Today we read about a conference that took place in Jerusalem involving the disciples and other principal brethren. It was about problems that had arisen among the believers. Some of the Pharisees who were now believers in Christ were saying that for the Gentiles whom Paul had converted, that “it is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5).
Peter recounts to the assembly how God had acted to bring about the conversion and baptism of Cornelius, an uncircumcised Roman, and also his relatives and friends. Peter says God ordained that “by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart, bore witness to them …” (verses 7,8). How powerful it is to realize that “God knows the heart”! We should meditate on that.
The result of the conference is that they decide to write to the Gentiles saying that “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these you will do well …” (verses 28,29).
Nowadays there is no sacrificing to idols or drinking blood or strangling animals so that they retain the blood in their bodies. There is however an increasing abundance in “sexual immorality”. It was widespread in those days as we see it is mentioned in nearly all the letters of the apostles and in the messages of Jesus to the churches (Revelation 2:15,20).
The final message of Jesus in the last chapter of the Bible has Jesus telling us, “Behold I am coming soon bringing my recompense (reward) with me, to repay everyone for what he has done … Outside are the … sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:12,15).
Let us all know God in our hearts and realize He knows us – so let us keep ourselves from these. Really knowing God provides the strength to do this – and our regular reading and meditation on His word is an essential part of achieving this.