Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 15: His Word is a Witness to His Spirit
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 15th, 2013

Acts 15:6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” 

God’s Spirit Witnesses to His Word.

“How inclusive is Christianity with regard to ethnicity and culture?” This question continues to arise in the church. Even after Peter went to Cornelius’ house (Acts 10), we still see some issue within the church. No doubt some were unaware of everything that had transpired up until this time. This is obvious in listening to some of the Jewish brethren who were intent on mixing the Law of Moses with the New Testament. 

First off, Christianity believes in both Old and New Testaments. However, the Law of Moses is contained in 4 of the first 5 books of the Old Testament. The rest of the Old Testament (poetry, history and prophecy) is very useful in the New Testament regarding faith, future predictions (both about the Messiah and about the end times), trials, wisdom (as in Proverbs) and many other issues. 

The bible says “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)” This is the power of scripture: it was written beforehand, but it is timeless and therefore useful for us today just as it was for the apostles 2,000 years ago.

For this reason, Christianity rests in Jesus Christ as Lord and the fulfillment of the Law of Moses through His life and atoning sacrifice of Calvary (Matthew 5:17). The Law has judgment. Christ took the judgment for us upon Himself. Therefore, our faith is not in the Law just as it was with the other Gentiles discussed in this chapter.

There were some insisting that Gentiles be circumcised in accordance with the Law of Moses. However, according to the Law they would not be considered clean unless they were circumcised. Jesus has already revealed to Peter that He had already regarded Cornelius (and all Gentiles) as clean through faith. If this was not the case, He would not have filled them with the His Spirit. With the understanding of certain Pharisees who were now Christians, they are totally discounting what the Spirit has done because of what the Law says, even though the Law has been fulfilled through the one whom the Spirit of God comes (Jesus Christ the Lord).

James (the brother of Jesus) quotes a prophecy from the Old Testament. Again, “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning.” This was a foretelling by the God of the Old Testament who was revealed to us through Jesus of the New Testament that Gentiles also will also be called by His name (Amos 9:11).
Acts 15:15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,   "After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old."
In this example, the words of Jesus come to mind “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)” When it comes to the things of God, He bears witness through His Spirit and His Truth. There is nothing about His Spirit that will contradict His Truth. There is nothing about His Word that will contradict His Spirit.

If the Pharisee-Christians had thought about this, it would have been less of a controversy in the Church. But, there was someone who bore witness to what the Spirit had done (Peter) and another who bore witness to the Word of God (the prophet Amos and James). This is always the relationship between Spirit and Truth. We must always remember this in our decision making. The Spirit does not speak anything that is not backed up in scripture. This is why it is so important to know the bible. How else can we test what is being said (1 John 4:1-3)?


Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with law of moses, gentiles, holy spirit


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