Today’s Passages – Acts 11 – 13; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read –Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the Evening and Morning devotions for today from the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Beginning of the Journey”
“1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, 5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: 6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. 12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house: 13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:1-18)
In the passage above, we read of Peter’s rehearsal of the events that took place in chapter ten, the first recorded conversion in the Book of Acts of a Gentile. Let me clarify that statement. Previously, in Acts eight, we read about a revival that took place in Samaria, which was populated by people who were of mixed Jewish / Gentile blood and had some connection to Judaism. We also saw the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch who was a Gentile by blood but was obviously a convert to Judaism because the passage tells us that when Phillip the evangelist finds him he was on his way back from Jerusalem where he was worshipping. The account given here in chapter eleven, however, is about a man, a Roman centurion, who was of Gentile blood and neither was he a Jewish proselyte. The Scripture tells, however, that he did have a fear of God (Acts 10:22).
There are a couple of things that I would like to pull from this passage.
1. Peter was very reluctant to speak to this Gentile because of some presupposed ideas of God’s attitude toward the Gentiles, which were wrong. God had to convince Peter three times through the illustration of eating the the unclean animals that it was OK for him to preach Christ to Cornelius. Peter was convinced that he was right and it took a lot for God to convince him otherwise. I wonder if there are things in our lives that we are sure that we are right about that maybe God wants us to change our minds about.
2. Even though God had convinced Peter that it was the will of God for Gentiles to be saved, there were still many within Peter’s circle of friends who were not happy about what Peter had done. Sometimes, it will take a while before other people recognize the will of God, but we must boldly stand against the crowd, if need be, and for what the Lord wants us to do.
3. When Peter and the other disciples envisioned the Kingdom and what Jesus was going to do, they did not see what had actually happened. The Romans were still in authority, the corrupt religious leaders were still in charge of Judaism, and now the door to salvation was opened to the Gentiles. This was not at all what the disciples expected (or wanted). Yet, God had other plans. Peter and the disciples had to abandon their ideas and accept God’s will. God has a will for your life as well, which may be radically different than what you want. Let me remind you that God’s ways are not only higher than our ways, they are also much better.
Let me give you an application and illustration that relates to this passage. Recently, there has been a teenage girl coming to our church who looks, dresses, and acts like a boy. In this transgender crazed society that we are living in, this should not be a surprise. Anyway, this young lady has been faithfully attending for a couple of months and has recently made a profession of faith in Christ. Our church has not said anything to her personally about the way she dresses, outside of what would be preached to the entire congregation about the subjects of transgenderism and homosexuality from the pulpit. We have just loved her and have been trying to teach her the Scriptures. I believe that God will work in this young lady’s life and conform her into what He wants her to be. My point about all this is that this particular young lady would have probably been my last choice if I had to select a person that God was going to save and transform into His image. I had to be reminded through this passage: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.“
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with .