The Apostle Paul: The Work of God.

And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.” (Acts 15:12)

Following Peter’s address, Barnabas and Paul then spoke. As they did so, the entire assembly fell silent. The entire assembly probably included the apostles, the elders and other leaders of the Jerusalem Church, the two missionaries, those who accompanied Paul and Barnabas from Antioch, and the Judaizers.

Paul and Barnabas echoed and supported what the Apostle Peter had already said. Conversion is an act of God, whether the converted happen to be Jew or Gentile.

Paul and Barnabas recounted the signs and wonders the Lord did through them during their first missionary journey. They did not praise themselves for the work they did, but rather they praised God for the work He did through them. The church then, and the church today, has to realize that the growth of the church is the Lord’s work.

The Apostle Paul spoke of this understanding of church growth in his first letter to the Corinthian Church. He wrote, What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.” (I Corinthians 3:5-10)

Dr. John Walvoord writes, If you will review the record of the first missionary journey (Acts 13–14), you will see that the emphasis is on what God did in response to men’s faith. See Acts 13:8, 12, 39, 41, 48; 14:1, 22–23, 27. Note also the emphasis on grace (Acts 13:43; 14:3, 26). God opened for the Gentiles “the door of faith,” not “the door of Law.” For that matter the Antioch church, which commissioned Paul and Barnabas, was founded by people who “believed and turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11:21) and experienced the grace of God (Acts 11:23). They were saved the same way sinners are saved today, “by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8–9).”

The church today must continue to hold fast the Gospel. Justification by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone must never be negotiated or neglected.

Soli deo Gloria!

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