Friday, June 9 – Acts 15:30-31
So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and after gathering the congregation together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
What is the best piece of mail you’ve ever received? What did it contain? Was it a surprise or was it expected? Surely, the believers at Antioch expected Paul and Barnabas to return with news. Whether the news would be encouraging or discouraging, though, was uncertain. The heated debate that had preceded their leaving for Jerusalem would have left the believers wondering.
When they received and read the letter, though, they didn’t have to wonder any longer. Their salvation in Christ was affirmed, and they rejoiced about that! The gospel they had believed was correct—salvation results from grace alone, not grace plus works.
Like Peter and the other leaders in Jerusalem, these Gentile believers focused on that foundational truth and nothing else. They compromised some personal preferences for the health and unity of the global church. There was no push back to the instructions they received—no frustration, questions, or debate—only rejoicing. The requirements listed were not burdensome. The letter encouraged them all. The hard questions and challenging conversation ended in healthy resolve and the church continued to thrive.
- What does Paul and Barnabas’s decision to travel back to Antioch to deliver this letter teach you about resolving conflict?
- Are you typically willing to compromise on nonessential matters, or do you tend to push back? How does the way conflict resolved in Acts 15 speak to you personally?
- Praise God for His daily encouragement that your salvation in Christ—and the salvation of every person who trusts in Him—is affirmed. Ask Him to show you where you need to compromise personal preferences so that others will be encouraged similarly.