Why did Paul go to Jerusalem in Acts 15? Would not the Holy Spirit have guided them in answer to their question? Another great question that was turned in by one of YOU. Let’s take a few lines to consider this excellent question. Will you study it with me?
It is certainly true that Jesus promised the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into ALL truth! Notice John 16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. And, John 14:26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. There should be no question in anyone’s mind whether or not the apostles (including Paul) knew every single thing that they needed to know to do the work of spreading the saving message. Jesus’ words make that perfectly clear.
So then, there must have been some other reason that a meeting took place in Acts 15. Let’s read it… Acts 15:1-2 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (2) When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. Luke informs us here that certain Judaizing teachers were causing problems (dissension and disputation). They were seeking to bind parts of the Law of Moses upon Gentiles. Let us not for one moment think that Paul was confused about this matter or that he needed consultation with others before he could give his answer to these false teachers! Listen to what Paul wrote: Galatians 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (12) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The truth of the gospel was revealed to Paul by Jesus Christ and he had the exact same authority and guidance that the other apostles did.
Back to Acts 15.1-2. Let’s ask the question: What word is the antecedent for the word THEY in verse 2? Who was it that determined that such a meeting was needed? Grammatically, it could be: PAUL AND BARNABAS. But contextually, that does not make sense because of the phrase: AND CERTAIN OTHER OF THEM. It seems the antecedent has to be THE BRETHREN of verse 1. Paul and Barnabas were quite willing to defend their position in Jerusalem or anywhere else. It was the brethren who were beginning to be influenced by the false teaching of the Judaizers. They needed some confirmation that the position of Paul was the true position.
Those false teachers had attacked the authority of Paul and Paul was thus forced to defend his apostolic authority. That is what he does in 2 Corinthians and Galatians. The thing that came out of the meeting of Acts 15 was recognition that Paul’s position was true and a letter was sent out to the Gentile churches (Acts 15.20). Paul had the SIGNS of an apostle (2 Cor 12.12) and none of the Gentile Christians ever should have questioned Paul’s teaching, but evidently some were in that sad state. Not only was the Judaizing doctrine a problem among the Gentiles, there were many Christians of a Jewish background who also were having difficulty with that particular doctrinal discussion. The doctrine was always WRONG and the Jerusalem meeting simply was one means of getting that message firmly presented among all brethren.
Paul went to Jerusalem for the meeting of Acts 15 because he loved the souls of men—he wanted that question to be answered once and for all, if possible.
Back in 1980 Jimmie Steele preached a sermon about THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM at the Karns church. I used the points he made in his material to broadcast that excellent lesson to my listening audience in western Kentucky over WCBL, 99.1 on the FM dial and AM 1290. He made the following points in the study:
(1) The Doctrine of Baptism is a SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE—It is divinely commanded.
(2) The Doctrine of Baptism is a controversial doctrine among many teachers of the religious world.
(3) Who is the Scriptural subject for baptism?
(4) The Scriptural ELEMENT of baptism, the ONE baptism, is WATER.
(5) The true doctrine of baptism requires ONE mode or method.
(6) Baptism has a scriptural DESIGN or PURPOSE.
(7) All unscripturally taught persons are scriptural subjects STILL for baptism.
Friends, let us make sure that we as individuals have been scripturally taught on the doctrine of baptism. Our souls are too precious for us to be weighed in the balances and found wanting in that final Judgment Day (Rom 14.10-12; 2 Cor 5.10-11; Eccl 12.13-14).
In this radio program we consider the important question: “Have YOU been called of God?” This question pertains to a statement found in Acts 2.39. I sincerely believe that many people misunderstand and pervert this passage. I am using some material from the book: The Hub of the Bible, by J.D. Bales in this discussion.
There is a lot of confusion about being called of God which ought not to be so. The Bible is quite clear in its answers to all of the questions we could possibly come up with regarding God’s calling us. When we are content to allow the Bible to speak, our confusion over this matter quickly disappears. Let’s study this important topic by considering the pertinent Bible passages and let God’s Book guide us in answering the questions.
What Does it mean to be called of God?
Men must call upon God in order to attain salvation according to Acts 2.21. But men cannot call on God unless God first calls men. God calls all men, but only those who respond to His call and call on Him does He save. What does it mean for God to call men? How does God call us? Is the call irresistible? To what does God call us?
Questions answered in this Lesson on what it means to be called of God…
What does CALL mean?
Whom does the Lord call?
How does the Lord call?
Is the call of God irresistible?
What happens to those who heed the call?
From what and to what does God call us?From rebellion to obedience (Acts 2.23 + Acts 2.37-42).
1) From darkness to light (Col 1.13; 1 Peter 2.9).
2) From bondage to liberty (Gal 5.13).
3) From antagonism to fellowship (1 Cor 1.9).
4) To sanctification (1 Cor 1.2).
5) God called us by His own purpose and grace (2 Tim 1.9).
Here is the audio recording of our September 2, 2018 edition of Walking in Truth:
DRL Note: Sometimes good things come in small packages. The book pictured here measures: 6.25 X 3.5 inches. It contains 300 sermon outlines on 386 pages. It was published by Gospel Advocate Company in 1938. Appendixes include: Funeral Texts, Marriage Ceremonies, and even Hedges Rules of Debate. I just let the book fall open to page 266 and found the sermon: THE HAND OF GOD based on Acts 11.21.