6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: verse by verse through Acts

[2] This week we find ourselves back in the book of Acts learning how we can be the church instead of how we can just go to church. As we continue our studies we keep in mind that our main goal as a church it to help people become mature followers of Jesus Christ.

But let me ask you this, are there certain people, or people groups that you have a hard time reaching out to because they are just so different? Maybe it’s their religious background, maybe it’s their ethnic background, maybe it’s their financial situation or maybe it’s their immoral lifestyle that keeps you at a distance. [3] They are so culturally different that you won’t even attempt to reach out to them with God’s love.

[Liberal family members example.]

And you know what we do sometimes? We don’t even take the time to share God with those people because our cultures clash so much. We write them off and try to convince ourselves that it’s someone else’s job to witness to them. All because we either don’t understand their culture or because we can’t stand their culture.

But if God’s put that person in my life, then maybe God wants me to talk with them.

- I’ll bet if that culturally different person’s in your family – God wants you to talk to them.

- I’ll bet if that culturally different person sits next to you on the bleachers as you watch your kids play soccer every week– God wants you to talk to them.

- I’ll bet if that culturally different person is one of your co-workers – God wants you to talk to them.

You see, when it comes to sharing God’s love with someone, we need to learn how to

[4] become culture-blind. Our differences with people shouldn’t keep us from giving them a chance to know the God of the universe.

Now there are times when we need to take a person’s culture into account. When hiring a babysitter for our kids we wouldn’t hire someone who’s cultural background is that of a criminal. When having a practicing Buddhist over for dinner we wouldn’t serve him a sacred cow on a bun called a hamburger.

There are times when we need to be culture-sensitive. But when it comes to who we share God’s love with, we need to be culture-blind.

In Acts chapter ten the Apostle Peter is going to learn how to be culture blind when it comes to sharing the gospel. You see the church back then was dominated by Jewish leadership and even Jewish tradition. Most of the church leaders believed that even as Christians they still needed to uphold all of the laws and traditions of the Old Testament. They even thought that if a non-Jewish person wanted to become a Christian they too must uphold the Old Testament laws like circumcision and ceremonial washing.

This would be an issue that the church would deal with for a while. You see, when Christ came He didn’t invalidate the Old Testament – He fulfilled it. Therefore there was no need to continue to perform some of the Jewish religious traditions that looked forward to the Savior. This incident in Acts chapter ten would help the church to better understand that.

Now, for a Jew, they weren’t supposed to associate with a non-Jewish, or gentile, person. But here God wants Peter to not only associate with them, but to eat with them, invite them into his home and later stay at their home. All of these were huge social taboos. But God was teaching Peter how to be culture-blind. The first thing we see here is that:

[5] God prepares the unreached. Peter was going to have to witness to someone that he was culturally uncomfortable with. But God had already prepared that person ahead of time just for Peter.

[Read Acts 10:1-8.]

Cornelius was a good gentile man who had converted to Judaism. But even as a new convert, he still felt like there must be more to this. He’d heard of Jesus and the claims made by His disciples and wondered if He was in fact the Jewish Messiah that was long awaited for. So while praying and seeking God an angel appeared to him and told him to have Peter come and tell him what he knew. God was preparing this man for the Truth that he saught so earnestly. God will prepare those who seek Him.

[My life events, U2 music, people, etc…]

God knew I wanted the Truth about Him and so He used various means to get my attention and to prepare me for the Truth.

The people that God wants you to talk with, He’s preparing them right now for when it’s your time to bring them the Truth. And not only is He preparing them, He’s preparing you! Let’s go back to the story and see how [6] God prepares the messenger.

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