Unstoppable! 'Great Joy and a Return to Focus' — Acts 15:30-35

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The messengers [carrying the letter from the apostles and elders in Jerusalem] went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.

Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

— Acts 15:30-35 NLT

Key Thought

Rather than distraction and division following resolution of the question about requirements for Gentile Christians, the Lord's people returned to their mission with great joy and shared encouragement. When God's people are living for the Lord and his purpose, they live in the blessing of God. They share the satisfaction that comes from being used by the Spirit to accomplish the work of the Savior. No wonder they experience joy and share encouragement. When we find ourselves quarreling and bickering today, we need to remember these truths. Let's identify quarreling and resentment for what they are: tools of Satan to distract and divide the Lord's people so the evil one can compromise the work of the Kingdom!

Today's Prayer

Dear Father, my righteous and gracious Father, these verses remind me of Jesus' prayer shortly before his death.* Jesus prayed that we could be one so that the world would know that you sent him. Forgive us for our disunity, petty quarrels, and divisiveness. I know they break the heart of the Savior and distract us from our mission and divide us, discrediting us with those we are trying to reach. Break our hearts and lead us to repentance — a full turning away from contentiousness and a return to Jesus' mission for us as your people. In Jesus' name and for his name to be known by others, I pray. Amen.

* See the first reference in Related Scripture Readings. Jesus had several prayers on the night he was betrayed, but the focus of the prayer in this passage is unity.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 17:1-26
  • John 13:31-35; 1 John 3:11-18

Illustration

Illustration of Acts 15:30-35 NLT — The messengers [carrying the letter from the apostles and elders in Jerusalem] went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.

Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

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About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.