Acts 11- Changed by the Spirit of God
Changed by the Spirit of God
Rev Con Despinidic 5th February 2017 Isaiah 49:1-7 Acts 11:1-19
When we look at the Bible it is easy to lose sight of the fact that many things that happened, happened over period of time.
Descent of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-13:- AD 30
Setting Up of the Church Acts 2:40-47:- AD 30
Conversion of Saul Acts 9:1-9:- AD 36 6 years after the Day of Pentecost
First Gentile Converted Acts 10:1-48:- AD 40 10 years have now passed by.
IF NOTHING ELSE THIS SHOULD ENCOURAGE US TO BE PATIENT.
2. I believe that sometimes we spend too much time trying to do the work of God, we sweat over it and we agonize and so on when we should rest in Him and trust God to do His sovereign work in our lives and in the life of His Church.
3. God the Father wants He wants each one of us to be.
a. Ready for service and
b. Obedient when we hear his call.
So far the church was growing; lives were being challenged and changed.
Peter is on a roll, God has spoken to him and he responds by being obedient.
This was not easy- as we saw in Acts chapter 10- for Peter’s perception of life and the Gospel had to change!
Over many generations Peter and his fellows Jews had been told by God that they had to follow certain rules, this impacted what they ate and activities in the world. God had good reasons for the many restrictions that He imposed on the Jewish nation.
They were to be a Holy people.
They were to Trust God for all things.
They were to be a light to the world- God’s representatives- untainted by the practices of the world.
Yet, they became proud and arrogant.
They saw that the only way to God was to embrace the faith of Israel- become a convert to Judaism, be circumcised and obey the law.
When we first looked at chapter 10 I said that this chapter was the beginning of something new, the church is about to change direction- This is the fulfillment of the Lord Jesus’s command to Mark 16:15-16 “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. 16 Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe me will be condemned.” Contemporary English Version
Peter had to be reprogrammed:- Peter’s words — “I now realize” (10:34) — registers his own surprise at the new understanding he has just received, the great thing about this new revelation is that he can share it with others!
He speaks and challenges his hearers and himself:-
“I believe that the best sermons are those that enlighten the preacher as well as the preached to.”
Ten years have passed by since the day of Pentecost- and news has reached the church in Jerusalem that the Gentiles have been saved, Peter had experienced a beautiful thing, and one might be tempted to say that he was on a high!
I’ve’ been there on a high, God has wonderfully blessed!
And then someone challenges you!
Just when you thought that it was safe to go out!
Acts 11 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
You would have thought that the church in Jerusalem would have been happy to see the Gospel spread and Gentiles saved!
This was not the case-
There are always those who lose sight of the forest because of the tree!
In other words the small details that take so much time and effort become so important that the overall picture is missed!
What businesses are we in? THINK ABOUT THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.
1. Worship- privately and cooperate
2. The proclamation of the Gospel.
Peter goes to Jerusalem to share the good news of the conversion of the Gentiles.
They did not rejoice in the Gentiles coming to faith!
Their concern was that Peter broke the law-2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticised him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
To this Peter’s reply was a simple one- This is my story.
This is how God dealt with my prejudices- This was my learning curve. Acts 11:4-10
“Having fellowship with the Gentiles was a new experience for these Jewish Christians who all their lives had looked on the Gentiles as pagans and outsiders. Tradition said that ‘a gentile had to become a Jew’ in order to be accepted.”
P 477 Wiersbe.
A couple of things come to mind here’
1. Why did Peter go up to Jerusalem?
2. Why did he explain himself?
This incident was a turning point.
a. Peter gave an account of himself because he knew that he was under authority-
We are all under authority. God is a God or order’ 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”
b. Secondly this was the opportunity to share what God had done IN HIS LIFE- in RELATION TO HIS ATTITUDES. (Attitude adjustments are not always that easy!)
Peter wanted to show the church that they were to spread the Good news to all. Look said Peter, I will not defend myself, this is what God has Done!
They accepted the gentiles. 11:1-18
The truth always prevails!
May our eyes always be open to the wonderful truths of God.