And so off they went to Antioch. On arrival, they gathered the church and read the letter. The people were greatly relieved and pleased. Judas and Silas, good preachers both of them, strengthened their new friends with many words of courage and hope. Then it was time to go home. They were sent off by their new friends with laughter and embraces all around to report back to those who had sent them. Acts 15:30-33 Message
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, right? It’s Friday, the end of the week and I don’t want to go too long and lose your attention. But the beginning of this chapter talks about how the church was growing and all of the non-Jews were coming into the Kingdom of God. Some of the born again Pharisee’s thought that these new believers needed to adhere to the letter of the law and be circumcised like the rest of them.
After much heated arguments, Peter stood up and said, “And God, who can’t be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person’s thoughts, gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us. 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.
“So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?”
So that’s what the letter was all about. That’s what they took to the new believers. That’s why they were so greatly relieved and pleased. Wouldn’t you be? Just knowing that it was not about works, rules and laws, rather about what Jesus did to pay the price so that we could walk in the blessings without doing anything. Simply believing on Jesus and walking it out with the Holy Spirit.
Personally, I see this happening in so many churches today. Arguing that people need to change or we’ll have to ask them to leave. Just because they’re not doing it the way you think they should, doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong. Let the Holy Spirit do His perfectly gentle work in each heart and you, well you just work on you!
Let’s remember that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it. All by Himself. He doesn’t need your help. Step away and rejoice in how God is choosing to use people in unconventional ways to do amazing things in the earth. It may not be your style but it’s someones style and the God I serve will go to the uttermost part of the earth doing new things just to save the one.
Have a Great Weekend!