Summary: The work of the Lord was important enough to have the Holy Spirit move Luke to write down the events of Peter’s ministry, it should be important enough for the Body of Christ to take note of the truths proclaimed in this message. Peter shows a spiritual
I am going to read to you Acts 11:1-4 and then verse 18
Title: A Peter Revelation
Theme: The Enjoyment of Ministry Accountability
Series: Essentials for Church Growth
Listen as I read, Acts 11:1-4 and verse 18, “The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the Word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.’ Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened… When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God.”(Acts 11:1-4, 18) Let us Pray!
Introduction: The Holy Spirit reveals the importance of God’s work through Peter by moving Luke to refer to the events of the ministry in Cornelius’s household three different times in the Book of Acts. Although the Apostle Paul is often referred to as the Apostle to the Gentiles, Peter received a message from God giving him the instructions of taking the gospel to Cornelius’s family, thus he had the privilege to open the gospel door to the Gentiles. (Acts 10-11; Through the Bible; Barnes Notes; The Expositors Bible Commentary) Whenever, God starts a new work, a work done differently than what was usually done, the cancer of traditionalism births forth the death of criticism. A ministry matured in the Holy Spirit defeats that criticism.
Proposition: I would propose to you if the work of the Lord was important enough to have the Holy Spirit move Luke to write down the events of Peter’s ministry, it should be important enough for the Body of Christ to take note of the truths proclaimed in this message. Peter shows a spiritual maturity that is missing in the Body of Christ.
Instead of presenting a sloppy-agape love, he shows true sacrificial love to his Lord and the Body of Christ.
It is important to note that those who criticized Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles were Jewish Christians, “circumcised believers” who needed a fuller understanding of the whole counsel of the Word of God. (Matthew Henry Commentary; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary; The New American Commentary; Barnes Notes, The Expository Bible Commentary) The cancer of traditionalism and legalism kept them from understanding true circumcision of the heart, done by the Holy Spirit of Christ. (Romans 2:29) Circumcision of the spiritual heart is not just a New Testament revelation, God sent His prophets to teach the people of God that if outward circumcision was to have any significance, then it must be accompanied with an inner work on the spiritual heart. (The New International Dictionary of the Bible; Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 44:7) Deuteronomy 30:6 says, “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
It is only by the hand of God, through Christ and the Holy Spirit that the Body of Christ can overcome dead religion and cultural habits. Christians who have the Holy Spirit illumination that Peter knew fear the dangers of the cancers of legalism, traditionalism, denominationalism and faddism. They seek answers to these questions.
Interrogative Sentence: How does a mature ministry receive revelation and how is God’s revelation presented to the Body of Christ? How should spiritual leaders respond to the work the Lord is doing?
Transitional Sentence: The first step toward enjoying Peter’s revelation from the Lord is to have hearts that are seeking after God.
Acts 10:1-2 says, “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (Acts 10:1-2) The first key word to grasp is “devout” (eusebes) meaning to be a person who is respectful to God and things regarding worship unto Him. Devout people are dutiful in their efforts to seek God and know His will for them. (Complete Word Study of the Bible; Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) The second key word is “God-fearing” (phobeo) meaning to have a reverential obedience toward God. (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon)
In the New Testament the term “God-fearing” had become what we would call a technical term for Gentiles who became frustrated with their gods and the result of the immorality of mankind. These particular people attached themselves to the Jewish religion. They were not circumcised and did not have a tremendous knowledge of the Word of God. They did however, attend some kind of meetings or had some kind of influence that enabled them to seek God. In Cornelius’s case, he had enough revelation to become a man of prayer and have a heart for the needy. (Daily Study Bible Series)