22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.
The church in Jerusalem decided to basically send out some missionaries to Antioch with Paul&Barnabas.
23With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They sent a letter with the men that they chose (Judas and Silas).
The letter said something to the effect of "some of you went out without our permission and confused some of the other believers, so we're going to send some guys to help straighten you out. They're not ordinary guys though, they've risked their lives for the name of Jesus."
That's pretty intense. I mean, I think it's safe to say that I've never risked my LIFE for Jesus. There are a ton of people today who have, but I'm not one of them.
The devotion shown by Judas&Silas is amazing.
27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You 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.
So, because some of the people were confused (or maybe because there were Gentiles who had never heard this stuff before?) Judas and Silas were sent to help them and to confirm in spoken words what was written in the letter. They felt that the Holy Spirit was telling them to not tell them anything other than the requirements listed. They would "do well to avoid [those] things."
Fare thee well my compadres. (Not yet. PSYCH!)
30The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Silas&Judas went to Antioch and got the church together and gave them the letter. The church was happy to get the letter and were very much encouraged by it. Just like I was encouraged to listen to Peter speak tonight. And just to be in the company of such strong Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Judas&Silas were both prophets and they shared some of what God had told them too. "[They]... said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers."
I've decided that I really like calling other believers "brother" or "sister." It's so much better than... "insert name here" hah.
But back to Acts: After Judas&Silas spent some time in Antioch, they were sent back to the ones who had sent them with the blessings of the other brothers. Paul&Barnabas stayed in Antioch and taught and preached the word of God.
A little bit of what Peter talked about tonight was preaching. He made the... obvious point that, if someone has never heard the gospel, how can they believe it? They can't.
So talk about God and the gospel every single day! =)
And with that, I'm going to go to sleep now!
Goodnight rest of the world... :)