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Summary: Peter might be riding high on the cloud of joy and excitement as he is reporting to the Church of Jerusalem the advancement of God’s Kingdom to the Gentile. But instead of appreciation and recognition, what he received is objection and criticism. Let's se

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HANDLING OBJECTIONS AND CRITICISMS

Acts 11:1-18

Act 11:1 Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God.

Act 11:2 But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, some of the Jewish believers criticized him.

Act 11:3 "You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!" they said.

Act 11:4 Then Peter told them exactly what had happened.

Act 11:15 "Well, I began telling them the Good News, but just as I was getting started, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning.

Act 11:16 Then I thought of the Lord's words when he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

Act 11:17 And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to argue?"

Act 11:18 When the others heard this, all their objections were answered and they began praising God. They said, "God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of turning from sin and receiving eternal life."

Peter might be riding high on the cloud of joy and excitement as he is reporting to the Church of Jerusalem the advancement of God’s Kingdom to the Gentile. But instead of appreciation and recognition, what he received is objection and criticism.

The Gentiles had received the Word of God! Isn’t it great news of accomplishment? But the believers of Jerusalem with the background of Conservative Judaism were not happy that Peter ate and intermingle with the Gentiles.

I personally admire of how matured Peter had become in handling this exasperating situation. He could slam them of insensitivity! He can accuse them of impartiality or even hypocrisy! But instead of creating another enemy, he attacks the real issue of the day, the issue of ignorance to God’s new movement. He patiently explains to them the facts to battle conservatism. With his wise response, Peter taught us the fivefold approach to handle opposition and criticism

I – Identify the source of objection or criticism to determine the right approach.

Act 11:2 But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, some of the Jewish believers criticized him.

1. Conservative – Explain patiently

Conservative believers were sincere and concern believers. But their religious background closed their mind that they put God in a box. They are not ready or willing to accept God’s new moving and it takes prayer, patience and the moving of the Holy Spirit to convince them. Otherwise they will be stumbling blocks to the growth of the Church.

Peter speaks with divine anointing from God. He boldly claimed that the Holy Spirit is talking to him directly. He also mentioned that six brothers were also present with him to attest the veracity of his story. He patiently explains to them how God convince him about the conversion of Gentile to Christian faith until God opened the heart of conservative Jewish believers.

Act 11:12 The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry about their being Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me…

We are only God’s channel. Our task is to talk honestly. God will illuminate the heart of the conservative. It is not our job to convict them.

2. Constructive – Consider humbly

Opposition or criticism does not always come from conservatism. Sometimes God send them to correct us or to improve us. Moses father in-law is the best example.

Exo 18:17 Moses' father-in-law replied, What you are doing is not good.

Exo 18:21 But select capable men from all the people-- men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain-- and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Exo 18:24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.

Jethro directly criticized Moses strategy in handling his days Job. Moses has the right to become irritated. But instead of saying “It’s none of your business father!” or saying “You don’t know what you are talking about, I am the only person here who can solve people’s problem!”, Moses consider Jethro’s advice.

3. Destructive – Ignore peacefully

If we are sensitive and familiar with the Word of God, we will have the wisdom to discern when the criticism has demonic origin and it is meant to destruct us. Even Jesus has been tempted too by the form of criticism in Mathew Chapter 4. Satan repeatedly used the word “if you are the son of God”. Satan is daring Him to prove the veracity of His claim and Jesus does not need to prove it the way that Satan wants it.

Here are some of demonic accusations and criticism of Christians:

• You are a hypocrite! You are only serving God because of material blessing that you are receiving from God.

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