OK, so I know the most obvious topic in this Chapter 15 is whether or not circumcision is a requirement. I’ll briefly touch on that topic before I get to the bigger issue.
We learned in Acts 10:15 that “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This is also repeated in Ch 11. According to what God revealed to Peter, circumcision is no longer required as a part of the covenant to God. Circumcision as well as the Jewish food previously deemed clean or unclean was under the law of Moses. Pastor Nick discussed a few weeks ago in Growth Track that the law of Moses died at the cross; however, the law of God (i.e. Ten Commandments) will live forever. In saying that, we have to remember that Jesus came to do away with the law of Moses because God knew it was impossible for us in our humanity to adhere to the law.
That being said, I think there are two very important things to consider in this Chapter. The first, is that when the issue of circumcision came up. Rather than break off into different movements or church bodies due to the controversy, they took the issue to Godly council. How often do we get upset over a minor detail and let it drive a wedge between us? As Nick said Sunday, we ARE the body of Christ. We cannot function properly in the Lord’s work unless we work together! If you are concerned over something minor, take it to Nick or other church leaders rather than let it fester and spread division in the body.
After the Council met, they created a letter to the Gentiles and concluded that circumcision is no longer a requirement; however they listed the following for them to remember: “28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.”
When the Council looked at the big picture and asked that the Gentiles still adhere to the following, it was more for their health and community at the time. I think oftentimes, we fail to see the big picture. It’s not about the little details like never eating shrimp, or men being circumcised. It all boils down to this. Jesus came that we might have life, but not just life, life more abundantly! How can we live in the abundant freedom Christ gave us, if we are worried about the details? He whom the Son set free is free indeed! (Jn 8:36)
Live free! Live loud! Change the world! We ARE Unstoppable!