Daily Word

Spirit of generosity | Acts 11:27-30

27 During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) 29 So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters[h] in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. 30 This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

Acts 11:27-30 (NLT) 中文

Barbabas & Saul ministry cont.

Due to persecution, some new believers headed out of Jerusalem to nearby areas like Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch. They preached the gospel to the Jews. Some went to Antioch and preached to gentiles and many were being saved. The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to check if it was legit. He rejoiced then went and got Saul from Tarsus to help for a year. Now they continue their ministry together.

Prophets in the New Testament

If you know the Bible, you know the Old Testament is full of prophets who proclaimed the Word of God and others who spoke of future events. A number of books are even mostly prophecy (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.). The NT is also loaded with prophecy. Jesus himself prophesied much – about His death and end times. Revelations is mostly about the end times. “Professor and theologian J. Barton Payne lists 1,817 prophecies in the Bible.” (gotquestions.org) That is about 25% of the Bible; and at least ½ have already been fulfilled! Paul also lists the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10 and Romans 12:6). 

Prophecy of famine

So here we have a few folks identified as prophets (having the gift of prophecy). They come down from Jerusalem and one, Agabus, “foretold by the Spirit” (ESV) that a famine was coming. “We know from other sources that Claudius’s principate was marked by a succession of bad harvests and consequent scarcity in various parts of the empire – in Rome, Greece, and Egypt as well as in Judaea.” (Bruce quoted by enduringword.com)

Spirit of generosity

As the Spirit was speaking through Agabus about the coming famine, the new believers of Antioch responded with a spirit of giving. What this demonstrates to me is the unity of Spirit in purpose and ministry. Remember in Acts 4:32-35 how the believers sacrificially gave so that no one in the church had need. This same spirit of generosity is at work here in this growing new Antioch church. And when they gave, they also gave sacrificially. They entrusted the funds to Barnabas and Saul to take them to the church leaders in Jerusalem.

RЯeflection

  • Do you believe you have the gift of prophecy? It’s a wonderful gift, designed, as all gifts, to build up the body of Christ. Make sure you use it and, when you do, use it under the direction of the Spirit. It is, of course, the Spirit’s gift that He gives as He desires and directs.
  • Believe it or not, generous giving is also a gift (Romans 12:8). We should follow the example of the early church and give generously. But also give willingly. Paul exhorts us in 2 Corinthians 9:7 to, “Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Donation basket with money. Image from www.blueridgenow.com *

Barnabas & Saul ministry | Acts 11:22-26

22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Acts 11:22-26 (ESV) 中文

Meanwhile in Antioch

Good news spread about Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles. Even the more legalistic Jewish believers in Christ in Jerusalem accepted that the Gospel was not just for Jews but for Gentiles as well. At the same time in Antioch, some preached to gentiles and a great number who believed turned to the Lord (v21). 

Barnabas the encourager

Barnabas is first introduced in Acts 4:36 as the “son of encouragement” for his demonstration of faith and love in selling property for the benefit of others. Then in Acts 9:27, he took a huge step of faith to reach out to Saul (Paul) and welcome him on his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion from prosecutor to persecuted. He listened to his testimony then shuttled him around to the disciples who had been afraid of him. 

This is who the Jerusalem church sends to Antioch to check things out this amazing work among the gentiles there to make sure it was legit. He is a “glass half full” type of guy. He saw what was happening and rejoiced. Verse 24 tells us he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and faith. He encouraged (exhorted) them to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose (v23). Many continued to come to faith.

Barnabas & Saul ministry

Then Barnabas remembered Saul from their meeting in Jerusalem (see above) and knew he was in Tarsus. So he went there to find him and bring him back to Antioch. There the two ministered together to the growing church at Antioch. “The church at Antioch was the launching site for several missionary journeys (Acts 13:1–3; 14:26,;15:32–33, 36–40; 18:22–23). In many cases, the church at Antioch commissioned the missionaries for a specific task.” (gotquestions.org) Disciples were first called Christians there (v26).

