Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Acts of The Apostles

Acts was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Chapter Fifteen

Vs. 1-5

In (Acts 15) two of the greatest and most important questions ever asked are answered.

[1]. (Vs. 1) can a man do anything to get saved?

[2]. (Vs. 5) Can a man do anything to stay Saved?

Denominational religions and cults never cease quoting (Heb. 3,6,10; Matt. 24,.25,6,7; Acts 2:38; Mk. 16) yet you'll never hear them take a stand in Acts 15 which serves to be what might be called the first and last apostolic council. Present are the apostles, elders and brethren (vs. 23), men that have risked their lives for the gospel (vs. 26) and with the consent of the Holy Ghost (vs. 28).

It is interesting that those who profess a works' salvation have never been able to agree on how many works it would take to get a person or keep a person saved. The fact is those who have the most to say about losing your salvation are those who will not profess to have it as a present possession.

In (vs. 5) we have a sect of the Pharisees that are believers - the first denomination. These were saved disciples who believed they could lose their salvation.

Vs. 6-11

It isn't any wonder there is so much confusion today in Christianity. The problems didn't start yesterday:, dissension (vs. 2), disputing (vs. 2) and (vs. 7).

The business at hand is unlike the (Acts 6) business meeting where the deacons were chosen. Here the question is doctrine. In (vs. 7) Paul refers to his meeting with Cornelius in (Acts 10), "by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word." Verse 8 he says the Holy Ghost was given the Gentiles as he was given to the apostles in (Acts 2). "Purifying their hearts by faith." Water is not mentioned. Baptism is not mentioned .... by faith, (Eph. 2:8,9).

(1 Pet. 1:22): "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren..." (1 Pet. 3:21): Baptism is a figure of salvation.

Vs. 10

Peter says, Why laden the people again with the yoke (law) which no one could bear before!

Vs. 11

(Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 3:24)

"They" - the Gentiles

Vs. 12

Barnabas and Paul then give testimony of the wonderful works God had wrought amongst the Gentiles to back up Peter's statement.

Vs. 13-23

James (the Lord's brother) stands up to try to draw all this together. Verses (14-17) settle many questions in the Bible student's mind and consequently have been the battleground for A-millennialists, Post-millennialists and Pre-millennialists.

Vs. 14

"God at the first" - reference to what Peter has just said Cornelius - a calling out of the Gentiles. This will be followed by the Second Coming: "...I will return...", the tabernacle is built again (literally) (Amos 9:11); for this purpose (vs. 17), "that the residue of men might seek after the Lord." The calling of the Gentiles - (Jer. 49:39; Isa. 19:18; 42:1; 49:5,6. See also Lk. 1:17; 7:16).

There is much question to the reference (Acts 15:16) as to whether or not (Amos 9:11) is being quoted.

[1]. This is a free quotation, e.g. (Matt. 8:17; Heb. 8:11).

[2]. The word "prophets" is plural; to limit this quote to one verse is unfair.

[3]. The words of the prophets (vs. 15) agree that there are two gatherings, one in the Tribulation (Rev. 7) and one the Millennium (Isa. 2). (See also these verses: Isa. 2:1-4; Isa. 66:6-20; Rev. 11:1-3; Eze. 40-48; Lk. 1:30-33; Matt. 19:28: 25:31)

Vs. 18

God's foreknowledge precedes election (1 Pet. 1:2).

Vs. 19

Repentance is a turning from and a turning "to" God.

Vs. 20

James then tells the Gentiles to abstain from four things ... not to get saved ... not to stay saved ... but for a testimony to the Jews (vs. 21) to whom the gospel is being preached, so that the Gentiles would not place a stumbling block before-the Jew.

Vs. 21

(1 Cor. 10:29: Rom 14:1-14). In (vs. 29) "from which if you keep yourselves, ye do well", not get saved or stay saved.

The problem has been solved very simply once and for all. Chosen men are sent from Jerusalem to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. Letters are also written to accompany the apostles and disciples for there must have been some confusion over the letter of James (Acts 12:1,2) to the 12 tribes scattered abroad.

Silas (vs. 22) is Silvanus. (2 Cor. 1:19; 1 Thess. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:12; Acts 16).

Vs. 23-28

The opinion is unanimous: The apostles, elders, brethren, Barnabas, Paul (vs. 26), Judas, Silas and (vs. 28) ... The Holy Ghost!

Vs. 29

(Vs. 20) is repeated, "from which if ye keep yourselves, ye do well." Not be saved.

Vs. 32

Prophets: (Eph. 4:11,12). "Exhorted with many words" and confirmed (strengthened) them. This is not a reference to a Roman Catholic Sacrament.

Vs. 35

Notice again the context in which the church of Antioch is found with reference to Manuscript Evidence.

(Acts 15:35) - teaching and preaching the Word of God.

(Acts 13:1) - starting point of Paul's missionary journeys.

(Acts 11:26) - where the disciples were first called Christians.

At this point (Gal. 2:11-21) probably takes place. Peter probably went to Antioch, (vs. 33,35), after the council at Jerusalem. if this is so, Galatians was written after (Acts 15).

Vs. 36-41

The second missionary trip begins. The original intent is to cover much of the same ground covered on the first, and check on their spiritual progress.

Paul and Barnabas have a sharp disagreement. Paul is probably very much against it because John probably turned back (Acts 13:5,13) because the going got rough. The results: Two mission teams: Paul and Silas (vs. 34) and Barnabas and John Mark. Two by two.

Barnabas takes John to Cyprus and rather than go back there and run into John Mark, Paul goes directly across the mainland to Asia Minor (vs. 41).

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