Acts 14 Part 2–Rock Star or Heretic, God is Still in Charge

People are fickle.  Paul and Barnabus were literally being treated like gods.  They preached the Gospel, healed the sick, and the crowd loved it…well they did until they didn’t.  Paul and Barnabus told the crowd to cut it out.  They were just normal guys, like the rest of the crowd.  They continued to point back to God not to themselves.  Well, somehow the Jewish leaders in the area used that to stir the crowd up and change their mood from deifying Paul to killing him.  The next thing that we read is that the crowd stone Paul to what seems to be death and dragged him out of the town.  That could not have been pleasant.

The disciples were crushed.  Their leader was dead…or was he? Nope! Paul stood up and went back into town preaching and training leaders for the churches in the area.  Dr. Luke does not share details, but stoning is not a form of execution that one can easily fake.  God healed Paul.  There is no telling the amount of damage their stoning would have done to Paul, but Paul rose, went back into town, and carried on as if nothing had transpired! That was a miracle.

Each time I read one of the amazing stories of healing, I am reminded of 2 things.  First, God does not promise this journey will be easy, pleasant, or painless.  As soldiers in battle, we must expect opposition to take many forms and be in our path.  Sometimes we can easily confront it and move on, but other times, it will seem life altering and overwhelming.  We cannot see any way to get past it.  It is those times when God shows Himself the most amazing.  He promises to prepare, protect, and provide for His own.  What form that may take is often different than we would hope or expect.  When we see God’s handiwork, however, we know without a doubt it was Him all along.

Paul did not gloat or draw attention to himself upon His return.  Instead, he and Barnabus simply continued the work of the Gospel.  No fanfare, no revenge–simply showing grace and love for the people in the churches that the men helped to establish.  As our Lord’s soldiers, we must remember that serving God is simply not about us.  Whether we are being courted as Rock stars or stoned as heretics; we must focus on the Lord and His mission for our lives.  If we will, He will be glorified, and we will be blessed!

God Bless You


14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14 Part 1–From Serving to Being God???

Paul and Barnabus were on a roll.  People were coming to the Lord from all walks of life .Jews, Greeks were all coming forward and following the Gospel.  The Jewish leaders and Greek religious leaders became angered and built-up resistance and tried to have the men tortured and killed.  No worries, Paul and Barnabus moved on. They went to Lystra and were preaching when Paul connected with a man that had been crippled from birth.  He told the man to stand up and the man did he was marching around healed.  It was great, well it was until the people started worshipping Paul and Barnabus…

The men were doing what they were supposed to do and living like Christ.  They were doing it for God’s glory, and He was blessing it.  Then, as men will, the people quit worshipping God and started worshipping His messengers.  It literally broke Paul and Barnabus’ hearts.  They wanted no recognition or glory, they simply wanted to provide the Gospel to people so that they would worship God.  They pleaded with the people to stop, but they would not hear of it.

This happens so much in our time as well.  Great preachers set out to fulfill their Christ centered mission and are amazingly effective.  Then as their message resonates, they become Rock stars.  They do not set out to become celebrities, it is a simple by product of representing God effectively.  Sadly, more times than not, this causes the preachers and evangelists to lose sight of the mission and begin to believe the HYPE.  When that occurs, not only do they lose their effectiveness, but often they are destroyed. 

The enemy loves the opportunity to set them on their own pedestals only to knock that pedestal out from under them at just the right time.  We need to pray for our pastors and leaders.  We need to help them to be effective but also pray that the enemy not be able to sift them like wheat.  It is our prayers and support that will allow great men of God to be effective and unaffected by a world and church looking for Super heroes.

