NT Fire Starters – Day 180: Acts 15:1-21
READ: Acts 15:1-21
THINK: Life can be tough enough. Why make things more difficult than they need to be–especially when it comes to spiritual matters and knowing God? Even God doesn’t make it difficult to receive His gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. Of course, actually living for God–following His plans, serving His purposes and influencing others for Him–is not easy amid the pressures of a world opposed to Christ. But the decision to enter a personal relationship with God isn’t complicated, nor is it a matter of our own efforts. It’s an unearned, undeserved gift of love for those who willingly admit and turn from their own God-defying ways and surrender the leadership of their lives to Christ.
RESPOND: Where does God look to determine whether someone’s faith in Jesus is genuine? (See 15:8 note.) How did Peter know that God had accepted the Gentiles’ faith (vv. 8-9)? Why is it wrong to add extra conditions to receiving spiritual salvation (vv. 10-11)? What’s the real condition for spiritual salvation? (See 15:11 note.) What does God give us that allows us to be saved and what must we demonstrate toward Him? (See article on Faith and Grace, p. 1590.) How does a person demonstrate that they’ve truly accepted God’s saving grace? (See 15:11 note.) How does God “taking from the Gentiles a people for himself” affect all of us? (See 15:14 note.) What’s the significance of Amos’ prophecy about “David’s fallen tent”? (See 15:6 note.) What’s the significance of the proposed restrictions for the Gentile believers (v. 20)? How would these things apply to Christians today– particularly the issues of associating with “idols” and abstaining from sexual immorality?
PRAY: Give God thanks for His grace and for not making it difficult to receive salvation. Express your gratitude by committing to live in a way that honors God and to abstain from anything that could compromise your devotion to Him.
ACT: Now or sometime today, read the article on Faith and Grace, p. 1590, which will help you better understand the basis of spiritual salvation through Christ. Make a conscious effort to demonstrate God’s grace (i.e., unearned favor, love, kindness, help) to people, including anyone you know who may be struggling in their faith.