Paul and Barnabas did much great ministry together. They took a financial gift from the Antioch church to the Jerusalem church when a famine hit (we’ll see soon). Later, in Antioch, they were set apart by the Holy Spirit as missionaries (Acts 13:2). But on that trip, they had a falling out over John Mark who deserted them on the trip (Acts 15:36–41). But later they reconciled (2 Timothy 4:11).

RЯeflection

  • In a previous post about Barnabas, we encouraged those of you who are the Barnabas type to persevere in it, you are desperately needed in the body of Christ. Encouragement is a gift that, as all gifts, is for the benefit of the body and should be put to use (Romans 12:6).
  • Paul, as most of us know, was one of, if not the most, influential person in all Christianity. He had a rough start due to his anti-Christian previous life. But Barnabas played a key role in welcoming him. Who knows what would have happened were not it for Barnabas. Is there someone you can come alongside and encourage today? Even if they don’t become a great leader, you can still play your role.
Partners encourage. Image from www.pxfuel.com *

Even more gentiles believe | Acts 11:19-21

19 So then [since they were unaware of these developments] those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with [the stoning of] Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, without telling the message [of salvation through Christ] to anyone except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks as well, proclaiming [to them] the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand (the power and presence) of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord [for salvation, accepting and drawing near to Jesus as Messiah and Savior]. 

Acts 11:19-21 (AMP) 中文

In the mean time

Good news spread about Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles. Even the more legalistic Jewish believers in Christ in Jerusalem accepted that the Gospel was not just for Jews but for Gentiles as well. But this new revelation of the Gospel’s breadth of application did not reach everywhere. 

Church in Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch

We read today that believers in Cyprus, Phoenicia and Antioch hadn’t heard about the Gentiles being welcomed into the family of God. As a result, these believers who left Jerusalem due to the persecution that started with Stephen’s martyrdom were only telling other Jews about Jesus and leading them to faith.

Even more gentiles believe

But the work of the Holy Spirit continued despite this lack of knowledge. He prompted (we can assume) a few that went to Antioch to preach to the gentiles there. And they did. The hand of the Lord was with them. And “a great number” turned to the Lord in faith. 

Even more gentiles were believing – beyond those in Caesarea. This was just the beginning of an explosion of gentiles coming to faith in Christ which would soon exceed the Jews doing so.

RЯeflection

  • Isn’t God’s work amazing! He will accomplish His will – with or without us! Better to get on His “bandwagon” and do the good works He planned in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We also get the blessing. How will you seek His will today?
Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch during Acts days. Image from seektheoldpaths.com *

Review Gentile reception | Acts 11:1-18

1 Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers[a] in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2 But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers[b] criticized him. 3 “You entered the home of Gentiles[c] and even ate with them!” they said.

4 Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5 “I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6 When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7 And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’

8 “‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.[d]’

9 “But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10 This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven.

11 “Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12 The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. 13 He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 14 He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’

15 “As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. 16 Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with[e] water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?”

18 When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”

Acts 11:1-18 (NLT) 中文

Bad news

Good news spread about Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles. But certain Jews, those who followed the law, didn’t see it as such. It was actually bad news to them. They were quite angry and criticized Peter. Peter took the time to calmly explain in sequential order all that happened – including the visions, the miraculous timing and the manifestation of the Spirit. It is a condensed version of Acts 10:9-43.

Circle completed

Thankfully these legalistic Jews accepted the account as the work of God. This changed their thinking toward Gentiles. Now, rather than despised pigs shut out from God, they are now welcomed.  God told and proved it to Peter who told it to the rest of the church who now all accept the gentiles. The circle is completed. 

This is a major event in the church and God’s plan of salvation – especially for us gentiles! “This is a powerful passage, demonstrating that the hearts of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were soft enough to be guided and corrected by God. It is a glorious thing when God’s people will allow their prejudices and traditions to be overcome by God’s Word and God’s work.” (enduringword.com)

RЯeflection

  • Have you thanked God for His plan of salvation that includes all people, including you? He could have chosen to limit it to just Jews. But God so loves the world (John 3:16) He opened salvation to all mankind. That includes you. If you have not repented and believed. Click here for more info.
  • Are you ready to put aside bias and faulty beliefs to listen to God’s Word and His Spirit?
Ticker tape parade. Image from en.wikipedia.org *

Walk by the Spirit | Galatians 5:16-24

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [h]belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:16-24 (NASB) 中文

What’s different?

