Together for the Gospel.

March 12, 2022 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: The Gospel Scripture: Acts 15:1–11

In an article written for the 9 Marks Journal, the author asked a panel of pastors and theologians the following questions: Is there a race problem in the American church? Are whites missing it? Why? What implications does this have for the church’s proclamation of the gospel?

Here where some of the answers: “Many white evangelicals are more loyal to their culture than they are to the Gospel”. Another pastor answered, “The spread of the gospel will continue to be hindered by the sin of racism. We are quick to declare the Scriptures to be the final court of appeal for what we believe and practice, but there is a noticeable inconsistency between our rhetoric and our behaviour. We have muzzled the gospel so that it can fit within our cultural, racial and religious traditions”.

The problem of muzzling the gospel so that it can fit into a particular culture or tradition, or race is not a new problem for modern day churches and Christians. We see this problem in our text this morning, but we also see the solution to this problem. Our text is didived into 3 parts:

  1. Certain Men (15:1-4)
  2. Certain Pharisees (15:5-6)
  3. The Certain Gospel (15:7-11) 

Do you know what it means to be saved by grace alone? Even though there was no doubt in Paul and Barnabas’ minds about what the true gospel was, they humbly went to the Jerusalem church (as requested by the Antioch Church) to the apostles and elders, about this teaching in question. Acts 15:1 says "But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

What is most important, and I believe this is the conclusion that Peter makes in his rejection of circumcision and the customs of the Mosiac law, is that Salvation is by grace alone!

There is no distinction in Christ between Jewish background believers and Gentile background believers. Everyone who comes to Christ has their heart cleansed by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Romans 3:30: “Since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”

What should bind us together is the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. In James 2:1, Christians are commanded to, “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory”. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it essential to emphasize justification by faith alone, with nothing added (see Rom. 4:2)?
  2. Can a Catholic believe in the teachings of his church and be truly saved? Why/ why not?
  3. Some church teaches that you have to talk in tongues in order to be saved? Why is this teaching a threat to the biblical gospel?
  4. How do you harmonize James 2:14-26 and Romans 4?

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