The believer’s Freedom, Acts 15

There is a Grace Revolution in the earth today…

Short commentary on Acts 15 (Please read the whole chapter)

How many of you want Freedom and Love Freedom? How many of you want freedom from religion, rules and traditions of men? There is a war going on between the ‘control spirit’ and the ‘Spirit of Grace’.

I believe Acts 15 is key turning point Scripture to understanding that we as New Covenant believers are FREE from the Law of Moses.

Acts 15:5  But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.”

The story says that some of the legalist became believers but still held onto the law of Moses. When the Gospel went to the Genttiles, it was a surprised for the Jews becasue they thought that God only wanted to save the JEws. Even Peter on the rooftop had no idea and had to convince the other brothers that salvation also went to the Gentiles. So the problem they had now was that they realised that God wanted to save the Gentiles as well.

So in the early church they had this problem: What do we do with the Gentile beliveres? Do we convert them to Jewish proselytes and keep the Law?

The answer was Peter stands up in

15:11 So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are”

Peter states that, that not even Jews have to keep the law of Moses now, so the Gentiles definitely don’t have to keep the Law.

Then what happens?

15:19 “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 15:20 but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. 15:21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

V21 states that the law of Moses has been proclaimed everywhere in ancient, meaning that we as believers have to be sensitive to the unbelieving Jews who have been scattered everywhere so that gentile believers don’t offend and so win them to Christ. (More on that later)

Remember the Law of Moses was only given to the Israelites at ONE TIME in history, in ONE PLace, through ONE man MOses, and it was NEVER given to the gentiles. (Psalm 147:20, John 1:17)

For a commentary on the purpose of the Law, please goto:

http://gracerevolution.co.nz/2008/04/29/what-was-the-purpose-of-the-law/

So these are the three rules for Gentile believers:

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

He doesn’t add anything else such as:

4) Remember to Tithe as gentiles, (For detailed explanation on Tithing by bible theologian Michael Eaton, please goto:

http://gracerevolution.co.nz/2008/12/05/beyond-the-tithe-chapter-by-michael-eaton/

5) Keep the sabbath

6) Don’t eat this and don’t eat that

7) Can’t drink alcohol

8) You can’t watch tv or goto the movies

9) ADD YOUR OWN ONE HERE in modern Christianism that you know ain’t right

10) Or any other religious rules, laws and traditions of man that you might have in your churchianity


Gentile believers are free from the Law of Moses – 613 commandments!

15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:

What are ‘These necessary rules’?

These are the rules they delivered to the believers in Antioch.

What do those 3 rules possibly mean to the believers in those days?

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

There is only One God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… the whole of Genesis is all about people Worshipping the One True God!”

Later Paul writes about it in 1 Corinthians,

10:14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 10:15 I am speaking to thoughtful people. Consider what I say. 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread. 10:18 Look at the people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 10:19 Am I saying that idols or food sacrificed to them amount to anything? 10:20 No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 10:22 Or are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we really stronger than he is?

Romans 14

14:1 Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions. 14:2 One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. 14:3 The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him. 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord 2 is able to make him stand.

14:5 One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. 14:6 The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God. 14:7 For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 14:9 For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that he may be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

14:10 But you who eat vegetables only – why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything – why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 14:11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.” 14:12 Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Exhortation for the Strong not to Destroy the Weak

14:13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister. 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. 14:15 For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died. 14:16 be spoken of as evil. 14:17 For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18 For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. Therefore do not let what you consider good

14:19 So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another. 14:20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. For although all things are clean, it is wrong to cause anyone to stumble by what you eat. 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 14:22 The faith 14:23 But the man who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not do so from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.The faith you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves.

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

In the begining God made them male and female

Gen 2: 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

1 Cor 9:19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 9:21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 9:22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.

9:23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.

I believe this rule has to do with evangelism purpose for reaching out to those under the Law.

