What Must We Do To Be Saved?

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Who acts chapter 15? Acts chapter 15 and as we've been walking through the book of Acts together. It has been I think more normal for us to take a couple chapters for Sunday. I didn't have been for us to zoom in on one but we're even going to just look at parts of chapter 15 this morning and as we do so, I want to help us understand what's been going on in the book of Acts to this point. Right? What what is got us here? And that is Jesus gathered the disciples before he ascended into heaven and he told them I'm going to leave but you are to wait until power from on high comes up on you. You will be my Witnesses in Jerusalem in Judea Samaria and to the ends of the Earth. And so Jesus leaves and the church is there in Jerusalem in there waiting just like Jesus said and as they wait the spirit comes and fills them in and they begin to preach the gospel there. Jerusalem and as Anthony said a couple weeks ago they keep preaching the gospel in Jerusalem and they keep preaching the gospel in Jerusalem, but that was never the point for it to just stay in Jerusalem. And so God pushes them I and persecution begins to rise and they begin to go out into Judea and Samaria and then you have this church at Antioch that was started by some nameless people who went and shared the gospel and they didn't just share it with the Jews. They shared it with the Gentiles as well. And that is the birth of this church there and Antioch will the church at Antioch. They begin to make a bunch of disciples. Were they are but then God says now I want you to send out Paul and Barnabas and I want you to send them out and they're going to start this process of seeing the gospel go to the ends of the Earth. In Acts 15 we see some of the a problem that arises out of that and there's this problem that comes up because the church is being faithful to do with the church is supposed to do there supposed to go there supposed to make disciples and they're being faithful to that. But the problem comes up in Acts chapter 15 and I don't know if you've ever been a part of a church where a problem comes up. And the people of God are faced with a challenge, but it seems like the Lord is gracious to us and giving his word. That wasn't just written about them. For us and it guides us. So let's pray together and then let's dive into the word together. Lord God

we are here for you. because only you are worthy of our attention and worthy of our praise and worthy of our dependence only you got are capable of saving and sustaining us. Carrying on the good work that you started in US. The father I pray that we would see you as we look at your word gotten as we consider how I you moved in your early church. May we desired just as much to see you continue to move in this church. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen. Then Acts chapter 15 what happens is now that you have up to this point. The church was largely Jewish and I don't want to make the assumption that when I say Jewish you're thinking the same thing that I'm thinking but what I mean is the church was largely built of those who had the Old Testament which they didn't call the Old Testament because there was no new testament yet. They have the Bible. They have the scriptures that have the Revelation from God to them from Genesis to Malachi. And in that they recognize that God had been preparing his people to receive their Messiah to receive their King just because that king showed up which is what those early Christians in Jerusalem believe. Didn't mean that they started scuse me ignoring the rest of the book. They were still keeping the Old Testament law. They were still focused on honoring God by keeping his word. But now you have this interesting thing that starts to happen. Now, you've got people who are saying Jesus is the king that the Jews were waiting for but as a gentile,

I want in on that. I want in on this word that you're proclaiming the church was going out and telling people that because Messiah had come and because Messiah had died and rose again, when did the kingdom of heaven was near which meant that God's Reign Over the world was soon-to-be Ignacio rated, which meant that the only hope of Salvation was to put yourself in that kingdom was to submit to that King and for people who have grown up with the Tanakh who'd grown up with the Old Testament. They were looking at this and they were thinking yeah, I see how Jesus fulfills all of these prophecies that we have in our profits that we have clear back from Genesis all the way through we've been waiting for this. But then you have these Gentiles. You start saying well, yeah, we didn't know a whole lot about Moses or Abraham But we like this Jesus you guys are talking about. And they say we wanted Jesus is our King to and this causes a little bit of controversy in the church there in Antioch. They are Gentiles and yet they're claiming this Jewish Messiah and that's where we pick up inversed one of chapter 15, read it with me if you will, but some men came down from Judea and we're teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses. You cannot be saved. Unless you are circumcised according to the law of Moses. You cannot be saved. What was the issue salvation is found in no other name, but that of Jesus Christ Jesus Christ is King and it's only those who submit to his kingship who will be saved from the wrath of God to come. But now you have these people who are saying wait a second. Time out you Gentiles a bunch of Johnny come lately is to the party. You think you get in on this without having to go through the hard stuff of keeping the Mosaic law. It's interesting to me that they pull out circumcision as that hard thing, but they're saying look you can't get off so lightly we've had to keep this lot for all of our life. We had to pay attention to what Moses said and what Abraham said and see what David said and what Solomon said to all of the problems. We've had to memorize this in synagogue school and we've had to do all of these things.

