‘Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” 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 did not discriminate 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 Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors 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 15:5-11 https://www.bible.com/bible/111/ACT.15.5-11
We are talking about how God’s law set up relational boundaries this week. I wanted to start here. People trying to control others or make them feel unworthy is as old as the church. I believe that the majority of America is Christian and makes it a Christian nation. However, the law that God has placed, the boundaries we must live in are not to be placed on non-Christians. We are not to judge the world and try and hold them to the same standards we are to live by. They do not love our God. We are just letting them know how much God loves them anyway.
When we do this we get out of place with God and our pride takes over. Christianity no longer is a relationship but religion. Exactly what God was trying to do away with. He knows that religion is a stumbling block for us because it inflates our heads. We begin to believe we are better than others. When in reality, we are just like them, but on the other side of salvation. Our behavior will and has turned people away. Now they will hate us no matter what, but the ones that God has called can be turned away by our judgemental hateful actions.
We may not be able to judge the world, but we can judge each other. We are to hold each other accountable. Not only is God now our Father, but fellows Christians are now your brothers and sisters. Instead, I watch us make excuses for horrible deplorable behavior. We have to still own our bad behavior and be prepared to receive the consequences.
Do you recognize this behavior in yourself? Trying to force on a yoke or burden on someone that can barely be maintained by us. I know I have done the same. But I realize now this does not win souls. It is actually a hindrance. Pray this with me:
Father, You have set up boundaries we must live by when we choose You over the world. Lord, my pride gets in the way and I believe that now that I live by Your standards I am better than Your lost children. I use Your laws to control them. I confess this as sin and pray that You forgive me. I will spread Your love to others.
In Yeshua’s (Jesus) Name I pray, Amen.
This is what the Council at Jerusalem decided by the way:
‘“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” ‘
Acts 15:19-21 https://www.bible.com/bible/111/ACT.15.19-21