by Philip Layton
Christian leaders met to discuss the terms for Gentile membership
- Unlike Jewish converts, Gentiles became Christians without accepting the Jewish Law. The problem was not the acceptance of Gentiles, but the terms on which they joined the fellowship of believers.
- What would the implications have been if the final decision had gone in favour of the Jews?
- Are there any areas of Christianity that oblige new believers to subscribe to various rituals or practices before they are fully welcomed into the Church?
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Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'
Silas - My Missionary Journey
My life was changed, completely when I accepted Christ as Saviour. And when this wonderful change took place, I immediately became part of the Early Church in Jerusalem. After spending time there, and following the Jerusalem Council, four of us travelled to Antioch. We were delivering a letter recommending the inclusion of the Gentiles, giving a new sense of freedom for all believers. They were exciting days indeed!
Then something happened. There was a dispute between Paul and Barnabas, which, praise God, eventually all worked out for the best – including for young John Mark. Because of it, Paul chose me to be his partner for his second missionary journey. What an honour and privilege to be part of this new adventure for Christ – into uncertain territory!
It wasn’t easy work, let me tell you. But when something is important and necessary, even life-changing, we should always be ready to take risks – even risking our lives for the Lord. I know this is more easily said than done. Believe me, I did have fears. But somehow the Holy Spirit’s presence got me through situations that would have been otherwise impossible.
Opposition accompanied us everywhere we went. We were scourged, beaten, imprisoned. But again, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we were still able to pray and sing hymns to God. Other prisoners listened and some were even converted.
I can honestly say we were filled with joy – in the midst of terrible experiences. Even a jailer fell at our feet, asking how he could be saved!
No matter your circumstance, or what you’re going through right now – physically, emotionally, spiritually – I pray God’s strength and encouragement for you, as you go about ministering in his name. If you’re faithful to him, no matter what comes, know beyond all doubt that the Holy Spirit will be with you – always! He will enable you to make a positive difference in your community.
Dramatised by Beverly IvanyTags: Acts