You can't just show up and get all the benefits with none of the hard work. You got to keep the law to be safe. Well, this is a this is a problem. Because that was not how the word was preached to the Gentiles at first. The word was not freed. You have to convert to be a Jew and then you can be a Christian. You have to submit yourself to Moses and then you can submit yourself to Christ. They were told submit to Jesus repent of your sins believe in Jesus. Be baptized. end let's go. Let's do this. Now there's this controversy men from Judea these Jews, they start saying unless you keep the law of Moses. You cannot be saved verse 2 and after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles in the elders about this question. So being sent on their way by the Phoenicians Mary describing detailed the conversion of the Gentiles and brought great joy to all the brothers when they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles in the elders and they declared to all that got it done. But some believers who belong to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said it is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses. Here's the problem. Here in the life of the church the inclusion of the Gentiles among the people of God has created a problem and it really comes down to a disagreement about the nature of Salvation on the one hand. You have a group of people saying keep the law. So that Jesus can be your King on the other hand. You have a group of people who are saying. Jesus is your king. . It's two different views of how to be saved. Do you have to do good things to make God Like You Or just God like you now you're going to do some good things, which is it. It's two fundamentally different views and here's the problem and I think I think we're guilty of this today as well. So so this is that moment where we have to say. Okay. Yeah, we really want to say tell the Pharisees they're wrong, but I think this kind of sneaks into our understanding of our faith as well. I think we have a tendency to view the law of God like like Mount Everest, you know, and it's like yeah, it's really hard to climb Mount Everest. But if you try you can do it and some of us approach our Christian Life that way we're like, well, we know that God wants us to love God love others and make disciples and we know that he wants all of these things from us and if we just try really hard will make it to the top of that Summit and God will be finally happy with us. God will finally be satisfied with his will finally have done enough. for him Friends, I'm here to tell you this morning that keeping the lawmaking got happy with you by doing good works is not like climbing Mount Everest. It's not it's like trying to climb to the Moon while you're building the ladder and no space suit. That's doing good works to make God. Love you. You can't get there from here. It doesn't work. That way. You can climb Mount Everest. If you try hard enough, you can't make it to the moon on a ladder with no space suit. It just ain't going to happen. I don't think you can make it to the Moon with a space suit. That's Food For Thought later. No, you cannot do enough good things for God to love you. You cannot earn salvation and hear this group of people are coming in and saying no you cannot let these Gentiles just Waltz in here and receive Grace unless they clean up their acts first.

But praise the Lord this is not the perspective that one out. Praise the Lord that this is not the gospel that Jesus wanted his church to preach be good enough so that God will love you know, that's not the gospel. Jesus wanted his church to preach. That's not the gospel that we ought to be proclaiming to ourselves or to our neighbors or to this world the gospel that we Proclaim is this

