It Seemed Good
22 October 2019
It Seemed Good
Reading: Job 9-10; Acts 15-16
“…For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements…” (Acts 15:28 NLT)
Acts 15 shows us how the developing church learned to make decisions and govern itself. In this instance, some Jewish Christ-followers from Judea had visited Antioch and were shocked that the Gentile converts to faith in Christ weren’t required to be circumcised and keep the Jewish ceremonial laws. They challenged the believers’ freedom, and before long, the dispute got so heated that the Antioch church sent Paul and Barnabas and some brothers to Jerusalem to talk to the apostles and elders.
The council of apostles and elders met in Jerusalem, and after intense discussion, Peter told how God changed his heart toward Gentiles. Then Paul and Barnabas told how God had used them among the Gentiles. Finally James, Jesus’ younger brother, took the floor and spoke a decision that focused and summed up the arguments, applied scripture to the discussion, and brought the group to agreement.
Once they were in agreement, they crafted a letter to the Antioch church and to other Gentile churches. After a gracious greeting and acknowledgment of the issue they had addressed and resolved, the letter stated the basis for their conclusion in these words, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”
There will always be differences of opinion, won’t there? As long as people have different personalities, different passions, and different experiences, there will be different ways of looking at issues, and different opinions about what should be done.
What a great example of how strongly-opinionated Christ-followers can come to agreement and unity! It’s also a good example of a leader’s role in bringing people into agreement. It shows that the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth to people even in the middle of passionate discussion about their conflicting ideas and opinions. “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”
Father, In seasons of transition, change, and challenge, and in instances of strongly held differences of opinion and distinctly different ways of looking at a thing, please give us grace to pursue the truth until it “seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” We love you. We love your ways. Amen.