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So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they were relating at length the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all the things God had done with them. But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.”
The question on the table is, “Do you need to be circumcised (physically) to be saved?” Acts 15: 6-11 (NKJV) responds: “Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.’”
For if I boast somewhat more about our authority that the Lord gave us for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of doing so. I do not want to seem as though I am trying to terrify you with my letters, because some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is weak and his speech is of no account.” Let such a person consider this: What we say by letters when we are absent, we also are in actions when we are present.
Some are saying that Paul is all talk, and his response comes bearing the message of living a life of integrity and consistency. It is right for how you live to reflect the words you speak. Boldness and authority that are given by the living God can appear in someone’s life as humility or patience. God’s manifestation of His glory through our lives may look different than we expect. After all, Jesus hit the scene and He was quite different than what was expected for the Messiah who was to come. Who we are will collide with what we speak, and Jesus will be the judge of whether those two things line up. Paul boasts in the Lord and the authority he has been given in his ministry. That authority, like the authority we have been given in Christ Jesus, is to build up and not to tear down.
We sent Timothy, our brother and fellow worker for God in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen you and encourage you about your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For in fact when we were with you, we were telling you in advance that we would suffer affliction, and so it has happened, as you well know.
Jesus’ invitation to follow Him comes with carrying a cross. Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” Jesus took up a cross that paid for the sins of all people, and in doing so He received humiliation, beating, and punishment…He received suffering. He suffered these things knowingly, and chose to save us anyway. Likewise, as we take up our cross and follow Jesus, suffering and persecution will become part of our lives. This is so because those who are of the world will reject Christ and Him crucified. Do not lose heart in the midst of this suffering, for the Lord God is the living God over all, and that includes your suffering in Christ Jesus. Let the shadow of His wings give you peace.
Remember your leaders, who spoke God’s message to you; reflect on the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith.
Good leaders will show you how to walk in the Lord by living out their faith authentically in front of you. The hope here is that we imitate the faith of those who have been entrusted and proven trustworthy with the gospel, and live accordingly. As you become involved with leaders, pray that the Holy Spirit would lead you into strong, healthy, godly relationships that will train you well in Christ. Pray for them, that God would grant them wisdom and discernment. Leaders, your responsibility is great and this verse echoes that truth. Pray for an encourage those whom God has placed under your leadership. Your way of life should be displaying truth in a loving way so that the next generation is anchored to the gospel.
When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
This is really more a depth question than a length question. Pride can be at work even here in the heart of the person praying - which is a danger whether your prayer is very long, or very short. Approach God as who He is: our loving heavenly Father. He knows you perfectly, knows what you need, and is able to answer! Trust Him with your heart, because He has proven faithful and His love is known as "unfailing". There is no need to impress God with many words, simply reveal your heart to Him in prayer.