by faith

God offers you grace through his son Jesus Christ Alone. It Is by Grace you are saved not of works We Proclaim that and that is what happens in this Council. You got this party say no you got to do good works to be saved and semi stand up at this note. I'm out looking for 6 with me. The apostles in the elders were gathered together to consider this matter and after they've been much debate Peter stood up and said to them brothers, you know that in the early days. God made a choice among you that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe and God who knows the heart bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us and he made no distinction between us and them having cleanse their hearts by faith now therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to Bear but we believe it will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus just as they will We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus just as they will. Paul is calling out the hypocrisy of these who would say you got to become a Jew to become a Christian. He saying look you already know. You don't keep the law. You already know that none of our forefathers. Did you already know that this doesn't work? You know that it's only by grace that we Jews will be saved. So why is it so hard to say? It's only by grace that the Gentiles will be saved. I want you to understand that this morning because there's there's two kinds of people. Generally in a church building on on a Sunday morning. There are people who are here because they're trying to impress god with how good they are and they are people who are here who are a little afraid that they're just not good enough people trying to impress God people who worry that they're just not enough. And this morning? I don't know which Camp you fall in your here working earning doing trying to make God. Love you or you here this morning and you feel utterly inadequate. And utterly unworthy. I want you I want me to hear this clearly. You can't earn your way to Jesus. You can't earn your way to Grace. You want to get to the moon don't build the ladder?

You got to climb in the spaceship. You want it you want to do the impossible? You better trust somebody who specializes in them. Jesus Christ rose from the dead

Jesus Christ lives forever you can trust him. Whether you feel like you're trying you got to earn it or whether you feel like you don't deserve it. You can trust Jesus and this church here in the in the early part of Acts here. They're saying don't obey the law to be saved. Recognize that it's all by Grace now be easy at this point to say. prove it Prove it shows hands how many of you have stood before the Judgment seat of God and you know what the what the curve is, you know what we're graded on. No.

Doesn't it seem like we ought to have something more than just Peters word for it that were saved by grace? Doesn't it seem because I'm assuming that most of us in here are knots of of the Jewish faith and Heritage doesn't it seem like if we Gentiles are depending on grace through faith. That we should have more than just one guy's word for it. Yeah, if we're supposed to be learning our way to heaven don't you think we should know that now so we can get started because that seems like a pretty tall task.

And that's where God is gracious again. If he doesn't expect us to take Peters word for it. He wants us to see these are two potential views of how you are saved work Grace. But then he shows us proof. proof that we can trust that is we are saved by grace and not by works. The first proof that we see is referred to their inverse 12 and the assembly fell silent. They listen to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. If you want proof that you don't have to keep the Old Testament law to be safe. If you want proof that you don't have to earn God's love. look at the fact that God did the same thing amongst the Gentiles that he did amongst the Jews the Jews are his chosen people the Jews are his favored ones and yet the exact same thing was happening among the Gentiles look at the history of God's people whenever God's people get distracted and they say we've got to earn it we've got to do more to keep God's love. Always shows up and says no you don't this is true in the Old Testament I desire mercy and not sacrifice the message of the prophets I don't care how many offerings you're making I'm not going to listen Because you're trusting in them and not in me. We see this in the Old Testament and then peed in the New Testament that Jewish Christians receive the grace of God. They didn't earn it when Jesus died what happened to the disciples?

They scattered. They didn't want any part of a Christianity that would cost them something. They don't want any part of a kingdom that would take their King. They didn't want any part of this anymore. They didn't want to Bear the shame and reproach of the cross.

Does Jesus then rise from the dead and say you guys didn't earn it? You didn't have faith. You didn't stay by me now. He shows up to me even goes to one of them in particular. We call him doubting Thomas, right? I think I think I got a lot more in common with doubting Thomas than I want to admit.

I totally get where he's coming from.

I don't think I can believe this. And Jesus doesn't reject him. He says here I am. Go ahead touch it.

And he welcomes Thomas in and he welcomes the disciples in these are Jews who have been taught all their life. If you want God to love you. You have to do the right things. Will they just spent three days doing all the wrong things?

Rejecting their Messiah and yet he shows up anyways. So when the Gentiles get the gospel when the Gentiles receive this and guess what? The immediately are given Grace they immediately receive the Holy Spirit. They immediately begin to praise God they immediately begin to form local Fellowship celebrating what God has done amongst them immediately. We ought to take notes. They didn't have to become Jews to become Christians. They're already there because of God's grace to them. They're already saved. And so the fact that God has done the same work among the Gentiles as he did among the Jews ought to give us a great deal of encouragement that the same is true for us. Did the grace of God is available to us? Even if we don't look right dress light right act right have the right name have the right whatever. The grace of God is available to us just like it was for the Gentiles the signs and wonders that God did among the Jews. He did among the Gentiles. We have a tendency to look at that and to say