Doing things a bit differently today. Not following the Acts series. Quick stop in Galatians after being prompted by my Bible memory system for this passage while at the same time covering the same verse in Bible study with my best friend this morning.

Walk by the Spirit

How do we understand this? Today, if we want to go somewhere, we get in a car or on a scooter and go. If you’re in a downtown setting, you may walk. Back in Paul’s day (the author) the average person went everywhere by walking. So to walk by the Spirit would be easier for them to relate to. Would we say, “drive by the Spirit” today? Maybe not. Let’s stick with the walking metaphor of life.

If we go for a walk with someone who is not able to walk well or doesn’t know the way, they will stick with us. They will turn when we turn, stop when we stop, run if we do, cross the street as we do, etc. They desire to get to the destination, arrive safely and on time (maybe). They also may enjoy just being with us so will go where we go.

Why?

Why do we walk by the Spirit? The answer is clear – so we do not satisfy, gratify, fulfill the desires of the flesh. The flesh is our natural sinful nature. As Paul says, the flesh is opposed to the Spirit and, likewise, the Spirit to the flesh.

Deeds of Flesh

We know that the desires of the flesh are evil. Paul lists some examples here. It’s quite a long list. No one ever memorizes this list, but maybe we should. With these comes a warning, “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”. Pretty stern, severe warning. Much more than that of a cigarette package! “Practice”, in the context, would be walking in, a pattern of, a lifestyle.

Fruit of Spirit

Then he lists the fruit of the Spirit. These, we often memorize. There are many teachings on these fruit but one that is quite common is, fruit, like on a tree, are produced naturally. And it takes energy from the tree to produce them. And the Spirit is some special “tree” since it produces many different kinds of fruit. 

RЯeflection

  • When you walk the walk of life, are you doing it on your own? You will likely follow the desires of the flesh and those deeds will result. Or do you stick to the Spirit and go where He goes?
  • We can examine our lives to see if we’re producing fruit of the Spirit. Do others notice and comment, “Hey, you are so patient and loving? You seem so peaceful in the midst of storms.” Or, “It’s good to have a faithful friend like you.”
Dog walking in loyal obedience. Image from Pxfuel.com

Spirit falls on Gentiles | Acts 10:44-48

44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 10:44-48 (ESV) 中文

Backdrop

Peter has arrived at the house of Cornelius the Roman army centurion, a gentile. Both had revelations from God to connect them. Cornelius has shared his part of the story. Peter told the critical gospel truth he has learned – the Gospel is for gentiles also; God determines clean and unclean (v34). He has also shared the Gospel of salvation from sin and judgment through faith in Christ.

Spirit falls on Gentiles

These Gentiles (which is highlighted in this account) have a prior knowledge of the God of the Jews. Cornelius is “a devout man who feared God with all his household” (Acts 10:2). His character and devotion is acknowledged by the Angel who visits him (v4) and tells him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”  But maybe they don’t know so much about Jesus.

They hear Peter’s message (literally “word”) and they must have believed because the Holy Spirit fell on them as He did at first in Acts 2:1-4 on the believers (including the apostles) gathered together in prayer and fellowship. How did Peter and the other Jews know? Cornelius’ household folk were speaking in tongues and praising the Lord. So it seems either they spoke in a language foreign to them but known to the Jews or, the Jews had a gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). 

This is a big deal for the early church (and us). It demonstrates (starting with God’s message to Peter about clean and unclean) that Gentiles are equally welcome in the Kingdom.

Theological practice points

This passage brings up a few theological topics we can touch on.