God Bless You


 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.[a] So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,[b] 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds

Acts 13 Part 3–If Anyone is In Christ…

God used Peter to establish His intention to not only restore the Jewish people to a right relationship with God, but to offer salvation to all that would believe.  Cornelius was the poster child for God’s intention to save the entire world.  One need not forget that God set Israel apart not to be a nation of warriors, but to be a nation of priests and ambassadors for Him.  While Paul and Barnabus were preaching the Gospel in the synagogues, many devout Jews were hearing the Gospel and being saved. Still, the religious leaders were not happy and stirred up opposition among the prominent families, to stop Paul and Barnabus from sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people in the area.  During one such event, Paul declared to the crowd that while God was committed to making salvation available to the Jewish nation, He always intended to be available to all people.

  
It is important to know that God truly desires that no one would perish.  The Father sacrificed all that was precious to Him so that we could enjoy a renewed and personal relationship with the Lord.  Paul says in Romans, in Corinthians, In Philippian’s and in Colossians, here there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, Barbarian or Scythian slave or free. The point God wants us to grasp is that if we are in Christ, we are citizens of Heaven.  our earthly origins and nationalities are of no consequence once we join the family of God.  Paul and Barnabus were simply the first of countless men and women that have marched around the globe presenting God’s message of salvation to all that would listen.  We must see the world from God’s perspective to grasp the enormity of the Gospel’s scope and freedom.  The Gospel is divisive because the enemy does not want to admit defeat and will fight against God’s message at each front.  But the message is truly the most unifying message of all time.  It is best said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” 


God Bless You


 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13 Part 2–The Men on Mission

So Paul and Barnabus were having an impact.  John Mark went home.  There is not much said about the whys or the significance of John Mark leaving the group but suffice it to say it would become significant to Paul and Barnabus later.  For now, the men continued.  As they were in a different Antioch, they were asked to say a few words…Pauk arose and gave the sermon of His life. Paul explained John the Baptist versus. 

More Precisely, Paul spoke to the difference between prophet and Savior, and Jesus’ relationship to David.  Jesus was clearly the Messiah.  He was no Prophet; He was not just a good man.  No Jesus was God with Us.  He was the one spoken about since Adam and Eve, He healed the sick, raised the dead, was friend to the friendless and called the religious hierarchy out for their hypocrisy.  Mostly, Jesus was the Lamb who was slain.  He is the Savior.  Most folks were willing to listen and as the spirit moved, it changed their lives.

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Like Paul and Barnabus, we must stay on mission.  It is rarely easy; the enemy will do anything to distract or defeat us.  We never know from where the attack will come, but we can be sure that it will indeed come.  We must pray, seek Him, and trust God to carry out our sanctification until He calls us home to be with Him.  Paul gives us a hint, in Ephesians 6.  We must put on God’s full armor to stay in the battle and finish victoriously.  If we will arm ourselves with the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of Righteousness, the belt of truth, shod our feet with the readiness of the Gospel.  Then we grab our shield of faith and the sword of truth and press on to take hold pf that for which Christ took hold of us.  We need not fear.  For God is with us and will give us opportunities to change lives and win battles on His behalf.

  
God Bless You


13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with[b] them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

“‘You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you.’

34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’

35 Therefore he says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
    a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 13 Part 1–The Missionary Work Begins

We sometimes forget that Paul and Barnabus did not simply take off on a whim to change the World.  Much preparation and prayer preceded the missionaries launch.  In fact, scripture reminds us that the men were fasting and praying, including Manean a lifelong friend of Herod?  God was at work in the Church.  While they were praying, God told the men to send Paul and Barnabus on their way.  So, they left taking Mark, the Gospel writer, with them.

When they arrived in Cypress, they started preaching in the synagogues.  The leader of the area called for Paul and Barnabus to come and speak to Him about the Lord.  There was a local false prophet that tried to stop them from speaking the truth.  Paul called the false prophet out, and he became blind.   It sent a reverence to the Proconsul and shut the false prophet down for good.  Clearly, God’s spirit was large and in charge.

Nothing has changed.  The Gospel is still being shared throughout the world.  One can be sure that wherever God is having an impact; the enemy is fighting with all guns a blazin’ to shut it down.  As our Lord’s witnesses, we need to speak the truth in Love to all that will listen.  We can never expect that to happen without opposition or trial.  We, like Paul, need to trust God and speak confidently knowing that the spirit will lead, guide, and protect those following His lead.  We must never fear the enemy.  He will come and will attempt to take charge–BUT, we know that greater is He who is within us, than he that is in the world!!!

