Acts 11:27-30

This month we have focused on One Great Hour of Sharing as well as Alliance Mission Encounter. Let me give you some history to One Great Hour of Sharing:

Fifty years ago, during World War II and immediately following, Protestant churches made appeals for relief and reconstruction. In 1946, Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill, newly-elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, set a goal of one million dollars per year for the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief. On nationwide radio, he challenged members to raise “one million dollars in one hour.” His impassioned challenge worked. During the first three years, Episcopalians raised $3.8 million.

In 1949, church leaders from several denominations formed an ad hoc committee to organize an appeal aimed at supporting the separate campaigns of American churches. While the post-war language seems a bit stilted, their joint statement in support of this effort is still remarkably contemporary:

This nationwide united effort by America’s Christians has an importance far beyond the practical goal of fund raising. For this great joint program will not only strengthen the vitally important relief and rehabilitation work of the churches overseas, but will also prove to all the world how great is the power generated when Christians unite in a common cause.

A cast was recruited from among the foremost dramatic and musical talent in the United States, including Gregory Peck and Ida Lupino, and a script was written under the direction of playwright Robert Sherwood. President Truman brought greetings. Major networks and many independent stations carried the program on Saturday, March 26 at 10 p.m., eastern time. The broadcast, called “One Great Hour,” closed with a request that listeners attend their local church the following morning and make a sacrificial contribution. No exact measure of income was possible, but it was estimated that more than 75,000 churches participated.

In 1950, the title “One Great Hour of Sharing” was used for the first time. A logo depicting a church steeple clock with hands fixed at eleven was also adopted. A series of six fifteen-minute radio programs was produced to promote the effort, but problems with radio stations brought disappointing results.

The next year, the name of the offering was changed to “One Great Time of Sharing.” In 1952, the name was changed back to One Great Hour of Sharing, and has remained so ever since. By 1954, the announced goal for all giving to One Great Hour of Sharing reached eight million dollars.

From the beginning this has been an ecumenical effort. As denominations changed and merged, One Great Hour of Sharing has varied from eight to twenty-nine participating communions. Currently, the One Great Hour of Sharing committee officially comprises nine Christian denominations: American Baptist Churches USA, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of the Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and Church World Service. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) calls the offering Week of Compassion. In various ways, all work in cooperation with Church World Service, the relief, development and refugee assistance arm of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

At times, One Great Hour of Sharing has been coordinated with the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Fund Appeal for Overseas Aid and the Jewish Passover Appeal. Efforts were made to combine forces to attain the endorsement of the Advertising Council. Joint approaches were made to editors and program directors of radio and television. Free time and space were donated. Today, changes in FCC guidelines have all but eliminated this promotional opportunity. Yet, the offering survives, even thrives, in local congregations.

The purpose of One Great Hour of Sharing has remained the same: to collect special gifts to assist those in need. Today, projects are underway in more than 100 countries, including the United States and Canada. In the 1990s, receipts have exceeded $20 million annually. While specific allocations differ in each denomination, all use their One Great Hour of Sharing funds to make possible disaster relief, refugee assistance, and development aid.

Contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing make a difference in the lives of people. Church World Service, a division of the National Council of Churches, with overseas partner churches and church councils are often the first on the scene following a disaster of natural or human origin. Local church leaders identify the needs of their people. Priorities are set to bring long-term solutions that will improve the quality of life for individuals and communities around the world. One Great Hour of Sharing, nearly 50 years old, continues to respond to needs equally critical as when it was first created.[1]

So, how does this fit with the text?

In this text, prophets come and the church helps with a famine.

Let’s read the passage from Acts 11:27-30 and I want you to see that the church at Antioch agrees to help the church in Judea.

