|Sunday morning message transcript|
Corporate conflict. November 6, 2011
As with any church, the Jerusalem body may have included factions which possessed such loyalty to Judaism that they saw this as a real threat to their understanding of the Bible and God’s mission for the world.
Their reading of the Bible included Gentiles but only through the halls of Jewish practice:
Real comfortable jeans
Some time ago, Wrangler Jeans reminded us how important individual words can be and how much stronger they become when linked together.
Real– Comfortable– Jeans~
Trans: lest I seem to illuminate the obvious allow me to suggest the same of the fast growing, radically evolving, dynamically changing group of believers known as the church.
REAL– COMFORTABLE– CHANGE
I. A REAL FEAR OF CHANGE: 15:1-6
A real fear: of change, may include valid concerns. The face of the ministry looked differently to them making what they had known appear ever so distant. They were watching the development of progress but it looked all the more foreign to them.
The identity of the church was changing, right before their eyes, and they were clinging to the memories of days gone by…
We fear what we do not understand and when it comes to change we cling in desperation to "the way it was", in hopes of preserving what we think we’re better days.
II. A real danger for fractures: 15:5
The real potential for schism/ division as each side marked out is own territory. FF Bruce?
III. A real concern:15:1,5
Genuine concern: that generations of believers would know Jesus only legally, and would never understand the life altering experience of free grace alone / through faith.
The Response: Real~ Comfortable~ change
- Peter :No heavy yoke of bondage~ Peter
- While some Jews may have come to tolerate the heavy burdens of their yoke ( Matt. 23:4), the disciples had come to rejoice in their master’s easy yoke ( Matt. 11:29-30).
- Barnabas and Paul: 15:12
IV. Real leadership: James~
James’ argument not built on the work of Paul but the actions of God:
Not from the power of his position but the piousness of his life. His humility of a life before the face of God rendered him most fit to serve the people of God. Real comfortable influence is only generated when our interests for the Lord and his work exceed any interest in our own position.
(14) God visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for his name~~
A paradox: nations = ethne; stands in contrast to the people: Laos , that is to say Israel. (Deut. 14.12)
But here, when James uses these two terms here, he does not speak of God’s taking a people in contrast to the Gentiles, but of taking a people consisting of Gentiles…
I Peter 2:9; Is.43:21; Titus 2:14
I Peter 2–
- The you is emphatic
- Generation=race/ a body w/ a common line of descent
- Royal= kingly
- Nation= a multitude of people with the same nature
- Holy= set apart for the service of deity
- Peculiar= to make around/ to make something and then surround it with a circle suggesting ownership/ Is.43:21/ Titus 2:14
Think of God as that potter, fashioning the clay that is us…
Kenneth Wuest renders it…
But as for you, YOU are a race chosen out, king priests, a set apart nation, a people for God’s own possession, in order that you might proclaim abroad the excellencies of the One who out of darkness called you into participation in His marvelous light…
Not just being exposed to the light, but coming into participation with that light…,
Forging our identity in that light..
Results of the Council:
- The message of the Godpel has been freed from the entanglements of the Jewish institutions
- Attitudes to Paul within Jewish Christianity were clarified.
- The decision of the council further antagonized many Jews and the Jerusalem church would now experience an uphill climb.
APPS FOR US:
- Our real identity is formed whe we come to terms with the finished work of God’s gracious work of Calling us into his family and giving us that status of family.
- Our comfort comes in the midst of change by focusing our attention on God’s unchanging Word, and not what the crowd/ clique/ or the cronies you have hung with forever say…
- Change works when undertaken by those who understand God, themselves and the greater discernment for His will.