God Bless You


Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[a] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.


Acts 12 Part 2–Herod’s Demise and the Gospel’s Global Spread

The Hubris of Herod.  He truly felt untouchable and immortal.  He killed the guards that lost Peter, He traveled to the land of Tyre to exert his authority over the people in Tyre and Sidon.  He sat on his throne and delivered a speech that even impressed himself.  Then, as the people began to deify Herrod, he not only let them, but was pretty sure they were right.  He was a god! That was the last thought He had before he died.  The Bible said He was eaten by worms, like a sick dog…not a very dignified way to die–but, probably better than he deserved.

After Herod’s death, the church was able to grow, and the gospel continued to spread.  Paul and Barnabus went to Jerusalem to deliver the money to the church and as they returned to Antioch, they took a third, John Mark–Mark of gospel fame. At every level, things were moving forward.  The church was spreading in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  Now that the veil between the Jewish nation and the gentile world had been pierced and the persecution subsided–The spread of the church was about to go global. 

It is amazing that now, almost 2000 years later, the Gospel is truly available across the globe.  We are as inspired to reach the world as were the young founding disciples.  God has blessed us with tools to complete the work, but it still takes each of us allowing God to work through us to make the saturation a reality.  We must embrace Paul’s attitude from Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe!”  Help me Lord to share your Gospel with boldness!

God Bless You


Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

The Death of Herod

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain,[b] they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from[c] Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Acts 12–Herod’s Persecution of the Church

Now Paul was converted, his mission set, and with Barnabus at his side, it seemed as though the church entered a time of peace.  Sadly, that would not be the case.  Herod, the Jewish king, decided to persecute the church and its leadership.  He had James, John’s brother, arrested and killed. Next, he tracked down and arrested Peter.  Herod’s goal was to repeat the scene Pilate played out with Jesus. Herod would wait until Passover, and then parade Peter out before the people and kill the Apostle. 

As the Bible has demonstrated many times, however, that would not be the case this time.  God literally sent an angel to enter the jail, free Peter, and march him out from among His captors, right under their noses.  This was neither no small feat, nor was it a dream or vision.  The churches prayer vigil to save Peter was literally interrupted by Peter’s return. The guards charged with Peter’s oversight were executed for failing their duty.  Peter was then secreted away to safety and ultimately, Herod died of vanity and narcissism! 

God will not be mocked.  He will execute His plan for our lives.  That plan may have some trials, bumps, and difficult circumstances, but in the end, nothing escapes God’s sight or understanding.  We simply need to remember that whatever the outcome, this is not our home.  We are in route to our home, Heaven. Heaven is where we will spend eternity with God and others whom God has redeemed.  In the meanwhile, we must remain ready to honor God with all that we have, and all that we do,  following His lead in our lives.  If we will, He will bless us, use us, and give us a full, meaningful, and abundant life.

God Bless You


About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Peter Is Rescued

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.”[a] Then he departed and went to another place.

Acts 11 Part 2–Barnabus and the growth of Ministry

Luke changes course again.  During all that was happening with Peter and the Church in Jerusalem, Luke then sets the stage for the rise of the Church in Antioch, and the spread of Christianity across the globe. Luke tells of the spread of the gospel to Antioch where several Jerusalem’s believers fled during the persecution by Saul of those in Jerusalem.  There the believers ministered to the Greek speaking Jews, called the Hellenists. 

 
News traveled back to Jerusalem and the Apostles sent Barnabus to Antioch to check things out.  This was the second introduction of Barnabus, who was first named as a benefactor in Acts four and later discussed as a proponent to Paul the now converted persecutor of the church.  Barnabus was clearly a man that Loved God and gave his life to the spreading of the Gospel.  In this account, Barnabus tracks Paul down in Tarsus.  The two of them return to Antioch and spend a year ministering and collecting funds for the Church to feed the hungry during the famine in Claudius’s reign.