prove it they already did. He already proved it's been the opposite tendency is that we might take that and say well is God can do that. If God can save people it regardless of what they do, and I know what your regard this is an award and some of you just freaked out. But even if God can save people who don't work to earn it, then why in the world do we need to obey Jesus? Why do we need to share the gospel? Why do we need to respond to his call? And I think it comes down to this grace is what saves us. And then God in his grace invites us to be a part of taking this message out. Anthony talked about the dim right the dim who took the gospel to Antioch, no names no, no impressive resumes. Just faithful Saints doing faithful things because Jesus had given them Grace. We have a tendency to Discount our responsibility for faithfulness. We have a tendency to say, well. If you did that work then do it now. I'm waiting. Instead of saying well God you did that work. Now that gives me a great deal of encouragement to do it myself William Carey. That's a name that I hope is familiar to some of you William Carey was British pastor and Shoemaker and God gave him a heart to take the gospel to the Nations. He stood up in a Baptist Association meeting and any talked about this. He said God wants us to take the gospel to the Nations. An elder Pastor in the association stood up and said young man sit down. If God wants to save the Heathen, he will do it without your help or mine.

That's taking Grace. too far Grace saves us but that Grace invites us into a life committed to the cause of Christ a life that says what is the best use of my days for the sake of the Kingdom? This is not a question just for Peter to answer or for Barnabas to answer or for Paul to answer this a question for each of us to answer. If God has done the same work among the Gentiles but he did among the Jews if the intention of God is at the gospel would go to Every tribe every tongue and every nation if the intention of God is not to make a bunch of lockkeepers, but to make a bunch of Christ's followers. What is the best use of my life? How do I live that at William Carey went as a missionary to India? He was like the missionaries that we just saw on the Lottie Moon video. Who are using their lives there?

Andrew Fuller a good friends of William Carey never left home never left his country. And yet he wrote the theology that undergirded William carries Mission and he raised the money that allowed William Carey to do what he was called to do. I don't know what it is that God wants you to do. If God is saying to you. those faces that you saw Those are yours to go in to reach if God is saying to you. I want you to be a carrier of the Gospel to the nation then it has a Christ follower not to earn Grace. But because of Grace you say yes, just like Barnabas and Paul. But God may not be doing that job may just be stirring your heart right now to say you know, what? I am going to be an instrument of unity in the local congregation. God has put me in. I am going to be somebody who gives sacrificially to the cause of missions. That's what God wants me to do. The question is not what did God do for the Jews will now the Gentiles have to do that, too. The question is what does God want me to do in light of his grace? So two proofs God has done the same work among the Gentiles that he did the Jews and all of the implications of that for our lives. The second proof that is given here in Acts 15 though. Is that God already told his people that this was the plan to bring the Gentiles in. Got already told his people that he was going to bring the Gentiles into his kingdom and if they would not lose their identity of is dancehall. They would not become Jews to become part of the Kingdom. They would stay Gentiles what they would now be in the Kingdom. Look at verse 13 after they finish speaking James replied Brothers. Listen to me Simeon his related how God first visited the Jen's house to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree just as it is written after this. I will return And I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen. I will rebuild its ruins and I will restore it. Did the remnant of mankind May seek the Lord and all the Gentiles who are called by my name says the Lord who makes these things known from of old. Do you understand? Did the purpose of God has not changed? Do you understand when you read the Old Testament a read the law some people say, well you Christians you don't you don't really want the Bible to be applied literally because you know, you guys are out there eating shrimp, you know bacon wrapped shrimp even worse. Right end up in the end of the Old Testament clearly says don't eat, you know, the Crustaceans don't eat the pigs and hear you guys are challenge down on it. So you don't really want to apply the word of God and we can point to this and we can say yeah. Yeah, we do. We do want to apply the word of God to our lives. But you're missing the point. If you think that the word of God is a list of rules that we have to keep to make God happy with this. You need to understand that God's intent has always been to point us to this reality. He will build his kingdom.

