What if you were surrounded by unbelievers? Well, at least I would think you would ask God to give you a chance to share the gospel. Some Christians would try to knock the door down, cast pearl before swine, which Jesus warned against. But others, I think the more mature approach would be, Lord, there's a lot of unbelievers around me. Can you use me here? Can I be of any help in bringing the gospel? I think Peter could be intimidated by those who he felt were more educated than him academically.
Today, Pastor Rick will be continuing his message, called Resisting the Holy Spirit, as he teaches through Acts chapter 11. You touched the same loaf of bread, you dipped and re-dipped in the same sauces, you handled and tore off the same pieces of meat from the same part of the animal. When you shared your meal, you were sharing DNA.
That's what was going on. It was a big deal to them, the Jews, sharing DNA with the Gentiles. Well, it's a big deal to me, too. As a Gentile, well, used to be, sharing DNA with any of these guys is gross.
But that's how life was back then, and another reason to appreciate being born sometime in the 20th, 21st century, because you get air conditioning and heating, and you don't have to double dip. Peter shared this view with them. Before God got hold of him, he had the same view, and God had to unseat that view, thus the vision, and all the little satellite emphasis that were hitting Peter at the same time. So when Jesus said to the Jews, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stamp, and give it light, and it gives light to all who are in the house, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Well, the Jews said we're doing that to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. And let me tell you, if there were any other people called to be the people of God and not the children of Jacob, they'd be doing the same stuff. So none of this stuff about, well, those Jews are all messed up. People are messed up. We've been defective since Eden, and just, you know, don't fall for Satan's little racial moves, because he's evil, and he's wily.
Anyway, they didn't take the light to the Gentiles, even though they were surrounded by Gentiles. What if you were surrounded by unbelievers? Well, at least I would think you would ask God to give you a chance to share the gospel. Some Christians would try to knock the door down, cast pearl before swine, which Jesus warned against. But others, I think the more mature approach would be, Lord, there's a lot of unbelievers around me. Can you use me here?
Can I be of any help in bringing the gospel? I think Peter could be intimidated by those who he felt were more educated than him academically. He was a fisherman. And when he was around those who had degrees, I think he felt, you know, they could really pronounce words better than him, they could spell better than him, they could just do stuff academically better, and I think it intimidated him a little bit. Even Paul wavered a little bit under James, you know, hey, just go pay their vows.
He should have said no, there are no vows to pay. He did later write about that. Stephen, he stood up to the Jews who were rejecting Jesus as Messiah, it says in Acts 6, and they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke. Well, they're not going to fully be able to resist Peter in this session, but it's going to come back.
It's not going to go away. After this confrontation and the confrontation that comes in Acts 15, I think he was worn down by their viciousness. So when he gets up to Antioch, that Paul was talking about in Galatians, when he gets up there, he stops eating with the Gentiles when those from James come up, and he goes over to eat with them, and the Gentiles are treated like they're unclean. And they're all asking Paul, what's up with that? Why doesn't Peter eat with us? And Paul says, I got this one. And that's when he confronts him. And Peter loved him for it.
You know, to be able to go to a friend, faithful are the wounds of a friend, deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. And if Paul had said, oh don't worry Peter, God knows you're sick and tired of all this stuff, just go ahead, I'll explain it to the Gentiles, that would have been just an awful piece of history. You either cave or you defy. And it is troubling to see so many Christians say, I'm so sick of politicians who cave in to these fringe groups, these wacko groups that are out there, these immoral groups, and yet they expect their pastor to cave when they want something.
It's a double standard, and may it not be so with you, and it may not be with me. Anyway, verse 4, but Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying, now before we get to what he said, and he's very patient with them it seems, Peter has not just accepted the Gentiles as Christians, but now he's their advocate as Christians, and that took courage. But just because you had courage in May doesn't mean you're going to have it the next time, the next month, it can wear you down. And this is, of course, a part of life that we should be on guard against. But Peter is their advocate now because God made it so. If you fear people more than God, you won't think straight in your theology. We've got to get to the place, we're not in a rude way either. Just that, you know, I mentioned if you come here and you don't like what I say about Roman Catholicism, I'm not being rude to you, at least you may take it that way, that's not my intention.
