God is creating for Himself a people who are united by grace through faith in Christ alone. We may disagree on everything else, but if we are united on the gospel, then we are united on what truly matters. Through our unity and our joy and our love for one another, the church can be a shining light in a world darkened by division and hostility.
The most important question anyone can ask is, “How can we be good with God?” Every religion and cult answers this question by performing certain “works,” but the gospel of Jesus Christ says that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone to the glory of God alone according to the Scriptures alone. In Acts 15, we look at a church fight over this definition of salvation, but it is a fight that is worth it.
As Paul and Barnabas come to the end of their missionary journey, we learn that the follower of Jesus Christ is to be committed to building up the church and committed to declaring the glory of God. When all is said and done, will it be said of us that we fulfilled what God set out for us to do?
At a synagogue service, Paul and Barnabas were asked to share a word of encouragement with those in attendance. In his sermon, Paul tells his hearers and us today to know our history and how God is at the center of it, to know Jesus and what He has done, and to know forgiveness by repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus. The question is: Will we believe this message of salvation, or will we scoff at it?
The story of Acts is about all that the risen Lord Jesus continued to do, through the witness of His people, in the power of the Holy Spirit. In this passage, we look at how the church is to be a community that not only believes the gospel of Jesus Christ but is committed to seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to all nations. As you can expect, this is going to come with both success and opposition. But the good news is that God has equipped us with everything we need to accomplish His mission.
In this passage, we see a church that believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, that was motivated by God’s grace and not by works, that visibly displayed the power of God, that taught the Word of God, and that gave generously and trusted God to meet their needs. While many churches are interested only in their own ministry, we are encouraged to look beyond ourselves to the one church of Jesus Christ and to praise God for what we see Him doing.