Sunday's Conversation

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 at 8:31 AM

*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at*

This past Sunday evening we jumped back into our journey into the book of Acts with chapter 15. Here we have the first scenario of it's kind for the early Church. Some "Judaizers" (Christians who still bound themselves to the requirements of the Law of Moses) had begun to spread false doctrine among the new Gentile (non-Jewish) followers of Jesus in the city of Antioch. They were teaching the people that before they could be saved they must be circumcised--which was a requirement under the Law of Moses.

Enter our first topic of discussion. Was there anything wrong with circumcision? Of course not! The symbolism of the act is actually quite beautiful for the people of God. The physical cutting of excess flesh (and we all know where that was located!) symbolized the cutting off of our spiritual "flesh"--which is our nature of sin. The error in the teaching, however, was that it is NOT required before one can be "saved"! In fact, the apostle Paul goes on to say in Romans 2:25-29 that circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the circumcision of the heart that only Christ can perform!

At any rate, Paul and Barnabas are not happy campers upon learning of this fallacy that is being spread. They "sharply dispute" those who are guilty of the teaching, and then when they cannot resolve it among themselves--off to Jerusalem for the first early Church council, The Council at Jerusalem.

To make a long story short (though I hope you'll read the whole story for yourself), the Council decided to only require four things from the new Gentile Christians: 1) abstain from food sacrificed to idols 2) abstain from blood 3) abstain from the meat of strangled animals 4) abstain from sexual immorality. Who is it though who made the first stand (at least as Luke recorded it here in Acts)? The apostle Peter. "So what?" you might be saying to yourself. Just a few chapters back Peter--who used to be allllll about being a "good Jew"--had a vision.

His vision was a good ole' fashion but kicking from God that was used to reveal some faulty theology in his own life. In his vision he saw a sheet being let down with all kinds of animals in it and the voice of the Lord saying "kill and eat". The problem for Peter was that among the animals were some that were ceremonially "unclean" for Jews to eat, so Peter felt he would be sinning in doing so. The Lord goes on to chastise him with the words, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean". Can't you just hear those words of the Lord resonating in Peter's heart as he sits in the Council at Jerusalem??? "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." Peter..."Do not call anything impure that God has made clean!!" So what does Peter say to the council? Essentially, do not call anything impure that the Lord has made clean--including the Gentiles who He calls His own!

My question: what things (or who) do I deem as unclean, that the Lord has made pure?


Blogger Rick said...

Harry Potter
Work on Sunday

to name a few...

Happy Thanksgiving Jeffrey and all!

November 23, 2005 5:16 AM

Blogger Kat Coble said...

Good list, Rick.

November 23, 2005 1:05 PM


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