But then go to that church if you like their doctrine, but don't come up in here, because we've seen this, and we've seen, we've also seen family members support them when they come and criticize, you know, hey we don't like you picking on, you know, some whatever doctrine, could be Jehovah's Witness, anything, and you know, can you not do that? No. In fact, I'm ready to do it again. I don't know how you guys feel about that, but I ain't changing, hopefully. And I don't mean that arrogantly. With God's help, we just tell it what we believe. Well, I know it can sound harsh, but really I'm a nice guy when you give me money.
I've just noticed that about me, it's adorable, it's really nice. Alright, back to this. Verse 5, I'm kidding, if you're visiting here, it's not true, more like bitcoins instead of the cash. Verse 5, I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, an object ascending like a great sheet, let down from heavenly, from heaven by four corners, and it came to me. We read this in chapter 10. Luke, do we have to read this again?
Yes. Originally, Luke wrote Acts on parchment. Very difficult to just find this material, expensive at the time, made from dried animal skins, usually sheep, lambs, something like that.
Rather scarce material by our standards today, you just go get a whole pack of paper anywhere here. If he put this in scroll form, it would have been like 35 feet long, the book of Acts. So for him to write this story again means it's that important.
It means don't miss this. Luke was a Gentile, and he is saying this was revolutionary. This is the Jesus Christ that I love, and so this is that big of a deal that on the scarce parchment he writes again the same story.
The details are repeated. This verse 6, when I observed it intently, I considered and considered I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, birds of the air, verse 7, and I heard a voice saying to me, rise Peter, kill and eat. Well Peter starts with his spiritual experience. This is going to get their attention because he's talking about unclean animals, and they were all over that. When Paul goes later to preach after they arrested him there in the temple, they listen to Paul as he covered their history, as he talked about Christ, right up until one word, Gentiles.
And they just went crazy after that. So you understand the passions that were flying around, the biases, the prejudices in the name of religion is very dangerous stuff. For Peter, God used the menu to make his point.
These were animals that God said in the vision, slay and eat. This is the menu, Peter. Verse 11, but I said not so, Lord, for nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth. And Peter was very proud of his answer. Again, as I mentioned when we covered this in chapter 10, he may have thought it was a test, and he's like, yeah, I got that right.
What is the first thing that we read that confronted Daniel in Babylon? The menu. Like, I can't eat that stuff.
I got a good idea. How about we just, and this is where the story goes. Well, verse 11, but the voice answered me again from heaven, what God has cleansed you must not call common. Those dietary laws, I know there are those that think that they were for health reasons, and I disagree wholeheartedly with that. You can get just as sick from eating beef as you can from pork, so it's just not so. If you could find people up there and say, you know what, all the Jews don't eat pork, and they're much healthier than everybody else.
Well, that's not the case, just like everybody else. Anyway, those laws, they protected the Jewish people from assimilation into the Gentile world. They kept them distinct, and that was not only the dietary laws, there were other laws, too.
And there were other things, teachings that belonged to these laws and types and anti-types. We don't have time to even scratch the surface on those, but the most important point is they kept the Jews separate. And aren't we glad, because Satan hates that. Satan wants to destroy the Jewish people, and he ain't never going to be able to do that. All the promises God made about Israel and the Jewish people will ultimately be fulfilled. Well, the Old Testament laws were tremendously effective in keeping a Jew a Jew, and that's not a derogatory word at all. What? Is this supposed to change everything, what we're reading here, just because Peter had a vision?
Yes. That's why they are the apostles of Jesus Christ. This is the authority that they were given, to bring everything into perspective to Christ. The faithful had been confined to a single race up till now.
They had been confined to the laws of Moses, since Moses. Now it was time to reach others. And God wanted faith in the person of his son, Jesus Christ, and his work to be the identity and the protection of believers. We're not to assimilate into the unbelieving world. We are to remain separate, but we are to have contact with them nonetheless.
