Sunday Morning, August 4th, Grace in Acts 15

Acts 15:1-12.

The dangers of adding to grace. vv.1-5

  • Why did Paul believe that this was worthy of such conflict?
    • Because He recognized that if the people succeeded in requiring all followers of Christ to observe the Law, that Christ essentially freed his followers from nothing in this world.
    • Because He recognized that if these people succeeded in requiring all followers of Christ to observe the Law, then they would begin relying on their own works to please God rather than relying on the completed work of Jesus Christ.
    • Because the work is finished. Their is no more to add to it.  When Jesus on the cross, cried out just before His death, “It is finished.” That is just what he meant.
    • Because Paul knew that allowing a requirement of observing the OT Law to stand would burden the people and damage understanding of the Glory of God in the eyes of the people.
  • So what is the warning here for us?
    • Never try and add to what is necessary for a person to come follow Christ.
    • This does not mean easy believism, because a life truly spent following Christ will not be easy.
    • It does mean to be on guard against the temptation to add to the requirements of the faith because you will find yourself working against the glory of God.


Living with a full view of Grace. vv.6-12

  • The question they are faced with here is, are they to seek God by their own efforts and works or by that of Christ. (v.10)
    • God knows the heart. (v.8)  He knows our thoughts and desires and our very nature – who we are deep down. He knows that at some point we will choose to live for ourselves rather than God.  We will at some point choose to be self centered rather than God centered.
    • If we are going to point to the Law, as these men would have us do, then choosing that self centered life, even for a ver short time is a violation of the First Command. (You shall have no other Gods before me.).  That is true because is you are living for you, you are your own god.
    • But we are made clean, or righteous, before God by faith alone. (v.9)  (examples: John 3:16, Romans 3:28, Romans 10:9, Galatians 2:16)
  • Faith comes from God. Because He is a gracious God. (v.11)
    • You are saved by His grace. It is completely sufficient to pay for all you have done and all you will do.  Grace, Faith, and works come together most clearly in this way… see Ephesians 2:8-10.  1st comes Grace, then Faith, then Works.  Our flawed human logic often tries to reverse the order, as though we work to gain faith and with that faith we receive the grace of God.  But this is not what God says.  Focus on the order of Eph. 2:8-10.

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