I love Acts. The whole book is a whirlwind of activity as a bunch of uneducated but Spirit filled people make the Kingdom move forward after Christ ascends to the Father. What happens in Acts should never stay in Acts. If anything we need the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow through the church once again to ignite us in mission!
Acts 15 is of particular interest to me this morning. Up to Acts 15 the church was made up of only Jews. Suddenly they are dealing with the reality that Gentiles want in on Jesus as well. When Peter sees the Gentiles become believers and the evidence of speaking in tongues he reports back to the Jerusalem church.
And the church does what a church does best. They have a board meeting! They want to debate whether Gentiles can actually become Christians. I laugh because the Gentiles have already BEEN saved at Cornelius’ house 5 chapters ago but the organized church in Jerusalem wants to vote on whether it’s okay for God to save Gentiles!
Does voting ever work out with God’s will?
So the debate rages: Should they get circumcised? Should they first convert to Judaism? Should they celebrate the feasts? What is required?
Thankfully, in the midst of a heated debate over what Gentiles need to do in addition to accepting Christ, the Apostle James steps up and leads the early church through these turbulent waters.
He puts it so clearly in VERSE 15 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
That’s it! Make it easier not harder. No rules, just relationship. If they are coming to Christ as they are – so be it! Let the Holy Spirit have His way!
And I think today’s church must adopt the same principle. Make it EASY for people to come to Christ! If there’s been a problem with the historical Church, it’s that we’ve done just the opposite.
I want to renew a commitment at Living Waters – that we refuse to make it difficult for someone to come to Christ.
Come as you!