and nobody nobody can do anything to get in order to get somebody out if he's put them in the Gates of Hell will not Prevail is what we're told. God promise to bring the Gentiles into the kingdom not to keep a bunch of laws. But 2.2 his sovereignty James quotes hear from The Book of Amos. Now, it's been a while back we talk we looked at the different prophets Amos is one of my favorites Amos doesn't pull any punches and this passage right here would be one that was really a slap in the face. To a Jew who said well God doesn't care about the Gentiles. He's all about it. God doesn't care about those people out there. He only cares about us and God says no. I've always intended that by Grace my kingdom will be built and that it would be wider borders than you could imagine. We've got to get back to a revelation 5:9 vision for the church. We've got to get back to an understanding of the Kingdom that is bigger than where we are. We have a tendency to limit God's work to just what we can see. Rather than what he can see. We have a tendency to say God. This is what's in view for me there for this is all that must be in view for you. And he says know if you want to understand the vision of God, you need to look at Revelation 5:9. Revelation 5:9 is where we see God's intent for his kingdom. It's not about the Jews in Jerusalem. If not about Judea and Samaria. It's not even about the ends of the Earth. It's about the Son of God receiving Glory as king from his subjects drawn from every tribe every tongue Every Nation every people group. That is the vision of God. So do not limit. God's work to watch you can see instead. They God give me a vision for a work that only you can see the Pharisees here who were saying what they got to become Jews to become Christians. They're missing it their limiting God's work to their perspective. Well, if it God's got to do it for them the way you did it for us know God is bringing them by his grace in his time through the means of his choosing. We need to see that as well. So we have these two views. You have to keep the law to be saved your saved by grace through faith. We have two proofs. God has revealed both by what he's done among the Gentiles his salvation by grace and by what is revealed in his word in the Old Testament that this is his intent for his kingdom that we would be brought into the kingdom through no Act of our own so So what?

When that matter was that do for us today how many of us? Came in this morning with the number one consideration in our minds. I wonder if I need to quit eating shrimp. I wonder if that bacon was a sin this morning. Well, if you ate bacon this morning, you're making me send cuz I didn't eat bacon. So that's jealousy that I'm feeling right now.

These are issues for us anymore. For most of us we're not thinking about do I have to become a Jew in order to follow Jesus?

however There's an important principle several important principles that we need to take away from this look at how the church respond. So so Paul and Barnabas say God doing the same thing among the Gentiles but he is among you right and then James says this has been God's intention from all along to bring people by grace through faith into his kingdom. Now look at the so what verse 19 there for my judgment is that we should not trouble those Gentiles who turn to God, but we should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by Idols from sexual immorality from what has been strangled and from blood for from ancient Generations Moses had in every city those who Proclaim him for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues. James says here's what I believe. The Lord is leading us to do in light of this controversy in light of these competing views of Salvation in light of what we've seen about what God's done among the Gentiles in light of his word. Here's what we need to do. Don't make it harder than God intended for people to enter the kingdom of heaven. Don't make it harder than God intended for people to enter the kingdom. The first thing he says is we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God. We shouldn't say to them. All right. Now we know we know we kind of presented this as a you just have to you know do this thing. But now we're going to raise the bar and you got to do this thing as well. Don't trouble the Gentiles don't make it harder for the Gentiles to come to Faith. Don't tell him they've got to keep the law to receive Grace help them understand that God's grace is given regardless of our merits regardless of our works. Don't make it harder for the Gentiles to come in. And if that's where he stopped. Then the Christian Life will just be a free-for-all. Do do what you want your saved by grace, but that's not where he stops. He says don't make it harder for the Gentiles to come in by making them keep the law to receive Grace, but also don't make it harder for the Jews. To see the gospel because the Gentiles haven't changed. Don't make it harder for the Jews by saying to the Gentiles. It doesn't matter how you live. And so this is both and gentiles you don't have to keep the law to be saved. However, you have a responsibility to your Jewish brothers and sisters and to the Jewish members of your community to not put a stumbling block in the way of them recognizing their Messiah Jewish brothers and sisters. You have a responsibility to not make it harder for the Gentiles. But at the same time you can ask them to respect you and to respect the way that you see the World by saying put away these Pagan Lifestyles that you've been living. Jesus Jesus sets come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest take my yoke upon you. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. James the saying don't put a heavy burden where Jesus says I put a light one. But don't treat the freedom that you have in Christ as an excuse to do whatever you want recognize that your freedom in Christ is bounded by your responsibility to those around you. Recognize that we don't need to ask people to clean up their act to come to Jesus.