Below taken From the Commentary from net.bible.org

Three of the four prohibitions deal with food (the first, third and fourth) while one prohibition deals with behavior (the second, refraining from sexual immorality). Since these occur in the order they do, the translation “abstain from” is used to cover both sorts of activity (eating food items, immoral behavior).

Telling them to abstain. These restrictions are not on matters of salvation, but are given as acts of sensitivity to their Jewish brethren, as v. 21 makes clear. Another example of such sensitivity is seen in 1 Cor 10:14-11:1.

What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14), Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the following provision in Acts 15:20, and from blood).

In conclusion, the New Covenant believer whether Jew or Gentile, we are FREE Specifically from the LAW of MOSES with its commandments and its conditions. The New Covenant believer lives from and by a new heart (changed by God- He writes His Laws on our hearts by His Spirit so that we will know how to live from the inner guide) not from following some external rules and laws on tables of stone.

Please meditate on this Acts 15, I believe this is the Key passage to freedom!

1Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful,” but not everything builds others up. 10:24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 10:26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s. 10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. 10:28 But if someone says to you, “This is from a sacrifice,” do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience 18 10:29 I do not mean yours but the other person’s. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food 19 that I give thanks for? 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 10:32 Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, 10:33 just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.

The believer is FREE from all laws that bind him so that he can live for God from his heart out of God’s Grace!

But one note about freedom:

Galatians 5:15 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh,but through love serve one another.

Don’t use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature but to serve one another and to reach the lost! This is the year of Jubilee where God sets us slaves free through Jesus so that we come back to Him out of freewill and serve Him because we want to not because we have to!

Sometimes we wonder, “What is God’s Will for my life?”

God’s will is that you are free!

Acts 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled 91 and from sexual immorality.If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell.

Essentially what the apostles were saying to the Gentile believers in antioch was this:

“Hey guys, you are free man! it seems best to the Holy Spirit and to us that you Remember only 3 rules:

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

Because you are Already a New Creation, this is how a New Creation lives. You don’t have to live like this to Become a New Creation, but this is Already Who You Are.

You don’t have to obey any Scriptures from the bible (it would mean from Genesis to Revelation in our day) because you are a slave set free by Jubilee and you obey your master not because you ‘have to’ but because you ‘want to’. but you obey God because you want to.

That maybe a shock to you, but that shows you how good God is and His ways of making us Holy is not through laws but it’s through Grace.”

Only 3 guidelines that fits in with New Creation nature,  that’s pretty simple isn’t it!

When the Law of Moses got cancelled at the Cross, all the “Have to’s” are gone. Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him, people followed Him because they wanted to.

When the Spirit of God and the new creation you are rises up from within you as it shakes off the chains of religion and laws, you will automatically desires to obey God because you want to (New Covenant mindset) not because you have to (Old Covenant Law of Moses mindset).

We obey the bible not because we have to. Freedom is Not True Freedom unless you are Free to do whatever you want to do. We obey God because we are Free to do so!! our New nature when its been liberated from the chains of religion and rises up out of revelation of who we are in Christ, just wants to live for God.

Grace is Not Freedom TO SIN, but Freedom FROM SIN!!

I welcome your comments!

All Scriptures taken from the net.bible.org

Check out Michael Eaton’s commentary on Acts 15:19-

http://gracerevolution.co.nz/2009/01/10/acts-15-commentary-by-michael-eaton/

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Beyond the Tithe, (Chapter by Michael Eaton)

(The first part is my comments and title and then Michael’s document follows)

Dear friends, there have been many studies and teachings about tithing whether For or Against…

I believe as the Scriptures say the fact we know that we are free and not under the Mosaic Law. The Law and the Prophets was a shadow, but the Reality is found in Christ.

Col 2:17 these are only 1 the shadow of the things to come, but the reality 2 is Christ! 3

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t read the Law of Moses i.e. the book of Leviticus or Deuteronomy, but we should read the Old Testament keeping in mind that we cannot fully understand the OT without the New Testament Scriptures and the introduction of Jesus the Messiah.

