Summary: The purpose of this message is to help us see that we don’t want to put God or our ministry in a box and to prepare us for what God just might want to do through us in the future.


Acts 11:1-18


A. How should we go about ministry and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ?

1. Most people who are Christians would have an answer to that question

2. The answers, for the most part would probably be predictable

a. If I had the opportunity to see how you were raised, what church you grew up in and what they taught about ministry & evangelism – I could probably get you ideas without even asking

b. You see, we have this tendency to like the familiar

c. And that is not all bad, until we try to box everything and everyone else into our pretty little package.

B. This is especially true when we try to box God up.

1. We have a tendency to think God can only do something one way, maybe two or three, but surely not…….

2. “I can’t believe they would do that” or “That’s not the way to do that” are words that might come from those who try to put God in a box.

3. We might try to put God in a box by not being open to how He might want to do something different in our own church.

4. But let me tell you something, being boxed up can be awfully tight, tiresome and even hurtful.

C. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I want to show you five of them – I’m a Baptist preacher I like to talk a lot

1. Show pictures (or use video of contortionist getting in and out of a box)

2. What do you think?

3. I wish I could have shown you video

- Tuesday I watch numerous videos of people getting into boxes and out again

- In fact I watched a Guinness World record where three people got in to a box that was 26” x 27” x 22” and they stayed there for 2 minutes & 53 sec.

4. It was not comfortable for me to watch and I’m sure they were much happier when they got out!

D. This morning we are going to see that some in the early church tried to put God in a box and they tried to put God’s servant in a box as well – they tried to put ministry into a box of their own making.

1. They could not fathom that God might just chose to do something different

2. They could not see that God might just have a different plan and a different way of getting something done

E. Folks, we are going to have a special day in October.

1. On Oct 26, we will meet as a church to seek out God’s plans for the future ministry of FBCM

2. It is going to be a day in which the building Steering Committee is asking for your inputs and ideas.

3. We are not looking for what type of buildings we want, nor are we looking for how those buildings would be set up or equipped.

4. We are looking for ideas in five different areas: Worship, Discipleship, Evangelism, Ministry, and Fellowship– try to think outside the box for a little while – it will be a breath of fresh air!

F. God, who’s timing is always impeccable, has brought us to Acts 11, and I hope this message will help prepare us for that day – lets break out of the box and see what God can do!

1. Our Outline for this morning is

a. Obstacles to Breaking Out

b. Means of Breaking Out

c. The Result of Breaking Out

2. May God bless us and this church as we seek to do His will in our community by breaking out of the box!


To help us prepare ourselves for what God might want to do in and through us we need to open to His leadership. Breaking out of the box can be hard, so lets first look at

I. OBSTACLES TO BREAKING OUT, Acts 11:1-3 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. [2] And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, [3] Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

A. The Occasion

1. Peter had followed God’s directions and command to go to a home in Caesarea and present the gospel to all those in the house

a. God then did a marvelous work, the Holy Spirit came and indwelt those in the house

b. Cornelius and his family got saved and people were rejoicing

c. Peter then traveled from Caesarea back to Jerusalem, possibly with the intent to take the good news back to his brothers in Christ, so that they might rejoice

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