3 “So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.” (Acts 15:3–4)
In light of the growing controversy concerning whether Gentiles in the early church had to become Jewish in order to be Christians, the church in Antioch sent Paul, Barnabas and others to Jerusalem. Once there, they would meet with the apostles and the church elders to discuss and resolve this matter. The essential nature and message of the Gospel was a stake.
As Paul, Barnabas and the rest traveled south, they passed through the area of Phoenicia and Samaria. In doing so, they shared with their fellow brothers in Christ how the Lord saved and converted the Gentiles. This brought great joy to those they met.
Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, the church welcomed Paul and Barnabas. So too did the apostles and the elders. At that time, the two missionaries shared how the Lord used them during their first missionary journey to lead Gentiles to salvation in Christ alone, by grace alone, through God given faith alone.
In Galatians 2:1-2, the Apostle Paul referred to this journey. “Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.”
Dr. Simon Kistemaker writes, “The time has come to convene the church and guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28) state the necessary requirements for Gentile believers.”
In presenting the Gospel, we must be careful to not add or detract anything from the Gospel. Ask God to help you make sure that His Gospel is your Gospel.
Soli deo Gloria!