“The Bottom Line”

Acts 15: 12-28

Paul and Barnabas arrive in Jerusalem to report to the elders.  How is the dynamic of Gentiles coming to faith be combined with the existing Jewish believers?  Should the Gentile believers be required to become Jews and accept the Mosaic law or is something new becoming evident?  Sometimes we only see through a glass dimly as the future approaches.  The elders  in Jerusalem listen silently and recognize the bottom line.  God initiated life in the Gentiles.  The Gentiles demonstrated the same dynamics as the early believers showing the presence of the Holy Spirit.  They referred to Scripture and saw that what was happening was fulfilling prophecy.  Therefore…  

         The bottom line was that God was working with the Gentiles.  But what was the bottom line of how to proceed.  Four criteria were agreed to be basic.  Do not eat food polluted by idols.  Do not be involved with sexual immorality.  Do not eat meat of strangled animals.  And do not eat blood.  These four things would be stumbling blocks to forming community.  How many times do we make rules that divide and do not enhance unity?

         If we were asked today what the bottom line is for us in worship, what would we say?  Perhaps reflect on what you truly appreciate about your worship experience.  Is it “tradition” for is it core to your faith beliefs?  Lord, give us wisdom to discern what the real issues are when we disagree.  Help us to see your hand working to bring people to you.  Thank you for the forgiveness you have given me for my mistakes and for those who have been patient with me as I have grown in faith.  Blessings!

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