Freedom from Mosaic law, Acts 15

There is a Grace Revolution in the earth today…

Short commentary on Acts 15 (Please read the whole chapter)

How many of you want Freedom and Love Freedom? How many of you want freedom from religion, rules and traditions of men? There is a war going on between the ‘control spirit’ and the ‘Spirit of Grace’.

I believe Acts 15 is key turning point Scripture to understanding that we as New Covenant believers are FREE from the Law of Moses.

Acts 15:5  But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.”

The story says that some of the legalist became believers but still held onto the law of Moses. When the Gospel went to the Genttiles, it was a surprised for the Jews becasue they thought that God only wanted to save the JEws. Even Peter on the rooftop had no idea and had to convince the other brothers that salvation also went to the Gentiles. So the problem they had now was that they realised that God wanted to save the Gentiles as well.

So in the early church they had this problem: What do we do with the Gentile beliveres? Do we convert them to Jewish proselytes and keep the Law?

The answer was Peter stands up in

15:11 So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are”

Peter states that, that not even Jews have to keep the law of Moses now, so the Gentiles definitely don’t have to keep the Law.

Then what happens?

15:19 “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 15:20 but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. 15:21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

V21 states that the law of Moses has been proclaimed everywhere in ancient, meaning that we as believers have to be sensitive to the unbelieving Jews who have been scattered everywhere so that gentile believers don’t offend and so win them to Christ. (More on that later)

Remember the Law of Moses was only given to the Israelites at ONE TIME in history, in ONE PLace, through ONE man MOses, and it was NEVER given to the gentiles. (Psalm 147:20, John 1:17)

For a commentary on the purpose of the Law, please goto:

http://gracerevolution.tv/grace/gracerevolution/2008/04/29/what-was-the-purpose-of-the-law/

So these are the three rules for Gentile believers:

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

He doesn’t add anything else such as:

4) Remember to Tithe as gentiles, (For detailed explanation on Tithing by bible theologian Michael Eaton, please goto:

http://gracerevolution.tv/grace/gracerevolution/2008/12/05/beyond-the-tithe-chapter-by-michael-eaton/

5) Keep the sabbath

6) Don’t eat this and don’t eat that

7) Can’t drink alcohol

8) You can’t watch tv or goto the movies

9) ADD YOUR OWN ONE HERE in modern Christianism that you know ain’t right

10) Or any other religious rules, laws and traditions of man that you might have in your churchianity

Gentile believers are free from the Law of Moses – 613 commandments!

15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:

What are ‘These necessary rules’?

These are the rules they delivered to the believers in Antioch.

What do those 3 rules possibly mean to the believers in those days?

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

There is only One God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… the whole of Genesis is all about people Worshipping the One True God!”

Later Paul writes about it in 1 Corinthians,

10:14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 10:15 I am speaking to thoughtful people. Consider what I say. 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread. 10:18Look at the people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 10:19 Am I saying that idols or food sacrificed to them amount to anything? 10:20 No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 10:22 Or are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we really stronger than he is?

Romans 14

14:1 Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions. 14:2 One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. 14:3 The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him. 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord 2 is able to make him stand.

14:5 One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. 14:6 The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God. 14:7 For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 14:9 For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that he may be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

14:10 But you who eat vegetables only – why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything – why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 14:11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.??? 14:12 Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Exhortation for the Strong not to Destroy the Weak

14:13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister. 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. 14:15 For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat,you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died. 14:16 be spoken of as evil. 14:17 For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18 For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. Therefore do not let what you consider good

14:19 So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another. 14:20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. For although all things are clean, it is wrong to cause anyone to stumble by what you eat. 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 14:22 The faith 14:23But the man who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not do so from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.The faith you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves.

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

In the begining God made them male and female

Gen 2: 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

1 Cor 9:19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 9:21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 9:22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.

9:23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.

I believe this rule has to do with evangelism purpose for reaching out to those under the Law.

Below taken From the Commentary from net.bible.org

Three of the four prohibitions deal with food (the first, third and fourth) while one prohibition deals with behavior (the second, refraining from sexual immorality). Since these occur in the order they do, the translation “abstain from” is used to cover both sorts of activity (eating food items, immoral behavior).

Telling them to abstain. These restrictions are not on matters of salvation, but are given as acts of sensitivity to their Jewish brethren, as v. 21 makes clear. Another example of such sensitivity is seen in 1 Cor 10:14-11:1.

What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14), Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the following provision in Acts 15:20, and from blood).

In conclusion, the New Covenant believer whether Jew or Gentile, we are FREE Specifically from the LAW of MOSES with its commandments and its conditions. The New Covenant believer lives from and by a new heart (changed by God- He writes His Laws on our hearts by His Spirit so that we will know how to live from the inner guide) not from following some external rules and laws on tables of stone.

Please meditate on this Acts 15, I believe this is the Key passage to freedom!

1Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is lawful,??? but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful,??? but not everything builds others up. 10:24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 10:26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s.10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. 10:28 But if someone says to you, “This is from a sacrifice,??? do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience 18 10:29 I do not mean yours but the other person’s. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food 19 that I give thanks for? 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 10:32 Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, 10:33 just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.

The believer is FREE from all laws that bind him so that he can live for God from his heart out of God’s Grace!

But one note about freedom:

Galatians 5:15 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh,but through love serve one another.

Don’t use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature but to serve one another and to reach the lost! This is the year of Jubilee where God sets us slaves free through Jesus so that we come back to Him out of freewill and serve Him because we want to not because we have to!

Sometimes we wonder, “What is God’s Will for my life?”

God’s will is that you are free!

Acts 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled 91 and from sexual immorality.If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell.

Essentially what the apostles were saying to the Gentile believers in antioch was this:

“Hey guys, you are free man! it seems best to the Holy Spirit and to us that you Remember only 3 rules:

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

Because you are Already a New Creation, this is how a New Creation lives. You don’t have to live like this to Become a New Creation, but this is Already Who You Are.

You don’t have to obey any Scriptures from the bible (it would mean from Genesis to Revelation in our day) because you are a slave set free by Jubilee and you obey your master not because you ‘have to’ but because you ‘want to’. but you obey God because you want to.

That maybe a shock to you, but that shows you how good God is and His ways of making us Holy is not through laws but it’s through Grace.”

Only 3 guidelines that fits in with New Creation nature,  that’s pretty simple isn’t it!

When the Law of Moses got cancelled at the Cross, all the “Have to’s” are gone. Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him, people followed Him because they wanted to.

When the Spirit of God and the new creation you are rises up from within you as it shakes off the chains of religion and laws, you will automatically desires to obey God because you want to (New Covenant mindset) not because you have to (Old Covenant Law of Moses mindset).

We obey the bible not because we have to. Freedom is Not True Freedom unless you are Free to do whatever you want to do. We obey God because we are Free to do so!! our New nature when its been liberated from the chains of religion and rises up out of revelation of who we are in Christ, just wants to live for God.

Grace is Not Freedom TO SIN, but Freedom FROM SIN!!

I have seen legalism operate in my own life, when I live by rules and laws I make up for myself, I end up in living in frustration and anger, unhappiness and critical of others. That’s what the ‘law’ will do to you.

God wants to change us from the inside, not the outside. If you put laws on people, you will change them externally on the outside for a period of time. But if you change people’s hearts from the inside, you will change them forever. External behaviour modifications have an apperance of Godliness but has no ability to restrain the sinful nature.
Col 2:20
If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!??? 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. 2:23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility 45 achieved by an 46 unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence.

I welcome your comments!

All Scriptures taken from the net.bible.org

Check out Michael Eaton’s commentary on Acts 15:19-

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