Scripture: The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Acts 15: 6-11 NIV
Observation: All people are entitled to the gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit. No one is to be discriminated against. The elders wanted to force a pre-Christ tradition on the Gentiles in order for the elders to accept them as Christians.
Application: God knows my heart. He is disappointed when I try to fit other’s beliefs into my pattern as a follower. Whomever God chooses I must accept. “God does not want any to perish, but wants all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV I must recognize their gifts and give them the freedom to serve the Lord in their own way. By recognizing their unique expression of faith I can then grow as a believer.
Prayer: Lord, help me to not be critical of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Help me to know you better through our differences. Lord, I pray for a uniting of your believers. Amen