While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers that unless they adhered to the ancient Jewish custom of circumcision, they could not be saved. Paul and Barnabas argued and discussed this with them at length, and finally the believers sent them to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local men, to talk to the apostles and elders there about this question. After the entire congregation had escorted them out of the city, the delegates went on to Jerusalem, stopping along the way in the cities of Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers, telling them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. Arriving in Jerusalem, they met with the church leaders—all the apostles and elders were present—and Paul and Barnabas reported on what God had been doing through their ministry. But then some of the men who had been Pharisees before their conversion stood to their feet and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow all the Jewish customs and ceremonies. So the apostles and church elders set a further meeting to decide this question. At the meeting, after long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you long ago to preach the Good News to the Gentiles so that they also could believe. God, who knows men’s hearts, confirmed the fact that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he gave him to us. He made no distinction between them and us, for he cleansed their lives through faith, just as he did ours. And now are you going to correct God by burdening the Gentiles with a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? Don’t you believe that all are saved the same way, by the free gift of the Lord Jesus?” There was no further discussion, and everyone now listened as Barnabas and Paul told about the miracles God had done through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished, James took the floor. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people to bring honor to his name. An this fact of Gentile conversion agrees with what the prophets predicted. For instance, listen to this passage from the prophet Amos: ‘Afterwards’ (says the Lord), ‘I will rdeturn and renew the broken contract with David, so that Gentiles, too, will find the Lord—all those marked with my name.’ That is what the Lord says, who reveals his plans made from the beginning. “And so my judgment is that we should not insist that the Gentiles who turn to God must obey our Jewish laws, except that we should write to them to refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, from all fornication, and also from eating unbled meat of strangled animals. For these things have been preached against in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” Acts 15:1-21
Step One in the Living Life Recovery Steps says: “I admit that my life is a mess and I am out of control.” Step Two says: “I believe God exists, that He cares about me and He can help me to regain control of my life.” Step Three Says: “I am making a decision to let God help me change and commit to working with Him to do so.”
Acts 15:9-10 says “He made no distinction between them and us, for he cleansed their lives through faith, just as he did ours. And now are you going to correct God by burdening the Gentiles with a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?”
I think it can be like that is certain recovery fellowships we set a lot of rules for people to follow and make the process of recovery too difficult for people to ever achieve anything like lasting, growing recovery. Bill Wilson on realising His life was a mess and out of control had one thought: “Find another alcoholic and talk to them about their life and how they can improve it.” With one rule in mind: “No matter what happens to me I WILL NOT DRINK.” Simple but not always easy. Bill Wilson also realised recovery was about putting our faith in our Creator, believing He could and would help us recover.
What the Bible says about rules
If you obey My decrees and My regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord. Leviticus 18:5
OBEYING GOD WILL BRING YOU PEACE AND MERCY
May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Galatians 6:16
OBEYING GOD IS A LIFELONG PROCESS OF PROGRESS
We must hold on to the progress we have already made. Philippians 3:16
Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too. Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to keep it that way. I especially need your prayers right now so that I can come back to you sooner. And now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he who became the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting agreement between God and you, signed with his blood, produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. Brethren, please listen patiently to what I have said in this letter, for it is a short one. I want you to know that Brother Timothy is now out of jail; if he comes here soon, I will come with him to see you. Give my greetings to all your leaders and to the other believers there. The Christians from Italy who are here with me send you their love. God’s grace be with you all. Good-bye. Hebrews 13:17-25
Step Four of the Life Recovery Steps says: “In order to help me change I will investigate and record with God’s help my sinful habits and attitudes.” Step Five says: “On completion of my list of sinful habits I will confess them to God and to someone that I trust.”
In the process of recovery we all need role models and we all need support people. People who are going to lead us, point us in the right direction and walk with us. None of us can recover on our own. Nor can we recover just by says “God knows all about it.” and doing nothing to change. We never ended up in recovery by mistake. It is a God directed process on making the decision to let God help us change and committing to the process (Step 3). And, in the process He has already appointed spiritual leaders to be His leaders in showing us how to live according to His will for our lives. Our part in the process is to listen, learn and apply what we learn to our lives.
What the Bible says about listening, learning and applying what we learn.
YOU WON’T LEARN ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FROM ONE PERSON
Get all the advice you can and be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20
GOD WILL REVEAL TRUTHS TO YOU HE WON’T REVEAL TO OTHERS
Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14
AS WE LISTEN, LEARN AND APPLY WHAT WE LEARNED GOD EXPECTS US TO TEACH THE TRUTH TO OTHERS
He sent us to preach the Good News everywhere and to testify that Jesus is ordained of God to be the Judge of all— living and dead. Acts 10:42