How else do you reach them? Paul covers this in the Corinthian letter in detail. So, the separation is still required of righteous people, but it's not a racial thing. It's a faith thing now. No longer are God's people distinct from everybody else because of circumcision, festivals, cuisine, or rituals.
God got what he wanted in Christ, his son. That makes the distinction between us and everybody else. So you can have a Christian who is a Calvinist, follows Reformed theology, and one who does not. But they know who Jesus is. They agree on that, that he is God the Son, and they agree on the Trinity, and they agree on this, and they just may disagree on how God saves a soul. I'm not going to make any jokes about that.
Okay, just three. No, I'm not. So it's a fact that it is by faith in Christ. Even the Reformers did not agree with each other on every single point, and so you have their writings debating each other, and they're pretty hot.
Pretty hot and passionate, we would say. Anyway, coming back to this, John chapter 17, Jesus praying, speaking about the apostles and those who would be the disciples thereof. That line that is in existence to this day. Jesus said, they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. We are separate. Sanctify them.
Set them aside, separate. By your truth, your word is truth. So on our menu is the word of God, which is the bread of life. This is the manna that's come down from heaven. Jesus said, you know, John opening the gospel, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and develops this entire teaching for us.
God wants us to be protected from the world, not by food, but by faith. Verse 10, now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. You know, when you serve the Lord by faith, you don't get to show off.
See, this is the thing with legalistic Christians. They get to show off. Look at me. Look at how I wear my hair. Well, look at me. Look at how I wear my hair.
And there is a lot of that going on. Look at my family. Look at my church. Look at, you know, I don't eat this and I don't eat that.
I'm eating God's way. That's nonsense. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you preach that? Do you uphold his code? There's more important things. I'm not saying that you should be a stumbling block to other people. Yes, we do.
We don't really mind how you dress when you come to church, of which we want you dressed. I mean, so you got to use your brains. Verse 10, now it was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. Now this is emphatic. In fact, it is insistent.
That's why it was done three times. God is insisting that some be pushing it on him. Ecclesiastes 4, verse 12, a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
More strength. So to be confused is to be weakened, and God doesn't want Peter confused or the church, and he's making this clear. Deuteronomy 19, 15, this is the law. By the mouth of two or three witnesses, a matter shall be established, and he got three times that witness was given to Peter. This is repeated eight times in the scripture. Might be six. I forget. Anyway, it's repeated, New Testament, Old Testament. It is six. Thank you.
Not you. All were drawn up again into heaven. Well, the point there was if they were good enough for God, they're good enough for you. If God didn't see, if they were unclean, then God wouldn't have pulled them up to heaven, but he brings in the vision to Peter. He brings them up to heaven, and the point is they're good enough for me. Verse 11, at that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. Remember, he's retelling the story. Here's another three, another set of three, the three men from Caesarea.
They are Gentiles. Verse 12, then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover, these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. You know, these six men that went with Peter, they were nervous, too, about this inquisition that they were going to face, and they probably said, Peter, we're sure glad you're going to be doing all the talking, but they were there as witnesses. Verse 12, and the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Now, we read in the Old Testament, thus says the Lord, hundreds of times. In the New Testament, it becomes the leading of the Spirit.
The Spirit told me, led by the Spirit of God, and this is the work of Christ, the giving of the Holy Spirit. He says in verse 12, moreover, these six brethren accompanied me. Six witnesses, that's twice the amount specified in the law, two or three witnesses.
So there's a double portion. Seven Jews in all, counting Peter plus the six friends that accompanied him to Joppa. Number, the number seven is the number of completion in Scripture.
You know, it's seven days in a week and it's over, you start the next week. And so, the law was complete, and now we have this fresh work of God, the new covenant that he said was coming. It wasn't like he just said, boom, he prophesied these things, and Jeremiah lays it out. I will make a new testament with you, and we have it, and others don't.
They don't want it. And we entered the man's house, yep, we did. And when he says, doubting nothing, it's a forceful statement. He's saying, I did what I was told, and I wasn't doubting.
It's kind of like, well if you're doubting, that's your problem, I'm trying to help you with it, but I didn't doubt. Verse 13, and he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, send men to Joppa and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter. Not many people could say they saw an angel in their house, and actually did. If the angel could stand in the house of a Gentile, what's your problem?