God was preparing for the worldwide spread of the Church.  Many were used to do the work.  The same holds true today. God is constantly at work in the lives of those who are willing to remain available.  Henry Blackaby in his book experiencing God said, “Rather than telling God what He needs to do in ministry, as believers, we need to simply go where He is working and join in that work.” 


That is what Barnabus did in Cypress and Antioch. We too can be used by God to do extraordinary things if we will simply trust the Lord and allow Him to lead us into our ministry.


God Bless you


Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists[c] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers[d] living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 11 Part 1–A Nation of Priests

As Jesus selected His Apostles, He chose Peter very early.  Throughout the ministry, Peter both blessed Jesus with his loyalty and devotion, and, he frustrated Jesus with his impulsiveness and his simplicity.  But, from the start, it was always Peter that was 1st out of the gate and all in for every task.  Jesus needed a man like Peter to march forward into the battle without regard to the outcome. So, Peter marched forward into the home of Cornelius.  He preached the Gospel to the man, Cornelius’s family, friends, and close associates. They were saved, baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter then returned to Jerusalem to give an account for what had happened.  It is important to note that Jewish Law prevented such contact with gentiles.  Good Jewish folks were not supposed to associate with such people; much less help them to join the family of God.

Lest one forget, however, that was not God’s plan.  He built the nation of Israel to be His nation–a nation of priests.  The Father’s motive was always to restore the entire world back to fellowship with Him.  The Lord wanted all to know and have a personal relationship with Him.  The men in Jerusalem came to the meeting with Peter that day, to chastise Peter and possibly punish Him.  Yet, after hearing how God Himself called Peter to make the journey and preach the Gospel, there was only one step to take.  The Church would now carry the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.  This was and Is God’s mission until Christ’s return.  

For the Apostles, that meeting was mind-blowing.  It set the marching orders for the leadership to change their paradigm from a national relationship with God for the Jews; to a personal one for everybody who would accept the gospel.  We are the beneficiaries of that meeting, and, as we hear of mission efforts across the globe, we can point to this event as the catalyst for the movement.  Peter was the man and Jesus was the great gift to reunite all sinful people with a Holy God.  We like Peter need to trust God and share the Gospel with whomever God sets before us.  We need not make any distinction–because God did not!

God Bless You


Now the apostles and the brothers[a] who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party[b] criticized him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” But Peter began and explained it to them in order: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Act’s 10 Part 2–Peter’s Faithfulness Was God’s Game Changer

What a dream! Peter had no idea that the picnic he was just attending was the precursor to God’s bigger plan.  Peter stood with Jesus as the Lord returned to His Father.  Jesus told the Disciples that they would be God’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  Peter was now faced with the opportunity to make that charge a reality.  

Cornelius Had served God and His people faithfully.  As the local Roman leader, he was kind and generous to God’s people. He sought God and followed as best as he was allowed.  Now, God would honor Cornelius’s faithfulness by giving Him and His household salvation. Peter was gifted with the opportunity to see the Spirit fall upon these people who were not Jewish.  How could that be, you ask?  Well, as the Lord had demonstrated to Peter, What God had prepared, no man would be able to call common, or unclean.

The Church stands in communities across the globe because of Peter and Cornelius’s faithfulness.  Paul was able to express the idea most clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any person ne in Christ, He is a new creation.  The old is gone and the new Has come.” Later Paul said in Colossians 3:11, “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian or Scythian, slave or free.”  Why? you ask, it is simple–because Christ is all and in all!

To whom and how Christ spreads His Gospel is only our responsibility to the extent that we remain obedient in sharing His message. Like Peter, ours is not to determine if someone is fit to hear the message of salvation, our only responsibility is to remain available and speak God’s truth in love.  He will do the rest, and we will enjoy the blessing that comes from following Him.  

God Bless You


 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,[c] for I have sent them.” 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends…
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”