Acts 10 & 11 – New way of thinking…

Good evening y’all. Today we are studying acts 10 and 11.

Be blessed 🙂

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Prayer is an important part of our lives as Christians.  I once heard a preacher say “a prayerless christian is a powerless christian”. Even Jesus himself often retreated to pray and He taught His disciples to do the same.

We see in this chapter how the prayer of one man and His household brought about salvation to the Gentiles. Verse 1 & 2 says:
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always” (KJV).

It’s most likely that during one of his prayer time, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a vision asking him to send for Peter.

Peter was also praying when he fell into a trance in which God showed him how wrong his thinking was regarding what was clean and unclean.
“About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray” (v10 NIV)

It is in the place of prayer that God reveals secrets to us,  gives us instruction and direction. That why the bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  See this article by Courtney from GMG on  How to Create a Prayer Closet – Your War Room

It’s not in our place to judge people or deem them unworthy of God’s love. Often times we look down on people. We judge them because they don’t fit into our ideal or they don’t have same color as us or even speak like we do, or because of their past or background. So we conclude they are of no good and can’t be used by God or receive God’s mercy. Even same was said of Jesus. In the book of John, when Philip was trying to tell Nathanael about Jesus, Nathanael responded and said “can anything good come our of Nazareth? To him it was impossible for someone as good as Jesus to come out of that town but God had other plans. This is the reason why we can’t pick and choose who we preach the gospel to for we don’t know what God has planned to do through them.

“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied”(John 1:46 NLT)

Peter was faced with a similar issue. God knew that he would struggle with the idea of hanging out with gentiles, hence the Lord revealed it to him in a dream. Even Peter himself confessed in verses 27 – 29 that he was only at Cornelius house because of the vision God showed him.

“While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” (NIV)

His obedience led to the Cornelius and his family’s salvation, and even the rest of the gentiles (including you and I).

Acts 11
The rest of the apostles were not happy that Peter went into the house of a gentile and also ate there.  To them, a gentile is unclean and could potentially defile them. They had not yet caught the revelation Peter had. So Peter had to gently explain all that had transpired to them.  In the end they were won over and happy about what God was doing in their midst.

I’m amazed at the apostles though, because Jesus’ promise to them in Acts 1: 8 was that they will preach the gospel all around the world. I guess the apostles assumed it will be only for the Jews in the world

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

I guess they did what we probably are prone to doing as well, which is putting God in a box and thinking that He only likes certain things because that’s what we like.

“We all get into mental ruts and often need a whack on the side of the head to jar us into new and better ways of thinking. Also, we all bring a lot of wrong-thinking baggage with us into the Christian life. If we are to grow into being more like Jesus, every once in a while God has to take a 2×4 and gently whack us on the side of the head to help us change our thinking.

We’ve seen how the Lord whacked Peter in preparation for his going to the house of the Gentile centurion, Cornelius. No Jew would think of going into a Gentile’s home, much less eating with Gentiles, for fear of contracting ceremonial defilement. The Lord Jesus had clearly told the apostles to go into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature. But in their centuries-old Jewish way of thinking, the disciples thought that Jesus meant for them to go and preach to Jews who were scattered all over the world. The thought of preaching the gospel to pagan Gentiles and of those Gentiles coming to salvation without first becoming religious Jews was simply unthinkable.

But now the unthinkable has happened for Peter. He wisely had taken six Jewish believers with him to Cornelius’ house, who witnessed what God was doing. They all saw the Holy Spirit fall upon the Gentiles in just the same way as He had fallen upon the believing Jews on the Day of Pentecost. But now Peter goes back to Jerusalem and the Jewish believers there call him on the carpet because he “went to uncircumcised men and ate with them” (11:3).

A lot of pastors just skip over these verses, since they repeat the story of chapter 10. But whenever Scripture repeats something, we need to take notice. There is an important lesson here that we might be prone to miss. Our text shows how God changed the thinking of these Christians on a matter that was essential for the spread of the gospel. If the Gentiles had been required to adopt Jewish rituals and ceremonies to be saved, the gospel would not have spread around the Gentile world as it did, and it would be a different “gospel.” The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to include this story twice so that the Jewish believers especially would see that salvation is not a matter of adopting Jewish rituals, but rather of God saving people of every race through faith in Christ alone”. (Excerpt by Stephen J Cole, Lesson 27: How God Changes Our Thinking (Acts 11:1-18), https://bible.org)

I pray we will allow the Holy Spirit work in us freely and correct any thinking that is not in line with that of God. I pray we learn not to put God in a box or try to force Him to fit into our ideas. In Jesus’ name we prayed. Amen

Thanks for joining today. Please feel free to share your thots on the chapters 🙂

Have a blessed evening 🙂

***With God all things are possible***

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