They may not be huge steps of faith, but they are steps of faith.
Stepping out. Step out in faith when you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Probably the next step is to be baptized.
After you get baptized, the next step would be to begin serving. These are things that we need to be doing because that's who God uses, the people who are willing. God doesn't look for ability. He looks for availability.
We need to understand the world is filled with geniuses who will never do anything. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the Bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. A life with Christ shouldn't be simply standing still. Our life should be filled with steps of faith. Today, Pastor David explains what it looks like to be walking with Jesus as he continues teaching in the book of Acts, chapter 10.
Now here's David McGee with the teaching, A Way to Live. Turn with me to the book of Acts, chapter 10. And what's going on now is Peter is dwelling with this guy Simon the tanner in Joppa, which is a very real city.
And then we've got Cornelius who is up in Caesarea, Maritima, Caesarea. And he is evidently from scripture, a devout man, one who feared God, gave alms generously, played to God always. But looking into the next chapter, we discover he is not saved. He's religious. He's what you would call a good person, but he's not been forgiven of his sins because he's not yet met Jesus. And last week we talked about this, that somebody can be incredibly religious and look really good from the outside, but still not know Jesus and therefore not saved, not forgiven of their sins. But we see God begin to speak to Cornelius, and he's also kind of setting Peter up.
So let's pick it up. Acts, chapter 10, verse 7. It says, when the angel who spoke to him, Cornelius, had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. Verse 8, so when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa. I think this is interesting because here's what happens. Cornelius gets the vision and Cornelius doesn't just sit there and do nothing.
Cornelius does something. In fulfillment of the vision, he sends these guys to go to talk to Peter about what God has laid on his heart and understand that's a very important aspect of Christianity to begin to walk out these things that we believe. A lot of people would even define Christianity as a system of beliefs. Well, that's all it is.
We're all in trouble. It's supposed to be a way to live. That's what Jesus told us when he talks about, Hey, I came to give you life and that more abundantly, he didn't say, I came to give you something to think about. I didn't come to for you to just believe, but that belief should impact the way we live. And we see Cornelius's belief, this vision began to impact his actions and he sends these guys. And that's important.
Why? Because our actions are tied to our beliefs as they should be as we follow Jesus. Now, when you feel like the Lord is speaking to you about something, and we use that phrase a lot. Let me, it's that still small voice. I've never heard the audible voice of God, but he speaks in that still small voice. When the Lord speaks to us, it's important. We follow through.
That's why we encourage people to take notes around here. And perhaps, you know, as you're in the Bible and you're reading long and, and the Lord lays something on your heart, you know, jot it down, Lord wants me to do this. He wants me to pray for these missionaries or wants me to give. He wants me to serve those sorts of things, jot it down and begin to take those steps of action. Because again, persistence and diligence is an important part of the Christian faith, the life lesson off the bat, your life should be filled with steps of faith. Your life should be filled with steps of faith. And they may not be huge steps of faith, but they are steps of faith, stepping out, step out in faith. When you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and probably the next step is to be baptized.
And after you get baptized, the next step would be to begin serving. And these are things that we need to be doing because that's who God uses the people who are willing. God doesn't look for ability.
He looks for availability. And we need to understand the world is filled with geniuses who will never do anything. The world is filled with very talented men who will never accomplish anything, but it's those people who are diligent and persistent in their walk with the Lord who can accomplish incredible things for God. So it's a part of our walk. Now, let me explain because chapter 10 in the book of Acts is a pivotal chapter in the whole Bible because up to this point, everybody who has become a Christian is Jewish, every one of them. There was Hebraic Jews or Hebrew-speaking Jews, and there were Hellenistic Jews or Greek-speaking Jews, but everybody was Jewish. And up to this point, if you wanted to convert to Christianity, you first converted to Judaism. Now, everything's getting ready to change because Peter is a man that's following the Lord. Verse 9, the next day as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray about the sixth hour. Now, we talked last week that in verse 43 of the preceding chapter, chapter 9, verse 43, it tells us Peter was staying with a tanner, and the tanner would process animal hides. It was a very smelly place.
It stank. So it's interesting that I think he might have gone up on the housetop to break because the house smelled. But a lot of times, God works in the natural, and we're going to see this in this passage, that God will work in the natural. And we see that Peter is in the habit of praying. Let's see what happens in verse 10. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat, but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven open, an object like a great sheep, bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.
In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, rise, Peter, kill and eat. Now, look how the Lord is working in the natural. We're told, not by accident, we're told Peter's hungry. He goes up to pray while he's hungry on the rooftop of Psalm and the tanner, and he begins to have this vision about animals to eat. Do you see how the Lord is working in the natural? We need to understand that God is at work all around us.