  • Order of salvation. What comes first? It seems here like the Spirit fell first. But as noted above, they believed the message Peter preached. Salvation is by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Then the Spirit comes.
  • There was no altar call. Is it needed? Does someone need to walk down to the altar and receive Christ? Nope. If you’re not a believer, you can become born again right where you are, right now. Click here.
  • Is baptism necessary for belief? No. But it is commanded and, as here, demonstrated in almost every case of faith. Click here for more on the topic.
  • Should baptism be done only in the name of Jesus? In Acts 2:38 Peter says the same. Some churches make this a doctrine – based on these verses. If these are the only verses we have about baptism, there might be reason to consider this. But when Jesus commanded the disciples to go make disciples in Matthew 28:19, He said baptize in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Suffice it to say when Peter baptized them into the name of Jesus, since God is a triune God, he baptized into all three.

RЯeflection

  • Have you been baptized? If you haven’t, why not? It’s a command and expected. But it should be done after repentance and belief in Christ. It is a public testimony of identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.
  •  Thank God for His gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to fill you with the Spirit.
Holy Spirit Pentacost. Image from pxfuel.com

Peters Gospel message | Acts 10:36-43

36 This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. 38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

39 “And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross,[c] 40 but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, 41 not to the general public,[d] but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

42 And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead. 43 He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

Acts 10:36-43 (NLT) 中文

Backdrop

Peter has arrived at the house of Cornelius the Roman army centurion, a gentile. Both had revelations from God to connect them. Cornelius has shared his part of the story. Peter told the critical gospel truth he has learned – the Gospel is for gentiles also; God determines clean and unclean (v34).

Gospel history

Peter now reviews the coming of Jesus and the Good News of salvation in Christ. He starts with John the Baptist who we know prepared the way. Then he moves to Jesus’ baptism and anointing by the Spirit, and His wonderful miraculous ministry. Then finally to their call to take this Gospel everywhere. 

And how do we know it’s all true? Peter (and the other apostles) is a first hand witness of all the events. This includes His death and resurrection. 

Gospel message

What are the aspects of this Gospel as Peter lays it out?

  1. V36. There is peace with God through Jesus Christ. We are born with a sinful nature that denies God’s forgiveness through repentance and faith alone. We rebel against it in some form or fashion. So we are His enemies. 
  2. V42. Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead. There is a coming judgment and all will be subject to it. If we don’t have peace with God before we die, the judgment will not go well for us at all. It will result in eternal separation from God. Think about it.
  3. V43. Everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name. The essence of the Good News. Repent and believe in Christ’s work on the cross for us and our sins are forgiven, we have peace with God and at the judgment, we will be exonerated due to Jesus’ sacrifice and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

RЯeflection

  • Do you believe this Gospel, this Good news? Your sins are many and there is a penalty for them – separation from God for eternity in the lake of fire. But Christ died and paid the penalty in full. For more about salvation click here.
  • Fellow followers of Christ, have you thought deeply about this again? Have you thanked Jesus for dying for your sins and the Father for sending His one and only Son to die for you? Let us do that now!
Thank you Lord hymn. Image from youtube.com *

Sermon in Caesarea | Acts 10:30-35

30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the [t]ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining clothing, 31 and he *said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your charitable gifts have been remembered before God. 32 Therefore send some men to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent men to you immediately, and you have [u]been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear everything that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the one who [v]fears Him and [w]does what is right is acceptable to Him. 

Acts 10:30-35 (NASB) 中文

Quick review

Peter has arrived at the house of Cornelius the Roman army centurion, a gentile. This event was orchestrated by God through an angel that appeared to Cornelius to tell him to fetch Peter from Joppa. The other half was a vision Peter had in which God showed him that only His definition of holy and unclean mattered.

The man Cornelius

Cornelius, though a commander of about 800 men in the Roman army, is a humble man who seeks the Lord. His character and devotion has influenced his whole household and even at least one of his men under him. He did not boast about or take pride in the fact an angel appeared to him nor the recognition the angel gave him (v31). He believed the angel was from God and obeyed immediately. In faith, he prepared his household to receive Peter and his teaching. They have been eagerly awaiting his arrival (v33).

Peter’s confession

There is no record of Peter preparing a sermon. Based on his relationship with the Lord and the filling of the Spirit, he simply “opens his mouth” – which seems to indicate he just started speaking, as the Spirit guided him. 

