by Roby Ellis
[Scripture Reading: Acts 15:1-6]
A. In the earliest days of Christianity, the church enjoyed remarkable harmony (Acts 2:46; 4:32; 5:12).
B. In Acts 15, we see the first serious conflict in the church, and therefore a critical moment in the church’s history.
C. How would these conflicts be resolved? Who would draft the constitution by which this body would be governed?
I. Where there is conflict, leadership is vitally important.
A. Where there is an absence of strong leadership, it is nearly impossible for any household or organization to survive for very long (Judges 21:25; Matthew 9:36; Acts 20:20; 1 Peter 5:1-7).
B. The church in Jerusalem was blessed with great leaders (Acts 15:6; cf. Luke 22:32; Galatians 1:19).
C. God’s pattern for leadership still works today (Titus 1:9; 1 Timothy 3).
II. Where there is conflict, the Scriptures must be heard.
A. After all had been said, the Scriptures had the final word in this matter (Acts 15:7-21).
B. The Word was the final court of appeal as far as Jesus was concerned (Matthew 22:29-33; 19:3-9,16-22; 4:4,7,10).
C. In matters of faith, the Scriptures must always be allowed to make our decisions for us (1 Peter 4:11).
Where there is leadership and respect for God’s Word, as well as humility and love, there is no conflict that can ever destroy.