The intervention of the Holy Spirit through the meeting of the Jerusalem Council would have lasting benefits for the spread of the church throughout the world. The new churches were not to be burdened with a bunch of rules and regulations but allowed to freely worship Christ based on the work of the gospel alone. Look how Luke describes the scene:
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.Acts 15:28-29 (NIV)
This same freedom is not always evident in today’s churches. As happened in the past, there are still attempts to critique, change, and add requirements for those who attend. What does this do to our fellowship?
Are we hindering more than helping? Shooting ourselves in the foot, so to speak?
Francis Chan writes:
We live in a culture today where we are used to evaluating and giving our opinion on everything. So in the Church, rather than marveling that we are a part of God’s body, we critique leadership, the music, the programs, and anything else we can think of. Could it be that we are taking a sledgehammer to the temple in so doing?Francis Chan, Letters to the Church
Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). Paul further explained what this meant, when he wrote the church in Corinth, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
This doesn’t mean there is no order to our worship, but it does mean we need to be willing to let the Spirit lead and not our personal preferences. Remembering God shines the brightest through cracked pots, helps us to watch for him in the most flawed of individuals and simplest of offerings.
Otherwise, we might miss the blessing altogether.
Grace and Peace