Unstoppable! 'Spirit-led Communication' — Acts 15:22-29

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

[At the end of the meeting about whether Gentile Christians had to follow Jewish customs,] the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders — Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. This is the letter they took with them:

"This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

"We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.

"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell."

— Acts 15:22-29 NLT

Key Thought

I love this line from the letter crafted by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem: "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." There is no clear statement or explanation about the Holy Spirit's communication with them other than the spiritual leaders came together to discuss, discern, and seek the leading of the Spirit to accomplish the mission that Jesus had given them (Acts 1:8). They had experienced the Spirit's guidance when they assembled to pray as spiritual leaders in both Jerusalem and Antioch.* While moderns want precise formulas and spiritual recipes for success, the Scriptures gave us examples of prayer, worship, fasting, referring to Scripture, seeking the Lord's guidance, and the discussion of Spirit-led leaders as the way the Holy Spirit guided and spoke to the Lord's people. We would do well to follow these examples with humility, graciousness, and thanksgiving.

* See the Related Scripture Readings for a few examples of these principles.

Today's Prayer

Father and LORD, please guide us and empower us today as you did in days of old. We ask you, Jesus, to make your will clear to us as we seek to fulfill our mission to share your Good News with the lost world. O, Holy Spirit, please fill us, give us wisdom to know how best to do what we need to do, and give us the power to do it. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 1:12-14, 15-26, 2:1-4, 4:23-31
  • Acts 11:27-30, 12:1-17, 13:1-3

Illustration

Illustration of Acts 15:22-29 NLT — [At the end of the meeting about whether Gentile Christians had to follow Jewish customs,] the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders — Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. This is the letter they took with them:

"This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

"We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.

"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell."

Comments

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.