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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Acts 15-17

The Gospel spreads to new frontiers.

The Heart of God: The Covenant People (6)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Luke 24.27

Read and meditate on Acts 15-17.
As the covenant community continued to grow and expand, new needs and opportunities arose, requiring skilled leadership and bold action. Internal conflicts had to be resolved, as doors opened on new frontiers for the expansion of the Gospel and Kingdom of God.

For reflection
1.  Who were the participants in this first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15)? What was the issue? How did they resolve it? How did they use this issue to strengthen the unity of all the covenant communities?

2.  Paul and Barnabas split over the matter of John Mark. The division between them was deep, but we can believe it was respectful. Each simply took the mission of the covenant community in a new direction, with new people in tow. How can you see from 2 Timothy 4.11 and Philemon 23, 24 that God used this division to further the ongoing work of Christ?

3.  What potential obstacle to the Gospel did the demon-possessed girl of Acts 16 pose? Why was Paul adamant about stopping her? In what ways did her true report about the apostles threaten the integrity of the message they proclaimed?

4.  What can we learn from Paul about taking the Gospel into new communities (Acts 16, 17)? How should we proceed? Where should we look for open doors?
5.  Meditate on Acts 17.32-34. Paul typically received three different responses to his preaching, and we see all three of them here. What are they? How should we respond to each of these?

Wherever the Gospel expands, we can expect challenges and opportunities. How should we prepare for the challenges? For the opportunities? What can we learn from the Christian leaders of Acts 15-17 about how to keep in step with the Spirit as we seek the progress of Christ’s Kingdom and ongoing work?

Closing Prayer
Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.
Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD.
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.

Psalm 96.7-13

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.

We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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