Body: Read Acts 11:1-18 3. The Plea of Peter. In this section of the Book of Acts the word was spreading about the Gentiles being saved.
The circumcised believers criticized Peter’s ministry with and for the Gentiles. Peter recounted what happened. The circumcised had no further objections and praised God.
Applications – - Playing our parts. Notice in vs. 1 of this section of the Book of Acts that there were both brothers and Apostles. There were lay people/followers and leaders. Both types were believers, but they had different offices and functions.
So it is today. Just like the airplane pilot is no more a person or adult than you are, but he/she is the pilot and you are the passenger, so to in the church.
God places the leader and followers. We are equal in being believers, but we are different in assignment. The leader is assigned to lead and the followers are assigned to follow the God sent leader.
So much more can be accomplished, when we all operate in our various assignments because of our relationship with God (i.e., based on the same faith). Let’s work on playing our parts in the body of Christ.
- Word of mouth. Notice in vs. 1 of the Book of Acts how powerful “word of mouth” can be. On one hand, there are those who use word of mouth to gossip and spread false information too well.
But on the other hand, we behave as if we are too afraid, too uninformed, or too something to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If every member of the church made it their ministry to invite five and try to bring one unchurched loved one to church with them each week, the church would be packed.
Let’s work on using “word of mouth” to build up the kingdom of God.
We should be busy making the church attractive to our loved ones, so as they come to an event (e.g., personal finance seminar, healthy eating workshop, Super Bowl Party, etc.) they accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
- Transformation over tradition. Notice in vss. 2-3 of this section of the Book of Acts that the circumcised criticized, before they sought understanding.
They were more concerned with law issues and traditions than with the salvation of the people. Too many church goers are more concerned with traditions than with the transformation of people.
Let’s put transformation above traditions. On one hand, there needs to be a certain amount of decency and order in God’s church. But on the other hand, helping people get saved and growing in the Lord is more important than our traditions.
The strong are to bear the infirmities of the weak. In too many cases, this means the young and new must bear the infirmities of those who have advanced years and seniority. This is a shameful truth.
- Lessons from Peter. Notice several things about Peter’s response in vss. 4-7 of this section of the Book of Acts. First, Peter tried to explain. It can be a pain, but sometimes the best thing to do is explain to the critics what happened.
Sometimes they gain an understanding and stop criticizing. Other times they find something else to criticize. But sometimes, we have to try.
Second, Peter had a prayer life (vs. 5). We all ought to have a regular prayer life. What time of day and how long we pray is not as important as being regular and genuine in our praying. Praying more can help us cuss less.
Third, God can be fuzzy on some of the details. Sometimes our explanations are not satisfactory, because we have not received or understood all of the details ourselves. We truly walk by faith and not by sight.
Fourth, notice that God gave instructions to eat meat, which would be a good verse to support that God is not necessarily a vegetarian. Healthy eating is more important than simply being a vegetarian.
Let's work on explaining, praying, walking by faith, and healthy eating.
- Telling God “no.” Notice in vs. 8 of the Book of Acts the danger of telling the Lord "no." Whenever the Lord tell us to do something and we do not do it, we are in effect saying "no."
Think about God's instructions for us to help people get saved, for us to love one another, and for us to give to Him in proportion to how He has given to us. Let's obey God, instead of live a life that tells Him "no."
- God’s patience. Notice in vss. 8-10 of the Book of Acts how patient God can be. When God tells us the same thing three times that is an example of patience. Think about how many times God has told you the same thing.
The danger with God's patience is that some think that they can keep doing what they want to do and then in effect tell God to be patient. This is dangerous, because even though God is patient, He also punishes sin. Let's work on obedience instead of exhausting God's patience.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His
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