Please read Acts 15:1-12.
Acts 15:3, “And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.”
One of the greatest joys of the Christian life is that it all depends on who God is, not who I am or what I can do. Thank God that the Gospel is for all and that His guidance and leadership in every area of life are given to every Christian. I am so thankful that His love is unconditional and that I can not only know for certain that I have a home in heaven, but that a loving God will meet my every need on the way to heaven. Whether we are Jew, Greek or Gentile; Christ died for all, and that is the issue in this chapter.
Verse 1, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
Now that the church had been established in the Gentile world, it faced its first real problem. In Judea many of the Hebrew converts were Pharisees and they had no intention of forsaking their Mosaic system. They did not believe that one can be saved without being circumcised.
The church in Jerusalem was made aware of this, and immediately stepped in to take care of the problem. As was often the case in that day, some of the teachers from Judea insisted that the converted Gentiles be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to check with the apostles about this problem that had arisen in the church, verse 2.
Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, they were informed by the apostles of the conversion of the Gentiles; and of the trouble which certain Pharisees had about this question, verses 3-5. The first contention was concerning the office of Christ, whether people are saved by His righteousness and faith, or if we have to keep and obey Moses’ Law to be saved.
Paul and Barnabas were completely satisfied that God did not want to bring the converted Gentiles under the yoke of circumcision; they knew that Jesus Christ was the end of the law for righteousness (justification) to every one that believed, and therefore they opposed these false teachers.
This was one of the first controversies in the Church. Though the difference of belief was great, it led to no division in their love for the Lord and each other.
Verse 3, “Being brought on their way by the Church.” The members of the Church provided them with all they needed for their journey, since they came without any belongings of their own.
“Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles.”
This was truly a miracle and an evidence of God’s mercy that the Gentiles would be received into the Church. Now they had proof that it was likely to become commonplace for Gentiles to be saved, because of the conversion of Cornelius, the people of Antioch, Cyprus, Pisidia, Pamphylia, and many others, including those of us who are saved today.
According to verse four, they were well-received by the Church, where they told of the great work which God had wrought by them among the Gentiles.
Verse 5, “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees …”
When these Pharisees saw they could not destroy the church from the outside they decided to make their attack on the inside.