The Story:
Jewish believers/leaders came to Antioch: “These Gentile believers must be
circumcised first, then they can be believers…” Caused a great conflict
between Paul and Barnabas and the Jewish believers.
Gen 17: circumcision became the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant – the
symbolic cutting away of sin.
Colossians 2: 11 “In Him you were also circumcised in the putting off of
your sinful nature.” (circumcision of the heart)
The argument was so heated – they decided to bring it to the Jerusalem
We meet James the Less (short), son of Alpheus and brother (kin/family) of
Jesus, who is the Lead Pastor of the Jerusalem Church.
The Jerusalem Council is convened:
As many as the Disciples/Apostles gathered = Peter, etc.
Barnabas and Paul
Delegates from Antioch gathered
Peter starts first…look what God did when I preached Jesus…they were
filled with the Holy Spirit as we were…
How can we expect them to follow the laws that even we and our
ancestors could not!?!
God accepted them as they are!
We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved!
Everyone became silent as Barnabas and Paul shared their testimony of the
signs and wonders God performed and how many Jews and Gentiles
became believers in Jesus
They listened and contemplated … they listened to understand – not to
build their argument (rebut) – a sign of maturity
Then James spoke …
1) Look what God said and did with Peter
2) This fulfills prophesy: Amos 9: “I will rebuild David’s tent…that the rest
of humanity may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear My
The Decision:
a) We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God
b) Instead, tell them to abstain from pollutions of idols; sexual immoralities;
don’t eat meat from animals strangled; and do not eat blood
The “pollution of idols”-gives
the picture of “wallowing in
the blood sacrifices to idols”
Do not participate in any
form of idol worship
Pigs wallowing in mud
Do not participate in sexual immorality - linked with the temple
prostitutes and the Roman concept of sex being a simple physical (animal)
need not linked to his/her morality
Do not eat animals that were strangled – Jewish custom was to slice the
animal’s throat – a quicker death for the animal. Strangling was cutting off
it’s life breath – cruel
Do not eat blood – blood is linked with the concept of that which gives
Paul, Barnabas, Barsabbas (Judas), and Silas were chosen to bring the
decision (in a letter) to the Church at Antioch
The Church of Antioch met with these delegates from the Council of
Jerusalem, received the letter of instruction with gladness and were
The delegates from Jerusalem returned to Jerusalem, but Paul and
Barnabas remained in Antioch
Conflict does happen in Churches among believers
Gathering together without hostility, with being willing to listen to
understand and not simply to argue or rebut
Working out – confronting the problem – a resolution that brings growth
and healing to those who are willing to grow in the likeness of Christ.
Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they