Summary: Gleaned from several sermons on sermoncentral, we see change as necessary but we are slow to do so.
Outline to Learning to Change
It has been said that only wet babies like to be changed, even then they are not that excited about it.
Illustration: Henry Ford and William Knudsen
Conclusion: Even though he was considered a genius, he did not like change. Sometimes change is necessary.
Churches that hate change, hate growth. Seven words that stunt growth are
WE’VE NEVER DONE IT THAT WAY BEFORE
It was no different for the Early Church.
They believed that salvation was not only for the Jews, but to be saved you needed to be a Jew first. Romans 1:16-17
RO 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
God is about to shake things up.
1. The Preparation
a. Cornelius receives a vision from an Angel
b. Cornelius obeys and sends messengers to get Peter in Joppa
c. God prepares Peter
2. The Vision
a. A trance, could mean sleep.
b. Not the first time
i. Jacob’s Ladder( Genesis 28)
ii. Abraham’s Dream of the slavery of Israel (Genesis 15)
iii. Pharaoh’s Dream before Joseph
iv. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:1)
v. Daniel’s dream (8:18, 10)
c. this vision will change Peter’s vision
Sometimes we are called to visit, or call on, or evangelize a people we would rather have nothing to do with.
3. Peter resists at first
a. He was a Jew
b. Judaism or Christian is not a license for bigotry.
c. He was stubborn and obstinate, God had to tell him several times.
There are the dog people – barking, panting, chasing after rabbits, and lying around on the porch howling about something and generally making a mess out of everything. They are faithful to hanging around but sometimes you wish they would get lost for a while so you could have some peace.
There are the cat people – always scratching around in other people’s business, oblivious to whatever is going on around them, acting as though the whole of creation was meant just so they could have their own desires.
There are the lizard people – sneaking around, hanging around behind the bushes, not making a sound; just hanging out in the background and blending in wherever they are. They change their appearance to fit it with the crowd and don’t want to make waves.
There are the insect people – little busy bodies, flitting from here to there and back again. Ever on the move and ever dodging those who would attempt to stifle their actions or make them settle down. They are always “in” on every subject. They are always in the know and quick to tell what they know to anyone who will allow them to light for a while.
There are the pigs – those who love wallow in the muck and mire of the filth of the church and of the world and who don’t seem to be enjoying life unless there is a fight going on and some dirty laundry to expose to the whole world. I think that there are plenty of pigs in the church too. They are always rooting around and trying to get to the root of every problem so they can dig it up and see what happens.
There are the snakes – Those who go around hissing and striking at everything and everybody around them. Nothing ever satisfies them for long. They are always slithering off into the darkness in search of someone else to strike.
I believe that you could name any animal or insect and you could think of someone, somewhere who would have the same mannerisms.
It’s no wonder that so many people carry around prejudices against others because there is so much difference in the way we think, the way we act, the things we like, etc., etc. We tend to think that the whole of Christianity should revolve around our little world! We convince ourselves that we are the only ones with the “truth”.
Peter was convinced of this until the Lord changed his vision. Paul was convinced he and the Jews were the only ones right until God changed his vision. Do we need a vision change? Are we convinced we are the only ones right? People are not going to Hell because of their religion, people are going to Hell because they do not know Jesus and do not have a personal relationship with him, they have not followed all the precepts of salvation according to the Bible. It is not about Church doctrine, it is all about Jesus and what He says.