That's a pretty powerful thought there. He singles Peter out and calls Simon, whose surname is Peter. Peter was summoned personally by God to this work, verse 14, who would tell the words, by which you and all your household will be saved. What this is saying is, if one in the house can get saved from hearing the gospel, then they all can get saved.
No one's now got an excuse. You heard the same message, there are two thieves on the cross. That whole household of crucified, which was just two, Christ in the center, they had the same gospel, they both could have responded.
One of them opted out, and he's paying for it to this day. There is no mention of Jesus saving Cornelius until Peter gets there to declare Christ to him. Cornelius could not get saved without the preaching of Christ. You can't stumble into salvation. You can't look up at the stars and say, God must have sent his only begotten son, at whomsoever should believe in him.
No, you need it. You need it said from God's word. You may find parallels, you may find things that remind you, types and anti-types, but the bottom line is faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. It was not enough to be a religious man for Cornelius or anybody else. It was not enough to be a godly man.
It was not enough to be a noble man. He needed to become a Jesus man, just like the rest of us. Verse 15, And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as upon us at the beginning. When Peter preached a remission of sins, the Holy Spirit dramatically poured upon the audience. In Samaria, Peter laid hands on them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, but not their ancestral.
So it's not mandatory. Verse 16, Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus and John made the distinction between water baptism unto repentance and the baptism in the Holy Spirit to be the witnesses of the Jewish Messiah for everyone.
And that's Acts 1-5 you can go to. You can go to Matthew 3-11. I do not agree, I cannot agree with those who say the gifts and the empowering of the Holy Spirit ended with the apostolic age, because Peter said the promises to you and to those who are afar off as many as will come. And it is in different ways for different people, but not outside the revelation of scripture. Verse, you know, love is it.
Without love, what are the gifts matter? And that's what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 13. What if you had a pianist in a church that was just superior? Nobody could move the congregation into the spirit like this person, but they were loveless. But you had another one that wasn't so good, but they loved and moved people into the presence of Christ.
You understand that it's not a talent contest. It's about Christ's likeness. Well, we are at verse 17. If therefore God gave them the same gift as he gave us when he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?
And who was anyone else to withstand him? Job says if he takes away, who can hinder him? Who can say to him, what are you doing? And that's what Peter is saying. Peter said, you got a problem with this?
Take it to God. He says here, the Lord Jesus Christ, this is the first of 28 appearances of that full title. The Lord Jesus Christ, the, the definite article singling him out, Lord, that is his title, the name, his identity, and Christ, his distinction, distinct from everybody else. Nobody else is the Christ. Many have been anointed for different works as kings, but not as the savior of the world. Verse 18, and when they heard these things, they became silent, and they glorified God, saying, then God has also granted the Gentiles repentance to life. Well, they did not want to resist God, but the others, there will be others, if not from the same group.
Maybe they went home and thought about it, but there are going to be more problems. Isaiah 42, one, behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect one, in whom my soul delights. I have put my spirit upon him, and he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. You'd think the Jews in the days of Christ and days of the apostles would have taken that verse and linked it to Christ.
Well, some did, and they became Christians, but others did not. Verse 49 of Isaiah, I mean Isaiah 49, six. Again, speaking of the Messiah, I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth.
How forceful of right words, Job said. This section, this experience of Peter is the framework for Paul's theological teachings in Ephesians 2 and 3, where God has taken down the partition wall between Gentile and Jew. And we're supposed to go forward in the strength of Christianity, Christ's likeness. And so if someone says to you, are you a Gentile, you can say, well, you could say ethnic. How did that distinction, how does it get to be the Jewish people against the whole world? Unless God is involved, and unless there's a real devil, it's because of the Bible. That's how that distinction, and the whole world honors it, and they don't even know it. They walk around thinking, the Bible's not true, there's a Jew, there's a Gentile, you're preaching the Bible. Anyway, am I the only one that sees this?
Of course not. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 09:46:28 / 2023-01-02 09:56:46 / 10