Sunday, June 10, 2012

From Acts to Revelation: Part 30 - Peter Explain's His Actions


From Acts to Revelation
Part 30 – Peter Explains His Actions
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
Last week we see Peter going to the house of Cornelius, and giving him the word of God.

They accepted that word, and received the Holy Spirit before Peter and his parties eyes.

Afterword's, Peter had them all baptized and returned to Jerusalem.

He met criticism from the Jewish Christians once they heard that Peter entered a Gentiles house, and the Gentiles received the word of God.

In today's scripture, we see one man who obeyed God, despite his personal feelings, thus walking in the Spirit and not living by his feelings, and others, who were trapped by their paradigms, enslaved by their feelings, and criticized a faithful and obedient servant of God for his compliance to the instruction of the Holy Spirit.

Opposition comes where there is instruction.

Obedience can be difficult, but the ones who were giving Peter troubles, were fellow believers!

Today's scripture should cause us to look at our own lives, and ask the questions;

1)     Am I struggling with opposition right now, while trying to obey God?

2)     Am I following God's instruction, although it conflicts with my feelings?

3)     Or, am I the one who is criticizing another believer, just because “I” don't think they are obeying the way “I” think they should be?







SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
Acts 11:1-18 Peter Explains His Actions
The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 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?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”


I.       CRITICISM COMES WITH THE TERRITORY OF OBEDIENCE
a.      The Apostles and believers hear that the Gentiles received the Word of God
i.       They should have rejoiced in hearing this.

ii.    But their actions and response was driven by their “feelings”


b.     In Jerusalem, the circumcised believers (Jewish Christians) criticized Peter
i.       Upset because Peter entered the house of a Gentile.

ii.    Gentiles were considered “unclean”

iii. They were also upset Peter ate with the Gentiles, who did not cook or prepare Kosher foods, or follow any of the Jewish regulations concerning cooking.

c.      When obeying God, you will be criticized
i.       You may not be criticized for speaking or eating with Gentiles, but you may still be criticized for taking Gods word to those whom modern Christians may deem unworthy.
a.      Prostitutes
b.     Porn stars
c.      Drug dealers
d.     Homosexuals

ii.    This phrase should not offend you, “Jesus loves porn stars”
a.      If it does, then you still do not understand the Lord's mission.

iii. Jesus said;
a.      “...go and make disciples of all nations...” Matthew 28:19

b.     “...teach them to obey everything I have commanded you...” Matthew 28:20

c.      “...I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:47

iv.   The Lord was criticized for eating with Gentiles, talking with Samaritans, being surrounded with sinners, tax-collectors, thieves. He was criticized for reaching out to prostitutes, but He shared the word of God and the message that saves with everyone He met. Do you?


d.     Peter was instructed by God to speak to the lowest of the low, an unclean Gentile.
i.       Like Peter, we will meet opposition when serving the Lord.



II.   PETER'S VISION AND HIS OBEDIENCE
a.      Peter explains his vision and actions
i.       He repeats his vision and the Lord's commands

b.     Peter explains the men coming to his house, and God's instruction
i.       He then explains it was no accident when men showed up to take him to see Cornelius.

c.      Peter explains Cornelius' vision
i.       Then he explained that Cornelius also had a vision, and responding to the Lord's command, sent his men to retrieve Peter.

ii.    None of this was coincidence.



III.    THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WATER BAPTISM
a.      God told Cornelius, “He (Peter) will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.”

i.       As we have seen throughout the Book of Acts, BEFORE one can receive anything from God;
a.      One must be seeking God
b.     Then God gives a command
c.      One must obey that command
d.     You are now in “obedience”, and can receive!


ILLUSTRATION

The Apostles (Acts 1)
1)     Followed Jesus to His ascension
2)     Jesus commanded them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit
3)     They obeyed that command and returned to Jerusalem where they waited for the promise of the Father
4)     In obedience, they received the Holy Spirit

The Crippled Beggar (Acts 3)
1)     Outside the Temple gate every day, begging for help from followers of God
2)     Peter commanded him, “Get up!”
3)     The man obeyed the command
4)     In obedience, he received a healing from God

Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26)
1)     The Ethiopian had gone to Jerusalem to worship God
2)     Philip explained to the Ethiopian about the Lord and baptism
3)     The Ethiopian obeyed the teaching, and submitted to the Lord
4)     In obedience of his submission, outwardly expressed by his water baptism, he received the Holy Spirit
Saul (Acts 9)
1)     Saul was seeking God with all his heart, mind, body and soul
2)     Jesus appeared, and commanded Saul go to the house of Ananias
3)     Saul obeyed what the Lord commanded
4)     In obedience, Saul received the Word of God from Ananias, as well as a healing from blindness, and was baptized, receiving the Holy Spirit.

Aeneas, the paralytic (Acts 9:32)
1)     Scripture states, Peter traveled to visit the saints, meeting Aeneas
2)     Being bedridden for 8 years, Peter commanded him, “Get up, and take care of your mat.”
3)     Aeneas obeyed and got up.
4)     In obedience, he received a healing.

Cornelius (Acts 10)
1)     Seeking God outwardly with all of his actions in life
2)     God gave Cornelius a vision to call Peter
3)     Cornelius obeyed the command, and brought Peter to his house
4)     In obedience, Cornelius received Salvation for himself, and his entire household!

1.      One must be seeking God
2.      Then God gives a command
3.      One must obey that command
4.      You are now in “obedience”, and can receive!

If you are waiting to receive something from the Lord, prayer, healing, blessing, salvation, restoration, etc... remember;
1)     You have not because you ask not.
2)     Have you heard God's command to you?
3)     Are you obeying that command?
4)     Only then will you receive what it is you are waiting for from God.


b.     The Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles, JUST as it did on the Apostles in the beginning.

c.      Peter remembered Jesus' words, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

d.     Therefore...”If God gave them the same gift as He gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think I could stand in God's way?”
CONCLUSION

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

1)     Am I struggling with opposition right now, while trying to obey God?

2)     Am I following God's instruction, although it conflicts with my feelings?

3)     Or, am I the one who is criticizing another believer, just because “I” don't think they are obeying the way “I” think they should be?

And if you are waiting to receive something from the Lord, prayer, healing, blessing, salvation, restoration, etc... remember;

1)     You have not because you ask not.
2)     Have you heard God's command to you?
3)     Are you obeying that command?
4)     Only then will you receive what it is you are waiting for from God.