Acts Devotionals

The Conduit

In the mid 1970’s we went with friend to see the lady’s parents for a weekend getaway in Porterville, situated inland of the “old Boland”. Her father had a house on a piece of land outside of town which he used for growing vegetables. Everything he grew was by far the biggest and most colourful I have ever seen. I asked him why everything was so huge and green (naturally the tomatoes, carrots, radish, etc. were their normal color). He then explained that he purchased water three times a week for one hour each day. The water flows in irrigation canals to the small time farmers where sluice gates are opened at the bottom of their fields and water then flows from the main canal into deep furrows where there are similar gates that are opens for the water to irrigate the fields. The volume of water delivered in one hour, three times a week is the reason his crops look so good. The canal and furrows are a conduit, transporting water to his fields.

Those who are intentional about living in union with God through Jesus Christ find the Holy Spirit acting as a conduit, carrying spiritual wisdom and blessings to the body of Christ through the spiritual leaders of the Church. Please read:

Ac 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

1) The messengers and the letter. Although we have touched on this before, please notice that the letter is part of the Bible … meaning it is fully inspired and God’s inerrant Word.

Ac 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.

Judas and Silas were the interpreters and confirmers for the apostles and elders should it be required. We know that many of us have access to commentaries and other Christian material enabling us to understand those parts of the Bible we struggle with … but we still need pastor teachers (teaching elders) to expound God’s Word to us. In other words we need the Word and we need the messenger. See the reason God appointed pastor teachers:

Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

2) The Holy Spirit and the apostles and elders.

Ac 15:28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.

The spiritual leaders were the conduit, the canal … the furrows through which the Holy Spirit conveyed wisdom and discernment. The structure of the sentence tells us that the Holy Spirit not only indwelt and possessed these leaders, He controlled their discussions, thinking and decision making. The Holy Spirit’s wisdom was conveyed through the conduit of the spiritual leaders to the Gentile Churches. This is why the letter is part of Scripture because the Holy Spirit is the author of all Scripture.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Couple this with:

1 Pet 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

No congregation can do without a pastor teacher to explain God’s Word accurately. He is a conduit for the Holy Spirit, as is the children and youth leaders. But to be a conduit, the spiritual leader needs to be a man of the Word and prayer. These two spiritual disciplines draw the leader closer to God and ready him to hear God speaking through the Word so that the wisdom of God might flow through him to those he shepherds.

3) The separation from everything demonic. The next statement is crucial … the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

(i) Food sacrificed to idols. This was meat left over from animals sacrificed at pagan temples. This means that these sacrifices were offered to demons and even though the meat would not be poisoned, it was offered to a demon and would be offensive to the Jews who would be an onlooker.

(ii) Blood. The same would be true should these Gentile Christians consume blood.

(iii) Meat of strangled animals. The same would apply to eating meat of strangled animals.

Although some of these things were prohibited under the Old Covenant, for the Jewish Christian to witness the Gentile Christian consuming these things, he would be seriously offended. Later Paul under inspiration provider greater insight:

Ro 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

Eating certain foods or not eating it would be a matter of conscience. An individual has a choice but to prevent the weaker brother from falling into sin, don’t eat what offends him!

Ro 14:19 All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

This is the reason the Holy Spirit and the Court of apostles and elders recommended they refrain from consuming these three things.

(iv) Sexual immorality. In the pagan world, all shapes of what we label as sexual immorality was acceptable. Homosexuality, incest, adultery, bisexuality, fornication and what we call pornography … pornea … which amounts to the same thing is sexual immorality. The Jew had strict sex laws within the Scriptures. The pagan Gentile needed to cease sexual promiscuity … not only to not offend the Jew, but it was sinful rebellion against the One who created sex for a one man, one woman monogamous married union. We live in a world where what we eat is no longer a problem and we must not force our eating diets on others … but as Christians we need to uphold God’s requirements when it comes to sexual immorality. We are all human and we are all created as sensual beings yet the only way for anyone to protect him or herself from sexual immorality is through daily reading the Scriptures and applying it to our souls through intense prayer … and this prayer needs to cover where we are most vulnerable. If it is the sexual realm, then this must be our prayer!

4) The recipients and blessings. The words … You will do well to avoid these things … literally means that when the Churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia avoid these matters contained in the letter, they will not offend the Jewish Christians and they themselves will be richly blessed by God. The same is true for you and me. The closer you are to Jesus, the closer you are to holiness and the more the Holy Spirit protects you from the enemy’s onslaught.

Father, thank You for the teaching in Your Word. We realize it is hard to apply as we may be stubborn when it comes to not offending our brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us precious Lord. As sensual beings, we too need much help for we might not transgress physically, yet the eye and fantasy are prone towards wickedness. Help us, gracious Lord, to live holy lives that bring glory to You. Amen.

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