Most Christians will point out the reasons why we should tithe:

1) According to Mosaic Law

2) According to Abraham and Jacob

The first reason is invalid because we are not under the Mosaic Law, the second reason was completely voluntarily and lead by the Spirit not out of a command- so that means we simple do it whenever God leads us, not legalistically. The law of 10% only stirs up sin.

Some people might be going ‘whippee’ at this point and say, “Cool! I don’t have to give 10%!! I’ll just give 3%!”.  You give what you have decided in your heart, if its 5% this time, or 50% next time, its whatever you’ve decided in your heart to give.

2Cor 9:6-8

My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sowsgenerously  will also reap generously. Each one of you should give  just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly  or undercompulsion,  because God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow  to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work.

What most Christians don’t realise is that we as believers and partakers of the New Covenant, are so much more privileged than those who have gone before us under the Old Covenant.

We have a better sacrifice that is Jesus’ blood, not the blood of bulls and animals…

We have better promises and a better mediator

I believe that people living under Grace will give as they are being lead by the Holy Spirit than those living under the Old Covenant or Abraham’s days.

2 Cor 8:3 For I testify, they gave according to their means and beyond their means. They did so voluntarily,

Grace people on occasions will tithe, give 10% but more likely all the other times will  actually go beyond the tithe

Grace people are empowered to do more than law people because of a change of heart, they are more priviliged under a better covenant!

Grace people are not bound by rules and laws and that bounds them, but are now free to stretch their wings and take faith risks which makes them actually enables to do more as their heart has been freed by love…

Nevertheless, the Christian is free to give or not to give and whatever amount God puts on their hearts they are not not pressured by man but give out of their hearts.

Please enjoy this document by Michael Eaton on Tithing!

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Chapter 23 Tithing (Malachi 3:7c-8)

As always happened when Malachi was preaching, the people responded with hostility. Most of them were quarrelsome and argumentative. Here it happens again. Malachi says: But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ (3:7c). But as always Malachi refuses to be intimidated. He answers their question! Should a person rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions (3:8).

Why does Malachi mention tithing? It is because it is a highly practical matter. The people have become careless about keeping the Mosaic law. One sin is being committed, it seems, by almost everyone in the nation. They are all withholding the ‘tithe’ – the tenth of their agricultural profit and of their flocks of animals that was to be given to God at the temple. The people were generally careless about the things of God, but this is something which is very sensitive (most people are touchy about wealth!).

What was ‘tithing’? It was the setting aside of a tenth of harvested crops and animals to be given to God (see Leviticus 27:30-33). In Leviticus we are told that it was required animals and crops that were grown in the land should be tithed (27:30). It effectively meant that one’s in come was subject to a ten per cent tax. The crops (but not the animals) could be given a money-value and the tithe paid in cash. If this was done 20% was added to the estimated value (27:31).

The tithe was very sacred. ‘All tithes … are the Lord’s; they are holy…’. Later on in the law fuller information was given. Numbers 18 refers to the same tithe. (The idea that there is a tithe of crops and animals and another tithe for Levites and maybe a third tithe for the poor – is surely mistaken). The tithe had to be given to the Levites (Numbers 18:21) – the sections of the tribe of Levi that were not priests. The tithe was to be given them as a salary instead of land (18:24).

