Daily Word

Added encouragement | Acts 15:30-35

30 So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and after gathering the [u]congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its [v]encouragement. 32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, [w]encouraged and strengthened the brothers and sisters with a lengthy message. 33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brothers and sisters in peace to those who had sent them out.[x] 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts 15:30-35 (NASB) 中文

Church dispute

This passage ends a church dispute caused by some legalistic Jewish believers who went to Antioch preaching that the Gentiles must (also) uphold the law of Moses (as they do) in order to be saved.  Paul and Barnabus took the issue to the apostles in Jerusalem where it was discussed. And Peter shared with them his experience with Cornelius. James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the church, gave his recommendation which became an official letter sent back to Antioch.

Shared with Antioch church

So Paul and Barnabas finally return from Jerusalem. Last the Antioch church saw them, they were headed to Jerusalem to resolve this church conflict. They are accompanied by Judas and Silas, leaders from Jerusalem. The first thing Paul and Barnabas do is get the body of believers together and share the results of their trip – the letter from the church in Hhgvgh. 

Church response

It seems they were anxiously awaiting their return and resolution to this big issue that could potentially cause major division. When they heard the letter, they were filled with joy. Why did it encourage them? For one, it meant they didn’t need to be encumbered by the Jewish rituals. They also may have been thankful to see the unity in the body in Jerusalem coming to this decision. As mentioned yesterday, the wording in the letter, “brothers” (v23), meant the Jewish believers accepted them as equals in the faith. Enduringword.com adds, “They heard that they were saved and right with God after all.”

Added encouragement

If the letter wasn’t already enough, Judas and Silas stuck around for a while and preached and encouraged them. Luke mentions they were prophets so they use their gift as all gifts of the Spirit should be used – to encourage the body. After they left, Paul and Barnabas remained with the church at Antioch – continuing their preaching and teaching – along with others. This would bring additional encouragement. 

RЯeflection

  • How important encouragement is! We remember when we first met Barnabas that he was called the son of encouragement. If you have the gift of encouragement, use it. Ask God to fill you with the strength to do more.
  • If you don’t have the gift per se, you can still encourage others!
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