Wednesday, March 4th
When God’s People Disagree
Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
When a basketball team heads down the court and the point guard calls a play, all the members of the team know their role and their assignment. They go to the spot they’ve practiced and unfold the play to get the ball to a particular player. If everything goes as planned, the offense will progress and one of the players will have an opportunity to score.
If some of the players are in disagreement about the play, however—if they don’t like the play that’s been called or if they refuse to go to the spot called for by the play—chances are the offense will fall apart and it will be difficult to score. If a team isn’t unified, it opens the door for their opponents to take over or for the team to self-destruct. They need a clear vision and the willingness to execute it together to be effective as a team.
The same is true for believers. If we want to accomplish the plans God has for us, we need to be united in our purpose and willing to play our own roles. But what happens when some people disagree with the play that has been called as we’re going down the court of life?
This is what happened to the church in the book of Acts. The Gentiles were coming to Christ in an unprecedented fashion. Some of the church leaders thought it was enough for these converts to believe and be baptized; others thought they should adhere to all the Jewish religious customs first. This issue was coming to a head, and it needed to be resolved before the church imploded or fractured into different divisions.
So how did these early Christians deal with their disagreement? Their response serves as a model for us today. The truth is that even as believers, we will encounter differences of opinion and strong diverging viewpoints. In those situations, we can follow the pattern set by Peter, James, and the rest of the believers in Acts 15:
- They sought God’s will (Acts 15:7-8).
- They engaged in healthy discussion about the issue (Acts 15:5-6).
- They watched for evidence of how God was at work (Acts 15:12).