During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

  1.                    As we look at this passage notice that God sends prophets telling of a need.  This is in verse 27.
  2.        Notice that God had already prepared the foundation for the prophets. So, in the previous few verses God had opened up the Gospel to the Gentiles and here in this passage Antioch, this major city had become this operation center for many to receive Christ. Now Barnabas had come and encouraged people to stay true to the Lord. That was verse 23. Barnabas is an encourager.
  3.       Then we come to verses 25 and 26 and Barnabas had gone to get Paul and they teach the people for a whole year and they are first called Christians in Antioch.
  4.        Why does that matter? Why do I belabor that? Why do I go back to the context? To be Christians means that they identified with Christ.
  5.       Now, we come to verse 27 and the Bible says, “About that time…” or in the N.I.V. it says, “During this time…” It was while God was laying the foundation of their discipleship that God sends a prophet.
  6.        I have a strong application that just hit me square in the jaw. Am I ready to hear from God today? Are you ready to hear from God today? Suppose a prophet came here like this, what would I do? How would I react? What would I say? How would I respond?
  7.        They responded positively because they were being taught the Word of God.
  8.       They responded positively because they were being disciple.
  9.       They responded positively because they were following Christ.
  10.         They responded positively because Barnabas was encouraging them to stay true to the Lord.
  11.         They responded positively because they were Christ-ians—they identified with Christ.
  12.       Do I identify with Christ?
  13.         Do you identify with Christ?
  14.     Are you ready to hear from a prophet?
  15.       They were ready and then the prophets came during this time.
  16.       So, one of them was Agabus and verse 28 said that he stood up and spoke.
  17.       Know that the Bible says that he spoke “Through the Spirit.” He did not just speak in any way, but through the Spirit. He has the gift of prophesy from the Holy Spirit.
  18.       He told of a severe famine. This famine was to spread over the entire Roman world.
  19.         This is likely hyperbole. But also notice that there is a parenthesis. Luke tells us that this happened under Claudius’ reign. We know that there were several famines under him.
  20.                 In verses 29-30 the church responds.
  21.        We see that the church responds.
  22.       They give.
  23.        I notice here that Paul and Barnabas are willing to serve. They could have said, “No, no, no, choose someone else, I am not going on a mission trip to Jerusalem.” But they did not.
  24.       I notice here that Paul and Barnabas are also trustworthy.
  25.        I pray that I am trustworthy as well.
  26.        I pray that I am willing to serve.

Close:
So, this month we have served as a church with Alliance Mission Encounter. We have also had opportunity to donate through One Great Hour of Sharing. I shared about that at the beginning of the sermon. We always must help those in need:

According to People magazine, two customers walked into a Lincoln, Neb., Cracker Barrel and asked to be seated with the “grumpiest” server they had. The restaurant host replied that there were no grumpy servers in that restaurant, but they did have a “happiest” server: 18-year-old Abigail Sailors.

After seating, the two patrons listened to Sailors’ life story, which included a mother incapacitated by a car crash, a father incarcerated for abuse, and a horrible foster care experience for herself and her four siblings. She finally found a forever home with John and Susi Sailors about five years ago. Sailors currently attends North Dakota’s Trinity Bible College where she majors in psychology and youth ministry and participates in basketball. But she admitted to her guests that she wasn’t sure how she would afford the next semester, since she was paying her own way.

“I’m just thankful,” she told the Lincoln Journal-Star. “Everything we went through, my attitude is: God blessed me with a lot of things. I’m doing good. That’s all that matters to me.”

One of the customers—a Trinity alumni, as it turns out—then proceeded to write a check to Sailors for $5,000 for tuition and another $1,000 for books and supplies, then left her a $100 tip. Sailors told the local media she couldn’t believe it and tried to thank them, but they both replied, “Thank God.”

Maybe you cannot serve in that way, but how can you serve.

First 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] http://onegreathourofsharing.org/the-history-of-one-great-hour-of-sharing/

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yesterday’s sermon

Think back for a minute to your days in school. What happens when there is a school bully? Okay, so there is a school bully and there might be a few options, one option is that everyone is going to fight him and take him down. Everyone knows that he is the bully, and so you all agree that at such and such a day it is time to say, no more and everyone can take him out. But you know what too often might happen? No one will make the first move, right?

I love history. I love reading historical literature. One reason that Rome could win so many battles was not because there army was better trained but that they could toughen things out longer. In ancient warfare the battles were fought in hand to hand combat and so the battles were fought until one army fled. The Roman army was tougher. Okay, what am I getting at, you ask? Am I looking for another excuse to talk about William Wallace? No. I want to talk about Christian persecution.

