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Acts 15 Heading

Making Significant Decisions

- The Jerusalem Council -

The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Acts 15:1-36

Paul J. Bucknell

Decisions Acts 15:1-36 | Make Acts 15:1-5 | Discuss Acts 15:6-12 |
Scripture Acts 15:13-18 | Decision 15:19-21 | Council Acts 15:13-21 | Communicate Acts 15:22-36 | Acts 15 Video Making Significant Decisions

Purpose: The Bible exposition Making Significant Decisions on Acts 15:1-36 helps us see how the Lord shaped the identity of the early church through the way the Jerusalem Church Council resolved some key theological issues such as salvation by faith and not by works. At the same time it gives us a model on how to solve disagreements (Part 1 of 7).

The church in its two thousand year history has faced many significant issues. Some of them had to do with persecution. Whether it was the Moslems systematically eliminating them from North Africa or more recently in China under the rise of the communistic power.

The threats are many but the most serious are those divisions within in the church. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Acts 15 describes the way the Spirit of God led the church leaders to rightly handle a dangerous situation that could unravel the early church. Instead of becoming a point of critical loss, the early church through the Spirit’s guidance was strengthened and continued to expand throughout the world. Key decisions are often those points where we can either retreat or go forward. In Acts 15 they went forward and therefore serves a great model of how one solves disagreements.

Loss of love is the loss of life!

In our hearts we should recognize that though there are many diverse threats against the church, the church will live. “Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). The church is the very body of Christ who has come alive.

inner strife

However, the welfare of the church in our own generation and of you as individual believers will always be tied to how well you and I pursue Christ and not be deceived by the threats around us.

ActsWe need to know the challenges that the church is facing. We have large denominations that have become ruled by modern sexual teachings. Some churches are giving up the cross and seeking mysticism. Huge numbers of believers are said no longer to believe in absolute truth, having been swayed by modernistic philosophies. The church today has her enemies. Jesus said,

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

Fear, doctrinal error and intimidation are devices to shake the church into a cowardly position (think of the opposition that Nehemiah faced). The problem the early church faced threatened their existence but through the Spirit reinvigorated the church to surge forward. Light is always stronger than darkness. Only if the light retreats can darkness advance.

We will look at two major sections of Acts 15:1-36:

A) Making Important Decisions (1-21) and

B) Communicating Important Decisions (Acts 15:22-36).

Next -> A. Making Important Decisions (Acts 15:1-21) shows the wise means by which they made a very difficult decision.

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Acts: Other BFF Articles

The Bible Teacher's Commentary


Acts                 Introduction and Outlines
Acts Maps:       Paul's 1-2 Journeys
Acts Maps:       Paul's 3 & Rome Journeys

(Blank versions also available!)

Acts_01:1-11    Bible Study Questions
Acts 1:6-11 The Kingdom Plan and Purpose
| Video podcast
Acts 2:14-40 Be Saved!
| Video podcast
Acts 6-7 Motivation | Acts 6:5-8 | Acts 6:9-15 | Act 6-7 Video podcast
Acts 7 Affirming motivation
Acts_7  Stephen's Defense
Acts_8.2-25    Persecution & Evangelism
Acts_8.14-24  Simon & Gnosticism
Acts_8.25-40  Ethiopean Eunuch
Acts_9:1-22   Saul the Terrorist
Acts_8-9        Perspectives on Conversion

Acts_10:1-48:       Intersecting in Time: Vision #1
Acts_10:9-16        Vision #2 Peter

Acts_10:17-48      The Meeting that Changed History

Acts_10:34-44      The Christian Historical Message

Acts_13-14           Paul's First Missionary Journey
Acts 13: 1-3          A Model for our Church

        Leadership - Diversity - God-seeking - Mission-minded
Acts_13:1-3          Sending Out Missionary Church
Acts_13:4-12        Power Encounter in Cyprus
Acts_13:13-50      Gospel Message in Antioch
Acts_13:51-14:28 Other Missionary Stops

Acts 20:28-30       
Detecting Error in the Church
Acts 21:4 Discerning God's will