sermon yesterday

Opening:

For the last two weeks we talked about Peter being prepared for the Gospel to be opened to non Jewish people. Non Jewish people are Gentiles. Gentiles are Non Jews. Everyone say, “Gentiles.” Last week we talked about Cornelius, this Gentile, this non Jewish man being converted. We talked about how this is the longest narrative in the book of Acts and this is a very pivotal point in the book. In Acts 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

You need to know that this is happening now. They are in the ends of the earth, this means that the Gospel is now in the gentile areas. The Gospel is now in pagan areas. The church is becoming multicultural. You know what, my prayer is that soon and very soon all churches become multicultural.

So, have you ever had this exciting time or this exciting moment and then someone just crashes you down?

When I was in seventh grade I had ordered a Cleveland Browns book bag (why would anyone want that? I don’t know), but for some reason when it came in, my mom gave it to my older brother. She must have thought he needed it more than me or something. I don’t know. But he was so excited when I got home from school and said, “Steve, look at this new book bag I got.” I’m like, “That’s mine.” Anyways, I still think back. He was so excited about that book bag and maybe he did not know that I had picked it out, maybe he has forgotten about it by now, but I have not.

That is a simple example, but the sermons the last few weeks and today deal with cultural issues and race relations. What is it like to rain on someone’s parade, a small child when they have to be told they cannot go to an amusement park because of their color? What is that like? What’s like when you have to explain to them that they cannot go to a certain restaurant because of their color? 

In the passage we are about to look at, Peter’s parade was rained on. Peter had this mountain-top experience and then he gets to Jerusalem and then these high and mighty Jewish law keepers rebuke him. But think about it for a minute. Who can rebuke Peter? Peter went water skiing with Jesus without a boat.[1] Peter was trained in the University of Jesus. Apparently, these people did not care. Peter had to make his case. In this passage, there is no indication that Peter is a Pope.

Three Applications to take home:

1 . Search your hearts for racism or preferences that are misplaced. We see the cultural divide come down.

Psalm 139:23:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Gal. 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This makes Revelation 7:9 so much more powerful:

 

2.  Second application is the indwelling Holy Spirit in all believers. We see this emphasis in verses 15-17.

3. The third application is to bring glory to God. We see this in verse 18.

Let’s read the passage.

We are going to read the text, the whole text in the Message translation today. If you wish to follow along, it is on the screen. I am using the message because we read it from the N.I.V. last week and a significant portion of this passage is review. In this passage, Peter is reviewing what is happening I would like you hear it and read it in a different, more contemporary way.

The Message:

God Has Broken Through

1–3      11 The news traveled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it—heard that the non-Jewish “outsiders” were now “in.” When Peter got back to Jerusalem, some of his old associates, concerned about circumcision, called him on the carpet: “What do you think you’re doing rubbing shoulders with that crowd, eating what is prohibited and ruining our good name?”

4–6               So Peter, starting from the beginning, laid it out for them step-by-step: “Recently I was in the town of Joppa praying. I fell into a trance and saw a vision: Something like a huge blanket, lowered by ropes at its four corners, came down out of heaven and settled on the ground in front of me. Milling around on the blanket were farm animals, wild animals, reptiles, birds—you name it, it was there. Fascinated, I took it all in.

7–10             “Then I heard a voice: ‘Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.’ I said, ‘Oh, no, Master. I’ve never so much as tasted food that wasn’t kosher.’ The voice spoke again: ‘If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.’ This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the sky.

11–14            “Just then three men showed up at the house where I was staying, sent from Caesarea to get me. The Spirit told me to go with them, no questions asked. So I went with them, I and six friends, to the man who had sent for me. He told us how he had seen an angel right in his own house, real as his next-door neighbor, saying, ‘Send to Joppa and get Simon, the one they call Peter. He’ll tell you something that will save your life—in fact, you and everyone you care for.’

15–17            “So I started in, talking. Before I’d spoken half a dozen sentences, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us the first time. I remembered Jesus’ words: ‘John baptized with water; you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So I ask you: If God gave the same exact gift to them as to us when we believed in the Master Jesus Christ, how could I object to God?”

18                Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. And then, as it sank in, they started praising God. “It’s really happened! God has broken through to the other nations, opened them up to Life!”[2]

 

  1.                     In verses 1-3 Peter is now challenged by the racist.
  2.        In verses 1-3 we see that Peter goes back to Jerusalem. Now, it says the party of the circumcision. This means that they kept the whole law. They might have been the Pharisees like Paul the Apostle was.
  3.       So, they challenged Peter on this. Peter was all excited. He had had this dramatic revelation from God. God had shown Him this new Truth. He was allowed to eat bacon now, but now he had to deal with these people. He had to defend this case.
  4.        Verse 3: the real deal is that he actually ate with them. This is not the last time this will come up.
  5.       So beginning in verse 4 Peter gives an orderly account of what happened. This is review. There are a few new things, mainly having to do with the Holy Spirit.
  6.       By the way, I did not schedule this passage to fall on Pentecost. But it fits perfectly.
  7.                   In verse 16, Peter brings to light how Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit.
  8.        John baptized with water but He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
  9.       Notice that we are baptized with the Holy Spirit simultaneously with salvation. Verse 17:  So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?
  10.                 In verse 18 we see, following this, the people have nothing to argue with, they stop arguing with him and glorify or praise God.
  11.        The original languages use the word “glorify God.”
  12.       This is where we get our word “doxology” from.
  13.        They worshipped God.
  14.       This is self-sacrificing, vertical worship.
  15.       We must also worship God this way.
  16.         The last verse: “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Review our applications with me:

Three Applications to take home:

1 . Search your hearts for racism or preferences that are misplaced. We see the cultural divide come down.

Psalm 139:23:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Gal. 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This makes Revelation 7:9 so much more powerful:

 

2.  Second application is the indwelling Holy Spirit in all believers. We see this emphasis in verses 15-17.

3. The third application is to bring glory to God. We see this in verse 18.

The question is, how do you feel about it?

Do you know Jesus?

Are you open to other cultures and people knowing Jesus?

Who do you need to introduce Jesus to?

Who do you need to be opento introduce Jesus to?

Where are your prejudices?

Where are mine?

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] I cannot take credit for this illustration, it comes from Pastor Mark Driscoll. Also the next one.

[2] Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Ac 10:48–11:18). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

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