’-I-a and Ci-li’-ci-a: 24. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Bar’-na-bas and Paul, 26. Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Je’-sus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Ju’-das and Si’-las,who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28. For it seemed good to the Ho’-ly Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29. That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 30. So when they were dismissed, they came to An’-ti-och: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

  24. We live in a time when an encouraging word can be hard to find- and so it was in the first century. The church leaders review the situation and realize that some overzealous people have disturbed and discouraged many fellow Christians. They may not have been intentionally malicious, but they have done damage through their words. What will the church leaders do to remedy this situation? Will they look the other way? Will they say nothing? No! They fight the problem with words of blessing. They send a letter to the churches with a message that brings gladness and encouragment. Along with the letter they send representatives who add their own verbal words of blessing. They model how Spirit-filled Christians today can fight discouragment and harsh words. Kill them with kindness.

  25. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
    6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
    7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
    8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

    When there was division among them they sat down together to debate & reason it out but ultimately used the word itself to decide their course of action. You can’t go wrong with the word.

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