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THE EARLY CHURCH ACCEPTS CONVERTED GENTILES.

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In Acts 15, While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch, men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers had to keep ancient Jewish custom of circumcision. Paul and Barnabas argued and finally, the believers sent them to Jerusalem to talk to the apostles and elders there about this question. 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. 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. Later, Peter stood up at the meeting and said: “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 we all are saved the same way, by the free gift of the Lord Jesus?” They decided the gentile converts should refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, from all fornication, and also from eating meat of strangled animals. FRIENDS, THE EARLY CHURCH STRUGGLED WITH HOW TO INTEGRATE THE GENTILES INTO THEIR CHURCH. AT FIRST, THEY DEMANDED THE SAME RULES THE JEWS ABIDED BY. LATER, THEY AGREED TO ACCEPT THE GENTILES BUT REQUESTED THE GENTILE CONVERTS ABSTAIN EATING MEAT OFFERED TO IDOLS AND FORNICATION. SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD! Romans 2:10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who obey him,[a] whether they are Jews or

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