Body: Read Acts 11:11-18 3. The Plea of Peter. In vss. 1-10 of eleventh chapter of the book of Acts, the word was spreading about the Gentiles being saved. The circumcised believers criticized Peter’s ministry with and the Gentiles. Peter recounted what happened.
In vss. 11-18, Peter finishes his recounting of what happened. The circumcised had no further objections and praised God.
Applications – - Discerning and obeying the Holy Spirit. Notice in vs. 12 of the book of Acts that Peter followed the Spirit. On one hand, we should be open to following the Holy Spirit’s leading.
On the other hand, we want to make sure we are following the Holy Spirit and not the wrong spirit. The Holy Spirit will not lead us contrary to God’s word.
Which means we should prayerfully study God’s word, so we can discern when the Holy Spirit is speaking or some other spirit is speaking.
We should then obey what we believe to be the Holy Spirit, with the blessed assurance that if we discover that we have made a mistake in our discernment, we can repent. Let’s work on discerning and obeying the Holy Spirit.
- Witnesses. Notice in vs. 12 that Peter had witnesses. There are times when a disagreement comes down to one person’s word against another’s.
It is helpful to have witnesses to attest to the facts of the matter, so people will not have to choose between whose word they will believe. The more important the matter, the more important it is to have witnesses.
Let’s work on doing things in ways that promote decency and order. Think about important personal documents needing to be notarized and the need to have witnesses and minutes of church agreements.
- Confirmation of God’s will. Notice in vs. 15 of this section of the book of Acts that as Peter obeyed the Holy Spirit, God provided confirmation.
God has a way of confirming His will. There are times when we step out on faith, in spite of unanswered questions. But thank God, God often gives us some evidence that we made the right decision.
For example, we may have stayed with a job, in spite of being offered another, and in a few months the job being offered was discontinued. Let’s obey God with the confidence that God can confirm His will as He sees fit.
- Baptism. Notice in vs. 16 of the book of Acts that Peter remembered what the Lord said about baptism.
First, in order to remember, we have to put something in our memory. Prayerful study is so important, because it gives the Holy Spirit something to bring back to our memory.
Second, baptism takes place at two levels for believers. There is water baptism, which is the ritual that we do in our baptism pool to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
This ordinance is for believers, others are simply getting wet. Spiritual baptism is what the Holy Spirit does, when He puts us in the body of Christ/universal Church. The Spirit’s work is not based on our feeling anything when He does it.
The Spirit does His work as He sees fit (see I Cor. 12:13). Let’s work on living like we are resurrected believers who are in the body of Christ/universal church. Such living should be noted for loving God, others, and ourselves.
- Don’t oppose the gift. Notice in vs. 17 the idea of opposing the gift of God is like opposing God Himself. There are too many who allow personal dislikes to lead to opposing God’s gifts and God Himself.
Whether you like a person or not, you need to be open to what God is doing in and through the person’s life. And by the same token, we should seek to discern what God is doing through our “friends.”
We ought not allow our friends to get us in trouble with God. Let’s work on submitting to God’s will, no matter who God wants to use and no matter how God wants to work.
- When to stop objecting. Notice in vs. 18 of the book of Acts that when the circumcised heard what God was doing, they stopped objecting.
There are too many who get so entrenched in their position that no matter how logical the evidence that is being presented may be, they will not change their position. We should work on staying open to growing into what God wants us to be and do.
We all see through a glass darkly, which means we may learn something today that will help us see a little clearer. Seeing clearer should lead to living better.
Let’s work on staying open to God’s will being done. Prayerful study and keeping our emotions and ego under control can help us with this application.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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