Paul Arrested in Jerusalem.

August 14, 2022 Preacher: Thinus Meyer Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Acts 21:15–40

In our study today, we are going to look at the events that occurred when Paul got to Jerusalem.

  1. Church Meeting (v.15-25)
  2. Paul in the Temple (v.26-30)
  3. Romans to the Rescue (v.31-40)

Paul and his traveling companions began their journey to Jerusalem from Caesarea.  As they headed toward Jerusalem, some of the disciples in Caesarea escorted Paul and his companions to the house of a special man of God of many years, named Mnason. The very next day after arriving in Jerusalem, Paul and his companions met with James, the half-brother of the Lord and pastor of the church in Jerusalem, along with the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

It seems that James and the elders were not concerned over the fact that these believing Jews were still zealous for the Law of Moses. Not only that, but the leaders themselves probably would have been uncomfortable with Paul’s view that Jewish Christians are free from the ceremonial aspects of the Law. Their citation of the Jerusalem decrees (21:25) shows that they were still, after all of these years, hung up over the details of what believing Gentiles should and should not do on these matters. Their focus should have been on Christ as “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4). But rather than seeing Paul’s visit as an opportunity to teach the believing Jews these great truths and to clarify any misconceptions that they have about Paul’s teaching, they propose a compromise that would emphasis the law, traditions and customs above the gospel. 

We today probably cannot grasp the idea of how difficult it must have been for the Jerusalem church to overthrow their entire cultural traditions and mentality of the people in law-keeping, from which the Jewish nation was built. In their effort not to offend these Jews so as to reach them with the gospel, the leaders had allowed them to come into the church and yet hang onto their Jewish ceremonies and customs without showing them that Christ was the fulfillment of these things. They should have been in the process of educating these Jewish believers that in Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile (Gal. 3:28). They should have been pointing them toward taking the gospel to every tongue and tribe and nation, and that God is no respecter of a man’s race (Acts 10:34-35).   

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you agree that Paul erred by going along with this scheme? Why/why not?
  2. What is the difference between a mistake and a sin? Where do motives fit in?
  3. How can we discern which issues to compromise on and which issues require taking a stand even if it creates conflict? (Study the life of Jesus in this regard.)
  4. Some professing Christians try to defend racism biblically. How would you refute them? How can our church practically show that God’s mercy transcends racial boundaries?

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