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 is a further development of the legislation, forty years after its first mention in the law. It adds to and modifies the original law with a view to what will happen in the future. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is explicitly looking forward to a future period in Israel’s history, and so looks forward to what will happen when there is a central national place of worship. The tithe was an annual matter. Deuteronomy 14:22 makes it explicit. Moses (i) takes it for granted that the annual tithe will be brought to a central sanctuary. (ii) He also takes it that in two out of three years the visit to the central sanctuary will be a special occasion. Deuteronomy 14:23 says ‘And you shall eat before Yahweh your God’. It does not say ‘You shall eat it’ (which might seem to refer to the whole tithe). In this context ‘eat’ has the idea of ‘celebrate’, ‘join in a religious meal together’. Most of the tithe would have been given to the Levites to use or give out according to the well-known legislation. But the people who have come a long way also ‘eat before Yahweh’ (the identical phrase is found in Deuteronomy 12:7). That is, they enjoy a meal in which they are celebrating together. However if they live a long way from the sanctuary they will not be able to do this easily. So they may turn the tithe into cash at the place where they live (14:24-25a). They they are to carry the cash to the central sanctuary (14:25b) and use it to buy what they are giving as tithe (14:26a). They have a family celebration with a little of the tithe (14:26b), and then give the vast majority of it to the sanctuary (14:27). The Levites will no longer be quite so needy as they were when they first settled in the land, so the bulk of the tithe will be given to the central sanctuary. Yet the Levites must not be forgotten altogether. If they are in need some of the tithe may still (as in the original legislation) be given to them (14:27). (iii) Moses also laid it down for the distant future that every third year the tithe would be used in a different way. Every third year the tithe is to be stored in the towns until it is completely brought together from the rural areas (14:28), and then it will be given to the Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows (14:29a). This – says Moses – will lead to blessing for the entire nation (14:29b). Any Levite who misused the tithe was liable to be executed (Deuteronomy 18:32b).

2. What was the origin of tithing? It began with Abraham and Jacob. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:6); and Jacob vowed to the Lord and said, ‘Of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you’. But it is important to note that this pre-Mosaic tithing was purely a matter of being led by the Holy Spirit. Abraham and Jocab tithed because at a time when they were close to God, and God was working powerfully in their hearts, they felt led to give a tenth of their possessions in this way. They were tithing in the Holy Spirit. Later on the tithe became a matter of law. Israel was under a tithe-legislation.

3. Is the Christian obliged to tithe his income? I answer ‘No’ and ‘Yes’! Strictly speaking the answer is ‘No, the Christian is not under the Mosaic law’. The Christian does not tithe as a matter of legislation. We have ‘died to the law’, and there is nowhere in the New Testament where we are told to tithe. Matthew 23:23 is telling those under the law to keep the law! It cannot be made into a command for post-Pentecost Christians. The New Testament speaks of proportional giving but it is not compelled like the tithe (2 Corinthians 8:8; 9:7). It was ‘according to means’ (8:11). This is not exactly tithing.

Israel was an earthly nation. The tithe was part of its state-law. There was a time when state-churches could demand a tithe of every citizen of a country. In Britain state-enforced tithing was not entirely abolished until 1936! Even today there is at least one country where the tithe can be collected from every citizen as part of its collecting the national taxes. Only those who exempt themselves are released from it. Certainly the Christian is not under the Mosaic law, and state-Christian-religion tends to have a corrupting influence on the purity and sincerity of the churches (to say nothing of its tendency to produce ‘Christians’ who persecute others). Is the Christian under a tithe law? No!

Yet this is not the whole story! The Christian has to give to the work of God. His or her giving is more like the tithing of Abraham and Jacob. They gave a tenth of what they had because that was the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They were tithing by the Holy Spirit, not tithing by any legislation. Christians are not under the law; they are under the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit inspires giving! Another point is: if someone gave a tenth under the law, the movement from law to grace is a movement forward. A person who gave a tenth under the law would give even more – by the Holy Spirit. Whether this ‘proportional giving’ is called ‘tithing’ or not is unimportant. But there is no escaping the fact that when under the law, the believer was to give a tenth and the Holy Spirit is likely to inspire in the heart of the Christian the giving of even more than a tenth, in the heart of the Christian. It is a good way to test whether we are walking in the Spirit! Are we under the law? No! But we fulfill the law – and go beyond it – by walking in the Holy Spirit. Christians do not tithe ‘Mosaically’. They surpass the tithe when they are walking in the Holy Spirit.