JESUS BE THE CENTER
Acts fifteen is such a crucial moment in church history as the leaders of the early church made a historical decision that affects us to this day! They have made faith in Christ to only way to be saved and thus the previous religious ways of being part of God’s people have been done away with as anyone can now become a member of God’s family if they make Jesus their Lord and Savior. People in the early church were trying to keep the old traditions alive in the midst of the new thing that God was doing but God was completely changing the program by changing the way of life for His followers. As the good news of the decision made by the Jerusalem council made it to the Antioch church, we see much rejoicing and thus when Jesus is the center of the church, there is joy. May we find our joy and reason of celebration be because of what Jesus has done for us what we could never do; to be right before God and in an unbreakable relationship with Him.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
The gentile Christians were given the good news that it will be their faith in Jesus and not keeping the old Mosaic laws that will get them saved. However, if Jesus is the center of the Gospel message and is the center of the believer, than there is a way of living that reflects that truth! There is freedom in Jesus but that freedom can only truly work when He is at the center of your life and that all your decisions revolve around how you can think, act, and be more like Him. The burden of the law has been lifted for the gentiles and Jew but to live a lifestyle that reflects Christ is still needed because that is the true sign that you are in a relationship with God. To say that you are part of a movement or club and do nothing to represent that club will have people question whether you’re really in it or not. It is the same way with Christ, if you say you’re Christian then your christ likeness is evidence of the inward conviction you made! We were set free from sin and our old lifestyle by grace and that grace from God is the power for us to also live like Jesus.
31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.
There was much rejoicing and the prophets from Jerusalem were encouraging the people in the midst of all the joy. When the Gospel is truly believed and Jesus is the center, the church will naturally lean towards joy. Why is there joy? For all good things come from the Lord and when God is welcomed to be rightfully at the center of our community, then when His presence comes, joy comes. When His presence comes, peace comes. When His presence comes, love comes. When we invite His presence we invite heaven into our midst and we are reminded that earth is not our true home but heaven.
My prayer today is that we the church may always believe in the Gospel and be a Christ centered community.
A prayer that has been proclaimed frequently during our services has been this
“As for our house, we will worship the LORD.”
May this be true for our everyday life.