The Jerusalem Council

David Bast

Read: Acts 15:1-21 . . . we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus. (v. 11) Oh, no, not another church meeting! Councils . . . synods . . . assemblies . . . conferences . . . . We sometimes wonder if anything good could come out of yet one more meeting where ministers talk a lot. Sometimes it does, and never more so than at the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. There the apostolic church …

The Marks of Jesus

David Bast

Read: Acts 14 Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (v. 22) There’s a verse tucked away in the back of Galatians that never fails to move me. Just before he closes his letter to a church where people had been giving him a lot of grief, Paul says, “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). He’s referring to the scars left by …

A Light to the Nations

David Bast

Read: Acts 13:44-52 I have made you a light for the Gentiles. (v. 47) Have you ever reflected on the fact that, while nothing is too big for God to do, some things are too small? Speaking of his Servant, the Messiah, God declared it was “too small a thing” for him to save only the lost house of Israel. He must also be “a light for the Gentiles,” to all nations and peoples, “that my salvation may reach to …

The First Christians

David Bast

Read: Acts 11:19-30 In Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (v. 26) Despite Jesus’ instruction to go out in the power of the Spirit as witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), the apostles seemed quite content to hang around Jerusalem. Things were going well for the church there. They had a few problems, to be sure, but they saw great growth as well. It took the persecution that broke out with Stephen’s martyrdom to get the …

Call No One Unclean

David Bast

Read: Acts 10:1-16, 34-43 God shows no partiality. (v. 34) So what’s the problem? Cornelius was “a devout man who feared God . . . gave alms generously . . . and prayed continually” (v. 2). Most would conclude that he’s good to go. What more does he need? He needs Jesus. Apparently being good and kind and devout is not enough. But Jesus promised that those who seek will find, and those who ask will receive, so Cornelius’ prayers …