Here we are in Acts 11:19-26 and we see that it seems to be one of Luke’s common summary passages. He is referring back to what has happened since Stephen’s stoning. Now, in the last chapter and the beginning of this chapter God has opening Peter and some of Jews in Jerusalem up to Gentiles. At this time, let’s see what is going on.

Let’s read Acts 11:19-27 and the theme is the Antioch church witnesses to the Gentiles. The application for us is verses 23 and 24 stay True to the Lord and may it be said of us like it was of Barnabas.

Turn in your Bibles to Acts 11:19-27:

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

  1.                     Notice in verses 19-21 the church begins to grow in the city of Antioch.
  2.        Those who were scattered because of the persecution. Now, you have to wonder, “what persecution is he writing about?” We have to look back to Stephen’s stoning which was in Acts 8:1 and 4 and that was when Saul was breathing murderous threats upon the church. At that time there were wolves after the church. Everyone fled, everyone fled, except… except who?
  3.       I heard this wonderful illustration recently. Someone comes to the house with a gone so everyone will run except who? The  kids may flee, the neighbors, or friends can flee, but the dad will not flee. The dad is there to protect his children and his wife.
  4.        In this case, this was true. The early believers all flee, except the apostles. The apostles stay in Jerusalem and protect the church.
  5.       There were wolves on the attack, but they knew that the Lord was in control.
  6.       So in verse 19 we see that they made it through different cities and then made it to Antioch. Antioch was a very large city. Antioch was the third largest urban city of antiquity behind Rome and Alexandria. Interesting that this is where God will launch the mission to the gentiles. That is so awesome!
  7.         But at this point the mission is only to Jews.
  8.        Then there were some, we find in verse 20, who started preaching to gentiles as well, Praise God! Galatians 3:28!
  9.       A large number who believed turned to the Lord. These people Trusted the message of Jesus and repented, that is what it means to turn their lives over to Jesus.
  10.                   In verses 22-26 Barnabas comes to Antioch to encourage the believers
  11.        Once again, in verse 22, we see that the Jerusalem church is still the home base. They hear something is going on, so they send Barnabas.
  12.       In verse 23, what does he do? He rejoices.
  13.        What do you do when you hear God does something amazing?
  14.       What do I do when I hear God does something amazing?
  15.       Do we rejoice?
  16.         We become Spiritual introverts instead of extroverts, we need to be outspokenly praising and uplifting God!
  17.        He encouraged them: this means that he brought them aid. He encouraged them to remain true to the Lord.
  18.       That is an application for all of us. Remain True to the Lord— don’t fall away—stay true.
  19.          It messes me up when I read things on Facebook or whatever and I hear what goes on from my flock and so I say the same thing, stay true.
  20.         Barnabas saw all these new believers and he is saying, “stay true.”
  21.        Look at the description of Barnabas in verse 24:

                                                   i.      He was a good man (that is only give by Luke about Joseph of Arimethea in Luke 23:50)

                                                 ii.      Full of the Holy Spirit

                                                iii.      Full of faith

  1.          People were saved
  2.     That is something to praise God about.
  3.       So Barnabas needed help. So what did he do?
  4.       He went for Saul, and he searched for him. Now is has been about 9 years since Saul has become a believer and verse 25 describes it as though it was hard to find him but Barnabas finds him. Saul and Barnabas teach the people for a year. They taught great numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
  5.       By the way, Saul may have been an outcast from his family by now for his Christianity. Also, Luke is setting this up for Acts 13 and Saul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey.
  6.       Notice something about that word Christians:
  7.         It contains Jewish thought, as the equivalent of Messiah, the Anointed. (ii) It shows the Greek language in the substantive—’Christ.’ (iii) It also includes the Latin language in the adjectival ending ‘ians’ (Latin, iani). This universality is a reminder of the language of the title on the Cross.”
  8.        Something else, the “ians” means that we identify with Christ.

Close:

The application for us is verses 23 and 24 stay True to the Lord and may it be said of us like it was of Barnabas. So, can we pursue being full of the Holy Spirit, can we pursue being a good man or woman, can we pursue being full of faith?

Do you identify with Christ? Are you a Christ-“ian”? If so, go and make disciples as they did in this passage.