It is a indictment on our fellowship if anybody walks in and says well, apparently you have to look this way smell this way or talk this way to be welcome here. There's a great Temptation for us to hyper spiritualize Church. And to say this is the minimum threshold of behavior.

No, God says everybody comes in. Do you want to come in come on in but it is also true. Did those who come in ought to be changed? Ought to be changed by the example of Christ and not to be changed by the responsibilities. We bare to one another. Don't clean up your act to come in. But don't stay the same once you are. James gives several different guidelines here. He goes for guidelines abstain from things polluted by Idols from sexual immorality from what has been strangled and from blood and we look at that and we think so no more rare steak. Now he's talking about. No, he pulls out specifically those things that the Jews in every city as he sets would see in the Gentiles lives in Stacy's. That's why Jesus can't be right because look at what those people are doing specifically he he looks at things of table Fellowship. What's you're willing to eat and home fellowship. What's your willing to do in your own life? He says this is where the gospel needs to start making a difference in you not to save you. But because you're not to not to put a burden on you. Did Jesus doesn't foot but to recognize that you have a responsibility to making the gospel intelligible to those around you? He says basically he might have to limit your freedom. For the sake of others you might have to limit which you're allowed to do.

For others. He talks about things that are tied directly to Pagan worship. The meat sacrificed to Idols the Strangling the blood these were all things that were part of various Pagan rites in the day. So was the sexual immorality Part of the worship of some of the Mediterranean Cults involved ritual defilements with temple workers. And the Jews would look at that and say no. these people cannot do that and also claim our Messiah Etta James says understand that this isn't to save you but this is the transformation that comes from being saved second thing that James says

Is it we have to do everything possible to demonstrate unity and to encourage the brothers around us the brothers and sisters around look at verse 22 did it seem Goods the apostles in the elders with the whole church to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called bar sabes and Silas Leading Men among Brothers with the following letter the brothers both the apostles in the LDS to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch in Syria and cilicia greetings, since we have heard that some people have gone out from amongst us and troubled you with words and settling your minds. Although we gave them no instructions. It seemed good to us having come to one Accord to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We're there for Saint Judas and Silas who themselves will tell you the same thing by word-of-mouth for it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements that you abstain from what? Sacrificed to idols and from blood from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep the yourselves from these things you will do well well farewell, so when they said off they went to Antioch and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter and when they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement and Judas and Silas who are themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. And after they had spent some time they were sent off in Peace by the brothers to those who had sent them but Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch teaching and preaching the word of the Lord with many others also, James says All right. This issue could divide us this issue could cause a rift and so what can we do to demonstrate Unity to promote peace and to encourage the brothers? He says here what we'll do we'll send Paul and Barnabas to him two guys that they know well and will send a couple of guys from here demonstrating that unit that they have and we're going to encourage them ignore what these people have been troubling you have said instead focus on your Unity with your Jewish brothers and sisters focused on the grace of God, even as you do these things to honor those in your community, and this is what the goal is for us as Christ followers today to take this to heart to not disparage those who may draw the lines in different places than we do. There are so many issues that have been hitting us right and left in this year of 2020 so many things where people who desperately want to honor Christ as king come two entirely different conclusions there been so many opportunities for the church to divide over race over politics over masks.

Not touching that nevermind.

