Acts 15:22 – 35
The Gentiles are offered to be a part of the church. The religious regulations about worship, temple service, and circumcision had passed away, and now those who wanted to follow Jesus could without any restrictions. The Apostles were clear in their decision they were not going to add anything to the gospel because it would not be right, but they did make requests.
This is huge. They clearly said, none of the things we’re talking about affect your salvation. You can know Jesus, have eternal life, and still be stuck or found in these things. But they asked them to abstain. Don’t eat meats that have been part of sacrifices. Don’t partake in blood. Don’t indulge in sexual immorality. There are numerous theories out there about why these three and not others but the big idea is simple. Some of these things were immoral. Some were not. They asked them to stay away from them all.
Often our biggest question when making a decision is whether or not we’re making an immoral decision. “It’s not wrong” is the common response to criticism because that’s the filter we use. What the apostles and leaders of the early church were assuming to this new group of believers is a new standard for making decisions. Is it wrong is just question one, question two is how might this affect others.
Paul goes deeper into this in another letter where he explains that eating sacrificed meat is not wrong at all, but it might cause someone else to stumble. So, in the greatest form of christlikeness, I sacrifice my freedom to eat this cheap meat in order to help someone else who is struggling stay strong. Similarly, I may surpass my right to drink in order to help my brothers. I may avoid watching shows or movies that I know might lead someone else into a struggle. So I have the freedom, but i choose with my freedom to serve others.
What freedoms could you sacrifice for the sake of others? In what ways do you use your freedom to serve others?