BSF Acts Lesson 12
Acts 15:1-35
The Council at Jerusalem solves the circumcision dispute. Acts 15:1-35.
Published April 29th, 2020
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Lesson 12 Adult Questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Scripture Memory Verse “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” – Acts 13:2 FIRST DAY: Read the notes and the references. 1. Use this space to record how you have seen God’s activity during the week. (How has He provided, answered, comforted, reconciled, guided, etc.?) 2. What from the notes, lecture, group sharing or personal study impacted you most in the past week? Notes:God never quit shaping John Mark into a sacrificial servant. God will not quit on you. Have you failed to accept or keep a commitment? Do not lean on your excuses or reasons. Lean on God’s promise to restore you. Confess your weakness. Accept the Spirit’s power to produce strength in its place.11 Humbly step forward in faith to restore trust in relationships and to serve others for Jesus SECOND DAY: Read Acts 15:1-11. Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem to settle a dispute. 3. What dispute arose in the church in Antioch? How did the church respond? some men from Judea were... teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”Acts 15:1 ESV A dispute arose. The apostles and elders met to consider the matter. Peter gave testimony about what God was doing to bring Gentiles to salvation. Barnabas and Paul related the signs and wonders of God through ministry to Gentiles. 4. a. Why did the Jewish Christians insist the Gentiles be circumcised? ( For help, see Genesis 17:1-14.) 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: ... Every male among you shall be circumcised. 13... So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” b. What do you learn about salvation? Acts 15:8-9 ESV Acts 15:11 ESV 5. Why was it important to resolve the question of salvation first? Because God is the ultimate judge of what is expected of a believer. He does the work of saving us. Man made additions to His expectations are pointless. THIRD DAY: Read Acts 15:12-21 . The Church leaders discussed their dispute and reached a resolution. 6. Remembering past lessons, which of God’s confirming signs and wonders might Paul and Barnabas have shared? What have you seen God do in your life during this study? blinding of Elymas and belief of proconsul in Paphos, signs and wonders in Iconium accompanied by many believers. He has strengthened by faith by reminiding me of His power in us through His Holy Spirit who enables us to do and serve and speak for Him in the situations that He guides us to and the people who He preapres to hear. He is always at work in the lives of people. 7. a. What did James suggest as a solution to the controversy about the Gentiles? The decision was to not trouble the Gentiles with circumcision. Then they sent a letter out to all of the churches expressing the unified belief about conduct of believing Gentiles. Acts 15:28-29 ESV b. On what authority did James reach His conclusion? On the authority of prophecy in Scripture. Amos 9:11-12 Acts 15:14-18 ESV c. Why might James have included the particular items in verse 20? T B Those were all common practices in Gentile culture and worship and they would all have had to lay aside those things. The practices of Moses still were wise recommendations 8. What do you learn about the discussion of controversial matters and conflict resolution within your church and among other believers? address it right away in a civil and organized way. Call upon church leaders to mediate and help in guidance when necessary. Stick to the facts. Rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide the discussion. Maintain unity. Seek the truth. Communicate God's Word and come to a unified decision. Make sure everyone understands how God guided the decision.Be humble. FOURTH DAY: Read Acts 15:22-35. Church leaders wrote a letter to their fellow believers. 9. Who delivered the letter? What were the results of their delivering the letter? Acts 15:22 ESV Acts 15:31-32 ESV 10. a. What were the long-term accomplishments of this event (often referred to as the Jerusalem Council)? We as Gentiles have freedom in Christ to live according to the New Covenant made by Jesus Christ. We are not required to live according to the law of Moses. b. What do you learn about the Holy Spirit? He guided the whole process of this council in clarifying what God requires of believers. He cares about our understanding of God's expectations. He leads us to the truth individually and corporately. We need to pray for our leaders to listen to His guidance at all times. 11. How do you know what or when to compromise to advance the cause of Christ? In which situation are you willing to reach a compromise to accomplish unity? We only know by studying God's Word and listening to the Holy Spirit in specific situations. He will not lead us to do things that are contrary to what He has already said in His Word. He will however lead us to greater understanding of the Truth that He has revealed. FIFTH DAY: Read Galatians 2. Paul rebuked Peter for failure to live by the decision in Acts 15. 12. What did Peter do that resulted in Paul’s rebuke? What negative impact did Peter’s action have on others? ... he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:12-13 ESV 13. What do you learn from Paul’s rebuke? (See also 2 Peter 3:15-16.) It was effective and restored unity rather than disrupting it. Righteousness comes through Jesus' fulfillment of the law on our behalf. Galatians 2:14-16 ESV Galatians 2:20-21 ESV 14. How could you apply this passage to your life today? Be aware of hypocrisy in my life and how it affects others. Listen to a loving rebuke and repent. If God calls me to be the one to give a rebuke, do it graciously, honestly, and lovingly for God's glory and in the power of the Spirit. SIXTH DAY: Review Acts 15:1-35. 15. What did you learn about God, and what did you learn about yourself ? God desires for us to be a unified people who understand His will and extend grace to one another in times of disagreement. I can see that my disposition toward avoidance is not from God. He wants me to be direct under the guidance of His Spirit. Copyright © Bible Study Fellowship 2019 (Note: These questions are to be used by BSF class members only. Except for web downloads from by class members, no portion of this material may be reproduced without written permission, according to copyright.) 16. Passage Discovery (homiletics, word study, etc.) for group and administrative leaders: Acts 15:1-35
Subject: The Council at Jerusalem solves the circumcision dispute. Acts 15:1-35 I. A Dispute Arises in the Antioch Church 15:1-5 When might the Holy Spirit direct you to ask for help in settling a dispute with other believers? How will you be more sensitive to His leading in emotionally charged situations? II. The Apostles and Elders Meet to Discuss the Matter 15:6-21 How does God use His Word to clarify confusing matters? Give an example. What are you doing to hide His Word in your heart so that He can bring it to mind when needed? III. Judas and Silas Deliver a Letter of Instruction 15:22-35 How important is communication in the work of maintaining the unity of the Spirit? Will you commit to being a more teachable and Spirit led member of the body of Christ? Aim: The Holy Spirit's guidance is absolutely necessary for believers to maintain unity in the church.
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