Look if the Jewish Christians could say my Heritage literally that I drank and from the moment. I was born. Did Moses's law was God's revelation to us? And the keeping it was the privilege of God's chosen people if they can put that aside and say you know what God. We see what you're doing and we're going to put no burden on them balloon what you do? What can we live with when our brother or sister disagrees with us? What can we not even put up with? But even celebrates the differences between us and say look at this testimony to God's grace. You don't have to be a republican to go to heaven. You don't have to be a Democrat to go to heaven. How cool is that?

Do not disparage those who draw the lines in different places than you do so long as the gospel is held out so long as salvation by grace through faith is held out so long as Christ is Anointed and held his King. What more do we want? What more are we looking for? Next actively seek relationships with those who disagree with you. It would have been so easy. There's a story in church history that I love that about this time James and Paul in the midst of this discussion over what the gospel entails. Did. They got into a fist fight on the steps of the Temple. I don't know if it's true, but I always love church history because you get little glimpses of these guys were just guys just like we are right. So apparently James and Paul duked it out. On this issue before they came to this conclusion. It said it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us as he's you know stuff in the closet up in his bloody nose. It's not that the differences don't matter. It's just that they're not ultimate and it's that we ought to make every effort to cultivate relationships with those who view things differently than we do. The last thing we need is for the church to be just another Echo chamber amongst a culture of echo Chambers where everybody thinks the same no actively seek relationships with those who disagree with you James sends out two of the brothers from Jerusalem to of these faithful Jews well-regarded among the Brethren there. He sends them to the Gentiles nieces. Look, we don't just want you to do your thing over there. And we do our thing over here. We want to be United. Yes. We have different cultures. Yes. We have different Heritage. Yes figuring out how the gospel of flies in our different days live cultures is going to look kind of messy at times but

We're In It Together seek relationships with those who disagree with you don't focus on the negative focus on the positive if you can just do this for its Gentiles it would be helpful to us Jews. Don't focus on the fact that I told you four things that we could really use your help here. What do they do? They receive this and they could have said well, that's just law and we don't have to keep the law and blah blah blah. They say no they were encouraged and they were Joyce. They saw that this testimony to the common things was worthy. They saw that it was right. So three takeaways briefly. Love for one. Another is the primary identifier of God's people. Love for one. Another is the primary identifier of God's people Jesus said they are watching world will know you are my disciples by.

your love for one another if we put anything else in that place and say this is what marks the people have got this is what we need as a church. And it's not if it's not love for one another we've missed something vile. That's how Jesus says will be identified in that happens. When we disagree with one another that happens when we're in fellowship with one another that happens all the time. Love for one. Another is the primary identifier of God's people seconds.

Trust Jesus and not yourself for salvation. Trust Jesus and not yourself for salvation If I Had a Hammer I would drive this home because if you're anything like me you have a tendency to shift that and even if you start out it started out today saying I'm going to trust use for my salvation you shift and you start thinking well, if I do this guy to like me, if I do this got to be happy trust Jesus not yourself for salvation. then finally I want to read a poem to you that has Ben much much on my mind recently and will close with this and then I'll invite the worship team to come. The title of the poem is only one life by c t Studd. Two little lines. I heard one day traveling along life's busy way bringing conviction to my heart and from my mind would not departs only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last? Only one life. Yes. Only one soon. Will it's fleeting hours be done then in that day my Lord to meet and stand before his judgment seat. Only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last only one life the still Small Voice gently pleads for a better choice bidding me selfish. Aims to leave and to God's holy will take leave only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last only one life a few brief years each with its burdens hopes and fears each with its Clay's. I must fulfill living for self or in his will only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last? When this bright world would tempt me sore when Satan would a victory score when South would seek to have its way then help me Lord with joy to say only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last? Give me Father a purpose deep enjoy or sorrow that word to keep faithful and true. What are The Strife pleasingly in my daily life only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ? Will last o let my love with fervor burn in from the world. Now. Let me turn living for the and the alone bringing the pleasure on the throne. Only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last only one life. Yes. Only one. Now. Let me say that I will be done and when At Last I hear the call, I know I'll say it was worth it all only one life twill soon be past only What's Done For Christ will last? Please respond to the Lord and worship worship team.

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