LIVE FREE Galatians Study Week One

Day Seven. January 16. Acts 15:30-41; 16:1-10

Our last reading in Acts has three main parts to it. Our first part is such a happy one. The decision made at the Jerusalem Council was brought back to Antioch and shared with the believers there. They loved it! They no longer felt burdened by having to obey all the nuances of Jewish law. Silas and Judas, our representatives from the apostles in Jerusalem, hung out with the believers for an unspecified length of time and brought encouragement and strengthening. All was well for a season. We need seasons of quiet growing, don’t we? Whenever I am enjoying a “good time” without too many crises, I try to remember to be grateful, and to not waste that time, but use it as a growing and studying time in the Word. I love those seasons!

However, quiet, restful, happy seasons do not last. Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world and … we do. The trouble in the next section we read in Acts 15 occurred between Paul and Barnabas. How sad that they had such a sharp conflict about John Mark that they parted ways. And yet … how wonderful that neither man left the faith over it. Instead, we had two separate missionary journeys going on. How sweet is that? Even sweeter, we have two clues that Paul reconciled with John Mark and Barnabas later on.  Check out Colossians 4:10: “Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way.” Now, doesn’t that sound like Paul’s getting along with these two guys again? I feel hopeful. Also, Paul refers to John Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11. Paul calls John Mark “helpful to me in my ministry.” Now doesn’t that just give you warm and happy feelings? It does me. I love reconciliations. And that should be normal for Christians, shouldn’t it? Quarrels are normal, of course, because we are pretty much sinful, selfish folk. However, the Holy Spirit in us gently nudges us toward living at peace with others and loving even the hard to love folk. That’s the difference. That’s how the world knows we are Christ-followers. It’s when we forgive and love and reconcile.

Our last section in Acts 16 details Paul’s return to Galatia. It’s encouraging to know that after that letter to the Galatians that we start next week, Paul returns for another visit. He had an enduring and ongoing relationship with these believers. He loved them. He labored for them. This is the kind of follow-up new converts need even today. They need visits, encouragements, and letters, right? They need to be reminded of great truths found in God’s Word. They need to know they weren’t just another person who “got saved” – they are valuable brothers and sisters in Christ with whom one wants a long-term friendship in the Lord.


My verse: Acts 16:4 “Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.”

My response: Father God, I love how Paul physically went to these dear believers to share this news instead of just writing another letter. I love face to face time! By going, he could answer questions and make sure the believers fully grasped that freedom in Christ they were given. I am so thankful for this loving man who cared enough to risk his life repeatedly for those he had led to You!!

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