Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 6:1-6; Acts 10:1-23; Matt. 5:17-20; Acts 11:3-24; Acts 15:1-22; Amos 9:11, 12.
Memory Text: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27, 28, NKJV).
One of the most difficult tasks of any Christian community is to maintain unity when differences of opinions arise on matters pertaining to the identity and mission of the church. These differences can lead to devastating consequences.
Today’s Christian communities are no different from those we see in the New Testament. People are people, and differences, even over important points, will come. Early Christians faced some conflicts arising from perceived interpersonal prejudices and from serious differences of interpretations of key Old Testament stories and practices. These conflicts could have destroyed the church in its infancy had it not been for thoughtful apostles and leaders who sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures to resolve these tensions.
A few weeks ago we studied how the early church experienced church unity. This week we look at how the early church solved the inner conflicts that undermined its unity and threatened its survival. What were these conflicts, how were they resolved, and what can we today learn from those experiences?