When Opinions Collide – When things are not black or white

               Text:  Acts 15:1-35 





A Difference of Opinion

      The Situation:

               Gentiles were being saved

      The Concern:

               Some Jewish believers felt the Gentiles should be circumcised

      The Result:

               Dissention and a great debate

      The Response:

               Having church leaders and elders consider the issue


The Deliberation of Leaders

      The matter was heard

               Both sides expressed their views

      Peter’s wise counsel:

               An appeal to a hierarchy of importance

                    1. Core Doctrines and Essential Spiritual Matters

                    2. Important Matters for Maintaining Fellowship

                    3. Incidental Matters of Opinion


A Judgment Call

      James spoke as the leader of the church in Jerusalem

               An appeal to scripture

               An appeal to what should be left to God

               An understanding of God’s sovereignty and timing

      A Leadership Decision

               Address the concern

               Recommended practices

               Provide encouragement


The Beneficial Result

      The church accepted the judgment of the leaders

      A message was sent to the Gentile believers in Antioch

               Acknowledge that others were stirring things up

               Express the benefit of unity

               Focus on the essentials

      The message was delivered to Antioch

               The church at Antioch rejoiced and were encouraged

               The church had peace

               The ministry continued to advance


When Opinions Collide

      1.  If the matter is essential to faith and salvation:

               Never compromise on the doctrines of the Christian faith

      2.  If the issue is detrimental or divisive to the fellowship:

               Cooperate with those who agree on the essentials

               Maintain close fellowship with like-minded believers

      3.  If the matter does not impact the mission of the church:

               Do not permit division over the matter nor give it prominence

               Encourage forbearance, grace and love


The role of leaders when there is a difference of opinion

     within the church:

  1. To uphold and teach the essentials of the faith.

  2. To determine whether a matter is essential, important
       or minor.

  3. To maintain the peace and unity of the church.


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