Chapter Fifteen — Part One: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 03/21/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 15:1-4

1. Dissension.
a. Acts 15:1 NKJV — And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
b. This was the first doctrinal controversy in the Church.
c. Even though this question was later settled in Jerusalem, yet still today this argument is still being presented by religious people who have no understanding of the grace of God.
d. Many, who consider themselves educated, still stumble over this point, thereby nullifying the grace of God in their lives.
e. Acts 15:2 NKJV — Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
f. There was a large dispute, and all that was accomplished in the end was that Paul and Barnabas would be sent to Jerusalem to clarify this point with the apostles and elders there.

2. Deception.
a. Through the ages, many believers have been drawn away from the simple Christian faith by the fallacy of this teaching of the law.
b. Paul rebuked the Galatians for this (Gal. 1:6; 3:1-5; 5:4).
c. Galatians 3:1-3 NKJV — O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
d. For a while, many, even Peter and Barnabas, were carried away with this false doctrine (Gal. 2:11-21).
e. Galatians 2:15-16a NKJV — We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ…
f. The law of Moses has been abolished and done away with (2 Cor. 3:6-15).
g. Ephesians 2:15 NKJV — Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.
h. It is cast out (Gal. 4:21-31).
i. Galatians 4:31 NKJV — So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.
j. Hagar represented the bondwoman and Sarah represented the free.
k. It is blotted out and taken out of the way by the Cross (Col. 2:14-17).
l. Colossians 2:14 AMPC — Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.
m. It is both changed and disannulled (Heb. 7:12).
n. Hebrews 7:18-19 NKJV — For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
o. It has been replaced and has vanished (Heb. 8:6-13)
p. Hebrews 10:9-10 NKJV — He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

3. Back to Jerusalem.
a. Acts 15:3 NKJV — So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.
b. They were brought—fitted out, sent, supplied by, and/or accompanied—on their way by the members of the Church there.
c. On their way, they stopped to share the wonderful testimonies of the conversion of the Gentiles—from idolatry to worship of the true God.
d. Everyone was filled with joy at this news.
e. Conversion (Greek: epistrophḗ) — conversion; a revolution; a change of direction; to go in an opposite direction.
f. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
g. Conversion takes place: by the power of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:7-11).
h. And by the power of the Word of God (Jn. 15:3; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23; Heb. 4:1).
i. 1 Peter 1:23 NKJV — Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
j. And by repentance (Lk. 13:1-5; 2 Cor. 7:10; 1 Jn. 1:9; Lk. 18:13; Acts 3:19).
k. 2 Corinthians 7:10a NKJV — For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…
l. And by faith in the Name of Jesus and in the atonement (Mt. 1:21; Acts 4:12).
m. Acts 4:12 NKJV — Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

4. Jerusalem.
a. Acts 15:4 NKJV — And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.
b. In Jerusalem, they testified of the salvation of the Gentiles, and reported all of the things the Lord did with them.
c. Acts 10:38 NKJV — How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
d. John 3:2 NKJV — This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
e. If God is with you, you are guaranteed success.