I. THE TEST OF THE PROBLEM OF LANGUAGE—
The first test of the oneness of the Body and of the one accord in the church was the test of the problem of language. Here we can see that murmurings arose because of the unequal daily dispensing of food. Even in the glorious condition of the church after the day of Pentecost, murmurings arose over the matter of eating. This problem was solved by the proper service arranged by the apostles according to the practical need (vv. 2-6).
II. THE TEST OF PETER’S CONTACT
WITH THE GENTILES—
According to the Levitical regulations (Lev. 11; cf. Acts 10:9-16, 28), the Jews were not allowed to contact the Gentiles. They considered the Gentiles unclean. However, in Acts 10 Peter contacted the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius. Because of this, a disputation arose between the disciples of the circumcision and Peter (Acts 11:2-3). This disputation was solved by Peter’s testifying of the facts according to the truth (vv. 4-18). In dealing with such disputes, we must present the facts, and these facts must be vouchsafed by the truth. Such a big problem must be solved in this way: by the presenting of facts that are fully according to the New Testament teaching, the truth.
III. THE TEST OF THE HERETICAL TEACHING
AS A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION—
The Judaizers, the Jewish believers, not only stressed the practice of circumcision, but also said that circumcision was a requirement for salvation (v. 1). This was a great heresy. No little dissension and discussion arose between the Judaic believers and those of the proper faith (vv. 2-5). This problem was solved by Paul and Barnabas and certain others among the believers going to Jerusalem from Antioch to have a conference with the apostles and the elders there (v. 2). The Bible shows us that when a question like this arises, the leading ones need to come together to have a conference, to bring everything out into the open. The problem in Acts 15 was solved by Paul and Barnabas going to Jerusalem, having a conference with the apostles and the elders there, and through thorough fellowship, working out a solution that satisfied all the believers in different localities, a solution over which all the churches rejoiced and by which they were comforted (vv. 2, 6-31). This is the way we should solve the problems among us today. I believe that if from the beginning the concerned brothers among us would have had a sincere heart with a pure motive to come together to pray, to study the Word, and to fellowship, their concerns would have been easily taken care of. However, until now the brothers have been avoiding this kind of necessary fellowship.
(Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (2), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)