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

 

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.

Acts 10:23-48

Opening:

Let’s read our church’s mission statement together, it is on the screen:

 

Matthew 28:19-20:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

Notice that Jesus says that He will be with us. We are never making disciples alone. We are never going evangelizing alone. This is something that we cannot do alone. Back up though, back up. Look at a very important word. I want us to play a game, let’s find a very important word in this passage a word that has to do with the sermon today and really had to do with the sermon last week.

 

Can you guess the word? Anyone? Call it out?

Nations?

 

Yes, The Gospel crosses cultures.

That passage is our mission statement and the churches marching orders.

Next passage is on the screen, let’s read it together:

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.”

 

Notice the last phrase of this passage? Do you notice that it says, “Ends of the earth?”

 

Today, we finish the longest narrative in the book of Acts. This passage is pivotal in this book. This passage is a passage where not just one, but actually several Greeks receive Christ as their Savior.  This is now showing that you do not have to be Jewish to be a Christian. This passage is now showing that the Gospel crosses cultural barriers. This is now showing that the Gospel transcends cultures. This is amazing.

 

Galatians 3:28:

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

 

Luke 9:23:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

 

So, we see in all of these passages the emphasis on culture. It no longer mattered that one convert to Judaism. A mistake in historical missions was that they would try to convert the Native Americans to their form of culture as well as convert them to Christianity. Judson Taylor was devoted missionary to China in the 1800’s and he was actually criticized because he adopted Chinese attire. He wanted to identify with the people, rather than expect them to identify with him.

 

We see a repeated them here: The Gospel is for everyone, the Gospel transcends culture. The Gospel is not political, but a-political.

 

Yet, there is still too much racism in the church. Yea sure, we think it is all dead, don’t we, we think it is a moot issue, but it certainly isn’t. Okay, here are a few.

 

  •          We still have racism from African-Americans against white Americans.
  •          We still have racism from white Americans against African Americans.
  •          We have racism against Mexicans.
  •          We have racism against Asians.

o   In those listed above I am afraid to give example but I would site some of the arguments of immigration.

o   I do understand that we need to protect our borders but can we not do that while still being humane and Christian?

  •          I have heard some very racists comments from so called Christ followers so please do not deny it. Let’s deal with it today.

 

Let’s pray and then read the Scripture.

 

Pray: Lord Jesus Take care of our sin filled hearts, clean us up, only you can…

 

Please read with me Acts 10:23-48 and I intend to show you that now Peter introduces Cornelius and his companions to Jesus. They accept Christ. But most of all Gentiles, non-Jews are in the Kingdom. The Gospel is for everyone. Verse 35 is a Thesis.

 

Let’s read the passage, turn with me to Acts 10:23-48:

 

23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

Peter at Cornelius’s House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people,but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

 

Now, let’s break it down and talk about it.

 

  1.                     In Verses 24-33 Cornelius shares how this came to pass and invites Peter to preach.
  2.        Cornelius saw an angel four days ago. (verse 30.)
  3.       The angel was in shining armor, verse 30. His giving has been remembered, verse 31, which connects with verse 2. Verse 33, He did not want to hear just anything but what Peter has been commanded to share by the Lord.
  4.                   In verses 34-43: Peter preaches the Gospel.
  5.        Peter preaches a Gospel version shorter than some of his other sermons.
  6.       Yet, this sermon focuses more on the life and ministry of Jesus.
  7.        This is similar to Mark’s Gospel. This makes sense as Mark’s Gospel is said to have been written off of Peter’s testimony.
  8.       Peter knew when to stop.
  9.                 Verses 44-48:
  10.        Verse 45: all the circumcised believers (all the Jews) were amazed. A testimony that God had opened the Gospel up (Gal. 3:28)   
  11.       The Spirit convicted them and they were baptized.

Close:

 

So, now we really do see the great commission coming to fruition. Do we still see it happening today? I pray it does.

Let’s read those Scriptures again.

Matthew 28:19-20:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

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.”

 

Now, I talked about racism. Where do you need to change? Who do you not want in the Kingdom of God? God wants everyone in His Kingdom, everyone:

Acts 10:34-35: Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.