THE IMPORTANCE OF GOSPEL-CLARITY: Acts 14:24-15:11

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SCRIPTURE

ACTS 14:24-15:11
14:24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.

15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 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. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 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.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 

BIG IDEA 

After visiting men tell the church at Antioch, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” Paul, Barnabas, and others travel to Jerusalem in order to keep the gospel message clear. Why is it so important to make sure we have gospel-clarity? Because without clarity people will inevitably try and add to the gospel, ruining it altogether. It’s a matter of slavery and freedom. Without the gospel we are all enslaved by our self-dependence, looking to our own performance to give us the worth and value we’re longing for. Peter points out that this is a burden no one has ever been able to bear (verse 10). Self-dependence is enslaving. However, the gospel brings a freedom that can never be taken away because Jesus has already lived, died, and arose; our worth and security is finalized in Him. As Peter says, “We believe we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus” (verse 11). What we really need in order to be free is a Master who loves us so much He was willing to take all our burdens on Himself and die, so we could be free from self-dependence forever. His name is Jesus and He’s the Lord. 

DISCUSSION 

1. In what ways do you feel burdened or weighed down in life? What do you think contributes to this? 

After visiting men tell the church at Antioch, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” Paul, Barnabas, and others travel to Jerusalem in order to keep the gospel message clear. Why is it so important to make sure we have gospel-clarity? Because without clarity people will inevitably try and add to the gospel, ruining it altogether.

2. Why was it such a big deal that these men were telling the Christians in Antioch to be circumcised? In what ways do you think people try and add to the gospel in our day? 

3. Was there anything from the sermon, big idea, or Acts 14 & 15 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you? 

It’s a matter of slavery and freedom. Without the gospel we are all enslaved by our self-dependence, looking to our own performance to give us the worth and value we’re longing for. Peter points out that this is a burden no one has ever been able to bear (verse 10). Self-dependence is enslaving.

4. Do you believe this is true? Why or why not? Can you think of any other real-life examples of self-dependence being enslaving? What ways have you been self-dependent and how do you think it was a burden? 

However, the gospel brings a freedom that can never be taken away because Jesus has already lived, died, and arose; our worth and security is finalized in Him. As Peter says, “We believe we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus” (verse 11). What we really need in order to be free is a Master who loves us so much He was willing to take all our burdens on Himself and die, so we could be free from self-dependence forever. His name is Jesus and He’s the Lord.

5. Think again about the ways you feel burdened and weighed down in life. How can the gospel bring freedom to that area of your life as you continue to look to Jesus? 

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