And a lot of times, we're looking for something really super supernatural, and we miss what the Lord is doing. I remember one time I was out in California and was ministering. I used to travel and minister in prisons and jails and churches and all sorts of stuff, a security place and prison out in California.
We sat up in this yard, and there was probably about 20, 25 guys there in the prison yard, and I started to share, started to do songs. And then when I got into the portion where I started talking about my testimony and those sorts of things, it was interesting. Two guys came up, and I was looking this way, so I wasn't really watching what they were doing, but they were just making a bunch of noise, metal noise. And I was like, okay, I'm just going to keep talking. And I thought I really ought to tell them to be quiet, but I just kept talking, if you can imagine that.
And clang, clang, clang, clang. I'm going, man, I'm really, you know, I'm talking about Jesus, I'm talking about the cross, and these guys are ever clang, clang, clang, clang, you know. And I was in this place, this is Boron, California, it's out in the middle of the desert. So I continued to speak, and as I continued to speak, now the prison yard begins to fill. These guys were setting up a snow cone machine, and we were in the middle of the desert. And because the guys knew the snow cone machine was getting set up, the prison yard filled with about 100 more guys. And when I got to the gospel presentation, and asked people if they wanted to receive the Lord, a couple of dozen men said yes, I want to ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins, because of the snow cone machine.
Are you with me? The snow cone machine that I was going to rebuke. It's a little convicting. But see, that's what the Lord does many times, and a lot of times we're like, take that snow cone machine away, be quiet guys. And he's trying to do something in our midst. Now, it talks about a vision, and here in chapter 10, we see two places. Cornelius has a vision.
Peter has a vision. When we go back to the book of Matthew, the start of the New Testament, first two chapters, there's like five dreams that God speaks to people through. God still speaks to people through dreams and visions. Now we're told this, Joel 2 28, and it says, and it came to, and it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.
Your old men shall dream dreams. Young men shall see visions, visions and dreams. God still does that. Now you have to be able to discern what dreams and visions are from God. I mean, you have, you know, you have dreams where the Lord's speaking to you and then you have, well we call them pizza visions around here, you know, where you maybe eat something that unsettles your stomach and you're just awake and that, that's not necessary from the Lord. But God does speak to us in this way. And it's interesting because, you know, one of the reasons the New Agers have picked up the whole dream and vision thing is because so many churches didn't talk about it, didn't teach the Bible, didn't realize it was a very real thing. Now we notice again, God is speaking to these people and maybe when I shared about God speaking to us, maybe you sat there and you thought, you know, God, God never speaks to me or God has never spoken to me.
Do you think that's because he has never desired to or because you've never sat still long enough for him to speak to you? It's important in prayer and in reading the Bible that you spend time just kind of stopping and thinking. And again, the Bible talks about meditating. Again, it's a biblical concept that the New Agers ripped off from us about meditating on the Lord, thinking about the Lord. That's an important thing to do. Now, if you're here and you're saying, well, the Lord, he just, he hadn't spoken to me lately or at all or recently. Let me give you one really good spiritual tip.
It'll improve your spiritual life. I promise you. Pick up your remote and hit the off button. Now I'm not one of these kill your TV guys. Okay. I watch TV.
I openly confess. Um, I like old movies and, but you need to make sure that you're not just wasting a lot of time sitting in front of your television because isn't it really easy? I mean, let's be honest, isn't it really easy just to turn it on and then like hours later you're like, Oh, where'd the time go? You gave it to that box. And imagine if people from 2000 years ago could walk into the room and watch what you're doing. It would be like, wait, what's going on? Why are they doing that? Why are they just sitting there staring at that box? I don't understand. Just be careful.
Here's, here's the thing. The life lesson, it is often in times of prayer or reading the Bible that the Lord speaks to us. It is often in times of prayer or reading the Bible at the Lord speaks to us. Now he can also speak to you through the message. He can speak to you, um, you know, through your personal devotions, those sorts of things. But God does desire to speak to us.
We just have to sit still long enough to hear. You're listening to pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be right back with more in just a moment, but I want to remind you of the free resources available to you on crossthebridge.com. There's a team of hundreds of people that will pray for somebody to be saved. You have a loved one that needs to know Jesus as savior. You need people to pray for him.
You need someone to present God's word to him. Every day we're presenting God's word to him here on Cross the Bridge with pastor David McGee. We can pray for them as well just by simply going to crossthebridge.com and click on the pray for the lost button. All you need to do is put in the first names of the people you love that need to know Jesus as savior. Click on submit and immediately hundreds of people will begin praying for your lost loved ones.
