Read Acts 10:23b- 29
2. The Preaching of Peter. In this section of the Book of Acts Peter and company made it to Cornelius’ house. Cornelius is taught to not reverence Peter as someone other than simply a man being used by God.
Peter mentions his initial concerns. But he is yielding the Spirit.
- Obeying, gathering, and respecting. Notice in vss. 23b-26 of this section of the Book of Acts the ideas of following God’s will, gathering our loved ones to God, and reverence.
First, whatever the Lord says do, no matter how we feel about it, we should do it. There is a way that seems right to a person, but the end there of is the way of death.
Second, as in the text, we should do what we can to gather our loved ones around the Lord. We cannot make, especially grown people, do anything; but we should make sure we are being as persuasive as we can. Sometimes love is more persuasive than nagging.
Third, on one hand, we should not reverence or respect anyone as highly as we reverence and respect God. But on the other hand, we should reverence and respect people at their appropriate levels.
When we stand for the judge to come into the courtroom or when mature believers stand for their Pastor coming into the pulpit, these gestures don’t equate the judge or Pastor with God. But they do show an appropriate level of respect.
Referring to the President of our country by President and his last name is appropriately respectful without making the person equal with God. As in the text, context has much to do with what gestures mean.
This gesture was over the top for Peter and therefore adjustments were made. Let’s work on obeying God’s will, gathering our loved ones to the Lord, and showing appropriate respect.
- Comfort zones. Notice in vss. 27-29 of this section of the Book of Acts that Peter allowed the Lord to move him past his comfort zone. There are too many who limit God’s calling on their lives to that which is comfortable and familiar.
The result of this kind of thinking is that we may be missing out on the new things that God is calling us to do for Him. Whatever the Lord says do, do it.
The best way to know what the Lord is saying is to prayerfully study the Bible with a mind to obey and with wise counsel. Let’s work on trusting God beyond our comfort zones.
- Accepting the “unclean.” Notice in vs. 28 of this section of the Book of Acts the idea of no unclean people. On one hand, there are certainly unclean behaviors and unclean motives.
Adultery, murder, and robbery (inc. robbing God of His proportionate giving) are unclean behaviors. Malice, envy, and greed are unclean motives. Verse 28 should not be used to say that there is nothing unclean.
But on the other hand, no matter how unclean a person’s behavior and motives may be, the person him/her – self, is clean in the eyes of God. God sees more, when He looks at a sinner, than sins.
God sees that there is at least some marred or distorted image of God in the worst of people. The most sinful person can be saved by accepting Jesus as savior by faith.
This should move us to expel our thinking of people as being so unclean that they are beyond redemption.
In my context (i.e., Black heterosexual conservatives), we must not become so comfortable with ourselves that we forget that God can save and a do a great work in whom every He chooses. God can work with race. God can clean up the homosexual.
And God can help the conservative expand and the liberal to contract. Let’s work on accepting those whom God accepts.
Time will not allow for the issue of church discipline of those who cause sinful offense in the body of Christ.
But let me at least say that even though we should discipline those who cause sinful offense in the church, we should also be more than willing to accept them back, when they repent. Most churches have too little discipline, and some have too much.
Read Acts 10:30-48
2. The Preaching of Peter (continued). In this section of the Book of Acts Cornelius explained how he responded to a message from God to call for Simon Peter.
Peter began to speak about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit came on the household of Cornelius, and they spoke in tongues. Peter had them baptized, in light of no objection to the Spirit being in them as in Jerusalem.
- Humble acceptance of God’s ministering to us. Notice in vs. 33 that in spite of all that Cornelius had going for him, he still needed to hear what God was saying through Peter.
Some think that their individual piety (e.g., prayer, moral living, being a good person, etc.) and giving exempts them from hearing the person of God.
To those who have been blessed well above average, like myself, I remind us that all that we have is a gift from God.
As it was given, it can be taken away, if we cannot humble ourselves before God and the ways that He decides to minister to us. Let’s work on humbling accepting God’s ways of ministering to us.
- Jesus being Lord of all. Notice in vs. 36 of this section of the Book of Acts that Jesus is Lord of all. Jesus is bigger than Blackness, Whiteness, middle classism, Americanism, and so many other boxes that we try to put Him into.
On one hand, we should be careful about thinking of God only in terms of our experience. On the other hand, we should be thankful that as great as God is, He yet visits our situations, with His power, love, and lordship.
As Lord, there is nothing too hard for God. Let’s live like we really believe that Jesus is Lord. Such living is demonstrated by obeying the Lord’s will. At the core of His will is for us to love Him and others as we love ourselves.
- Being a blessing to others. Notice in vs. 38 of this section of the Book of Acts that Jesus is known for doing good, healing, and ministering to those under the power of the devil.
This is such a marvelous text for us to live by. Surely, we can see that the devil is so busy in the lives of so many people.
Think about young people who are more concerned with drugs, sex, and rebellion than with preparing to make a great contribution to society. Think about families that are suffering from so many financial, relational, and health problems.
As disciples of Christ, we should strive to do good, heal, and minister. We ought to do what we can, which may be simply planting or watering a seed. Let’s work on letting God use us to be a blessing to others.
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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