Mission – Acts What “differences” make a difference? Acts 15:1-33 May 6th, 2018
I. The FIRST church CONFLICT. (v.1-5)
A. “THEY” say you have to “DO” more. (v.1)
B. CUSTOM or LAW? (v.1-5)
Churches are often famous (or dare I say infamous) for conflict. It seems that truths we hold about our spiritual life are deep within us and can often provoke some very harsh
conflicts when others begin to challenge what we believe. The early church had its conflicts too, and the first one we see in Acts 15 is very insightful for how we live with
spiritual conflict today.
1. Have you ever been involved in a church conflict? How did that go? What could have made it better?
2. What are some “customs” that may have been elevated to “law” in your own spiritual journey? How can you keep your eyes open to these things?
II. The CONVERSATION in JERUSALEM. (v.4-33)
A. The EXPERIENCES of the WITNESSES. (v.4,7-12)
B. The CONFIRMATION of SCRIPTURE. (v.16-18)
C. A CONCLUSION that seems UNUSUAL. (v.22-33)
Paul and Barnabas don’t just complain, or set of to start their version of church that was free from those hard headed people from Jerusalem. They engaged those that they disagreed with, and they headed to Jerusalem to sort the issue out. There they would interact with the others and seek the will of God in the community of the Church.
3. How do you function in these kinds of “discussions”? Do you avoid conflict or run to it?
4. How have your own spiritual experiences shaped you? What has been a meaningful experience that you have had in your journey? Has Scripture helped you to better understand that?
III. DISCERNING what is GOOD. (v.28, 35-41)
A. LEAN in, don’t RUN away. (v.2,4; Mt. 5:22-24)
B. LISTENING in COMMUNITY. (v.4,7: I Cor. 6:1-6)
1. BODY – WORD – SPIRIT. (v.16-18, 28)
C. GRACE is the BASELINE. (v.10-11; I Cor. 4:7; Titus 3:4-7)
D. The steps to MATURITY are IMMATURE. (v.35-41; Rom 8:29-30)
It’s an unusual story placed here in the middle of Acts. A side of the early church that Luke could have left out. But the conflict and the disagreement was important because it helped the church leaders pray and discern where the Spirit was leading them as a body. They were reminded of what was important and what wasn’t.
5. What are some specific ways that you seek to listen to God in community?
6. When have you known the Spirit was leading you? How did you know?
7. Jeff said that “Grace is the baseline.” What does that mean? Do you agree or disagree?
8. If Grace is the baseline, where do our works come in?