What an awesome way to bring your loved ones to Jesus. Here's a word from associate pastor DA Brown. We want to take just a minute to pray for some cities in our listening audience, specifically York, Pennsylvania and Bluffton, Charleston, Columbia, Conway, Florence and Greenville, South Carolina. Lord, thank you for the people living in these cities.
Lord, thank you for what you're doing there. We pray that your Holy Spirit would pour out and draw many people into a personal intimate relationship with Jesus. Father, that people would put their trust in you, receive your forgiveness and get plugged into a local Bible teaching church. Give the pastors discernment and wisdom on how to bless and lead these people, Father. Lord, we pray that we'd walk in unity. Lord, we pray for the city leaders that you would bless them and give them wisdom, the mayor, the fire chiefs, the police chief, Father. Lord, that we would be admirable servants of you so that people might see our unity and want a relationship with you also. Lord, we love you.
We thank you for these people. And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Amen.
Thank you, brother. And now, let's get back to David McGee as he continues teaching verse by verse. Let's read verse 14. But Peter said, Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common or unclean. Not so, Lord.
Now, here's an interesting phrase, isn't it? You can say no, you can say Lord. But you can't say no, Lord. Because, see, if you're saying no, he's not Lord.
It's been wisely put that he's either Lord of all or he's not Lord at all. And God wants to speak to every issue in our life and all the parts of our lives. And so when he does, when he challenges us to do something, we can't look at him and say, Well, no, Lord.
You can say no. That's certainly in your free will to do. There's people that, you know, you may be led to serve. You may be led to give. You may be led to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. But you have a free will. You have a choice. You can say no.
But you can't say no, Lord. And Peter says, I've never eaten anything common or unclean. Now, that verse needs a little explanation. They're in the Hebrew Scriptures, what we refer to as the Old Testament. We call them the Hebrew Scriptures here for obvious reasons.
It talks about the fact that the Jewish people were to eat certain foods and they were not to eat certain foods. Now, understand a couple of terms here that we will use, and we use them often here. Levitically and rabbinically.
They're long words, but they're easy to understand. Levitical law is the laws of God in the Bible, specifically in the book of Leviticus. That's Levitical law. Now there's what's called rabbinical law, which has been added to the Bible. And those are the laws of man that man added to the laws of God. And they're generally found in the Talmud, the Mishnah, and other writings. Rabbinical law.
They added a lot of stuff. God said, remember Sabbath to keep it holy. They came with rabbinical law and said, well, you can't carry a kerchief in your pocket because that's like work.
If you actually pin it to your shirt, then it's part of your clothing and that's okay. And to this day, when you visit Israel, you have Shabbat elevators. And that is to say, the open doors and you go in, you don't push any buttons. It just stops at every floor. So you don't have to work to push the buttons. You got to be careful what you elevator you get into.
If you're in the Shabbat, because it'll stop at every floor. But in regards to the food, there were certain foods that were Levitically prohibited for a lot of them. It's easy to understand the reasons. And, and, you know, you go back to the bubonic plague. There was a lot of Jewish people that didn't get sick because they were keeping sanitary and dietary restrictions that helped spread the plague.
It led to the rumors that the Jewish people caused the play. Some of these things that it speaks of or one would be, some of them would be shellfish, oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, those sorts of things. And let me go ahead and disclose for the most part, 95, 98% of the time I eat, which would be a Levitically pure diet.
I don't do that under the mandate of the law. I do it because there is some logic in it and follow me. These things I just mentioned, everybody's like, Oh, I love those things. Well, they're, they're kind of tasty, but here's the reality. They're bottom feeders.
They hang out at the bottom of the ocean and they eat whatever's at the bottom of the ocean. So, you know, they, they carry diseases and bacteria and they also spoil quickly. That's why, you know, occasionally you pick up the paper and somebody's died from eating oysters. That's an indicator.
It's perhaps not good for you that this bacteria would build up in that. So we have to be careful with these things. Does that mean we can eat whatever we want?
Yes. In the freedom of Christ. But you know, I think a lot, I try to eat healthy and I'll tell you why. It's not just so, you know, I get to hang around earth longer.
I'd just soon go see Jesus today. But the reason I do that is because I've noticed that when I eat healthy, I have more stamina and I have a lot to do and the days are long and that sort of thing. I have more stamina to do what I do.
And so the Bible talks about the temple of the Lord. And so I try to eat, I try to eat well. Another one is pork that it discusses that we shouldn't eat pork. Now I occasionally eat pork.