What does he share with them? First, that he understands clearly, after the vision and God’s arrangement of this incident, that God loves all the same – no partiality. It actually has  been his way from the start. Just looking at the lineage of Jesus we see God included gentiles and more, gentile women! 

What matters to God? God is looking for, “one who fears Him and does what is right” (v35).

RЯeflection

  • “When you go to church, do you want to receive a good message? If so, the best way is to come with a prepared heart. I know that the preacher must be prepared too. But when God prepares the messenger as well as those who are to hear him, then tremendous things happen.” (Boice, Enduringword.com)
  • Am I, are you, “one who fears God and does what is right? Do we obey the greatest commandments to love God and love our neighbor as ourself?
Billy Gram preaching sermon. Image from apimagesblog.com *

Addressing the bias | Acts 10:24-29

24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” 

Acts 10:24-29 (ESV) 中文

The meeting

“He’s here! He’s here! Everyone, get together. The teacher of the highest God, Peter, is coming up the street. Hurry, Quintos, go tell Master Cornelius. Talus, go get the meal ready! Tell everyone he’s here!” This may have been the scene at Peter’s arrival. Peter, whom Cornelius the Centurion of Caesarea had sent for after an angel visited him, was finally arriving from Joppa. He also had heard a message from God. His was through a vision that instructed him to seek God’s understanding of what is holy vs. unclean.

Wrong worship

Cornelius is so excited and honored that this great man – known even by God – was at his home. He meets him at the door and bows down before Peter as if he were a heavenly being. Peter immediately corrected his wrong worship saying he himself is also just a man. Peter could have capitalized on this and set up his own religion (as Paul had opportunity later in Acts) but flat-out rejected it, as Paul did.

Addressing the bias

As he enters the house, he finds it packed with Cornelius’ friends and relatives…all gentiles. And he knows for certain why God gave him the vision a few days prior. God was clarifying a new definition of unclean and holy – based not on the physical but the spiritual. Peter, as a leader of the early church, needed to have this understanding so he could take it back to the other leaders.

Prior to studying this passage, I had wondered, “Why didn’t Jesus directly save Cornelius and his household? Why did he use Peter?” This explains it.

RЯeflection

  • Who do we have a bias against? Peter had a valid one – based on his culture and the law of God. I doubt ours has any justification. Consider the source of the bias and ask God to forgive you and to remove it.
  • I wonder if any of us followers of Christ direct our worship to the wrong destination. Even good things can steal worship that is due only to the Lord. Spend some time thinking about what a mighty God we serve and worshiping him. Let worship of Him and delighting in Him and His word re-direct our heart of worship.
Discrimination. Image from health.harvard.edu *

Divine connection | Acts 10:17-23

17 “Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate 18 and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.

19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”

21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him.”

Acts 10:17-23 (ESV) 中文

Peter’s ministry

Peter has been ministering outside Jerusalem. He’s healed crippled Aeneas and revived the life of a blessed widow, Dorcas which led many to believe. His next mission is to the gentiles. God gives a vision to a centurion, Cornelius in Caesarea then one to Peter. Now the divine connection occurs.

Divine connection

Just as Peter was contemplating the vision of the previous passage, the men sent by Cornelius from Caesarea arrive after a two day journey. Is this impeccable timing or what? As Peter is wondering what the vision and message about what is holy and what is unclean means, these “unclean” Gentiles arrive and ask for him!

Peter gets it and goes

Though it’s not stated, Peter makes the connection and welcomes them to stay the night – which should not happen under Jewish law. In faith and obedience, Peter sets out the next morning. He had little idea what was next but he stepped out in faith. He wisely brought a few brothers from Joppa, where he has been ministering, with him. God has miraculously prepared him. This is a key point in the advancement of the Gospel and the Kingdom as God extended it to the Gentiles.

RЯeflection

  • Has God made some undeniable divine appointments in your life? Would you share in the comments to encourage others and give God the glory? Praise Him again for what He did.
  • Is God calling you out of your comfort zone? Is there a new ministry He has brought to your attention? Maybe it’s a new acquaintance who needs to hear the Gospel or be encouraged in their faith.
People connection. Image from salesprogress.com *
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