“For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements.”
– Acts 15:28
This is a really interesting verse, and interesting phrase in the middle of Acts 15. You’ve got disagreement, even division, in the church that brings about the Counsel of Jerusalem where they need to make some decisions on what do we do with these Gentiles who are being brought into the church? What I love is that they have all this discussion, and then their conclusion is, they say, “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” I love that phrase. This picture of believers gathering together to discuss their disagreements, knowing that they’ve got to come to a conclusion, and that conclusion they come to is driven by the work of the Holy Spirit in that group.
Applying Acts 15:28
I just think about situations I’ve been in, and so many different relationships with other followers of Christ. It could be in marriage with my wife, I think about in family, I think about in the church, I think about in leadership in the church, when we’ve got decisions we’ve got to make, the importance of in the middle of those decisions, coming together, sharing what we are seeing, what we are sensing based on God’s word, and sharing our convictions, and then going to God in prayer and just asking Holy Spirit bring about consensus in us. Help us move forward. We want to get to a point where we can say … we’re on different pages when we come into this conversation, we want to get to the point, though, where we can say it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us that we do this.
When in disagreement, believers come together in the Word and in prayer, asking that God lead them to Spirit-driven consensus.
Encouragement for Believers
So I would just encourage you, if you are in a situation even right now where you and some other followers of Christ are disagreeing on something and you need to come to some consensus together, to spend time in the word together, to let the Spirit of God, through the word of God, form your convictions, guide your conversations, spend time praying, even fasting, before Him, and just plead for this kind of conclusion that the Lord, by his Spirit, would bring about consensus like this.
If you’re in that kind of situation now, or in the future, when you think about decisions that you are making alongside other followers of Christ, to work in the word, and to work in prayer, and fasting, and in community to come to conclusions where you’re able to say it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us that we do this.
A Prayer Against Division
So now let me pray along those lines. God, I pray for disagreements, and even potential divisions, that might be represented in all kinds of different people’s lives, and families, and churches right now or in the future, and decisions that need to be made. Lord, we want to honor you. We want to glorify and obey you. We want to discern what is wise and good when we make decisions in our lives, our families, and our churches.
So help us, we pray. We pray for Spirit-driven consensus. We pray that you would bless our time around your word, and our time seeking your face to bring about conclusions like we see in Acts 15:28. So that we can say it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us that we do this. We pray that you would sanctify us. Help us to grow more in the image of Christ in the process of making those decisions. We want to be more sensitive to your Spirit, and strong in your word. Help us, we pray, to make wise decisions that are led by your Spirit, in our lives, our families, and our churches. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.