I don't eat a lot of it. And again, not necessarily just Levitically, but you need, and don't just take my word for this. You can go out and you can explore these things and you can research these things. But there was a reason for these things. And for some of them, there's a very sound sanitary reason. And I do think that a believer, yeah, he has the freedom to eat whatever he wants to, but you know what? 70%, this is a scary statistic, 70% of all the health costs in this country are from lifestyle choices. 70% from high cholesterol foods, drugs, alcohol, smoking, all these things are preventable. Let me put that another way.
We are limiting our abilities to minister by 70%. That's a little more convicting, isn't it? So can you eat whatever? Sure, but you should use some wisdom.
I'm not going to put you under some heavy yoke. I'm just, you know, we're dealing with food. It's talking about food.
We're talking about food. Let's look at verse 15. And a voice spoke to him again the second time, what God has cleansed, you must not call common.
Now as I was studying and reading, and I read this verse several times, a smile kind of came over my face. Because those of us here this morning who've asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, we've been cleansed. We're no longer unclean. Now I know that sometimes I refer to us as sinners because, well, in fact, after we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins, we still mess up. But God sees us as saints. Once you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, God sees you as clean, as pure, as forgiven. And he sees some of the people that are seated around you right now as clean, as pure. So what God has called clean, be careful that you don't call it unclean or impure. Chapter 10, again, is this pivotal biblical point. And I don't think we can even appreciate the significance of that. Imagine, imagine if you were in Jerusalem overlooking the temple and you thought, man, I would like to go into that Holy of Holies to worship God because I understand that's where the presence of the Lord is.
And you're sitting there and you're sharing with a friend and your friend goes, well, now, wait a minute. You can't just go in there. You gotta be Jewish. Okay. So I wish I was Jewish so I could go in there to the Holy of Holies.
No, no, no, no. Wait a minute. Well, he said if I was Jewish.
Yeah, but it's more than that. You gotta be Jewish and you gotta be of the tribe of Levi. Okay. So I wish I was Jewish and I wish I was of the tribe of Levi so that I could go in there. Oh, wait a minute.
What? No, you gotta be Jewish. You gotta be of the tribe of Levi and you gotta be of the family of Aaron to go in there.
Okay. So I wish I was Jewish. I wish I was of the tribe of Levi.
I wish I was a family of Aaron so I could go in there. Wait a minute. Not just any priest can go in there. What do you mean? It's only a high priest can go in there.
Okay. So I wish I was Jewish. I wish I was a tribe of Levi. Wish I was a family of Aaron. Wish I was high priest so I could go in there. Oh, wait a What's here?
Yom Kippur, day of the tournament. Okay. So I wish I was Jewish, wish I was a tribal levah, wish I was a family of Aaron, wish I was a high priest, and I wish it was that one day a year where I could go in there. Well, you might die. Did any of us think of any of these things as we walked in the door of this place this morning?
Probably not. But this is what's been provided to us. We've been grafted in. And I don't think we really stop and ponder the significance of that often enough.
We owe a debt to the Jewish people. Now, some of you may be sitting there and you go, I've never heard this before. And you know what's bizarre? There's people in here right now that are very uncomfortable because this whole thing is new to them. And you know what? Sometimes when I start talking about the Jewish roots of Christianity, people get up and walk out.
I hate it, but that's not going to change what I say. We need to understand this because, you know, as I discovered these things, I felt like I'd been ripped off. As the Bible really came alive to me and I discovered these things, I was like, why didn't anybody ever tell me? Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life and I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things.
Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him.
And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend, you just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. Visit crossthebridge.com and click on God's Plan for New Life to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. God wants to bless you and encourage your relationships today. Whether you are married, considering marriage, or engaged to be married, we have a resource for you. Pastor David wants to send you his four-part video series, Allies Stay Friends. Allow God to minister to your marriage through his word today. This was an unforgettable weekend that encouraged many marriages, and you and your spouse can be encouraged too. Allies Stay Friends is our thanks for your generous gift today to help more people hear God's truth on this station and beyond so they can cross the bridge from death to life. Please visit crossthebridge.com today to give a gift of any amount and get your copy of Allies Stay Friends. Well, DA, before we go, what are some ways that we can bless our listeners? Each day you can wake up with encouragement from Pastor David through the Word of God with his email devotional, life lessons to consider, a daily reading plan, and a thought to meditate on throughout your day from the heart of David McGee. Those are terrific. And it's easy and it's free, so folks, sign up today at crossthebridge.com. Thanks again for listening, and join us next time as David McGee continues teaching verse by verse through the book of Acts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-13 03:19:55 / 2023-11-13 03:31:51 / 12