The Letter for Gentile Believers
22 Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders[a]—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23 This is the letter they took with them:
“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!
24 “We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25 So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.27 We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.
28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”
30 The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. 31 And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.
Exposure: Read the passage about an encouraging letter. Most of the New Testament is made up of letters. Buy or make a Christmas card for someone who has really been a blessing to you this year. Spend some additional time expressing to them what they mean to you. If a card son’t hold all you need to say, write out a whole letter like the early church did.
Exploration: Think of how meaningful letters like this must have been in the first century. What kinds of communications do you most often use to express these kinds of thoughts to those in your life?
Expression: How do you think your card will make this person feel? Why do you think there is so much power in expressing love to someone?
Experience: Jesus wrote us a really long letter called the Bible expressing His love for us. Wht has been the most meaningful part of His letter to you?
Rediscovering the Christmas Season