Summary: We must take what we learn and what we say in church to let people know that this is not just for us, but others. Others should believe in God based on what we do, not what we say.
It’s Not Just for Us
Acts 11:1-9 and 18 NRSV
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. Let us pray.
When I listen to people read the mission and vision statement at church, I often times wonder…do they really believe in the mission and vision statement that they recite every Sunday. Well, I do, and I’ve done all that I can to live by that mission and vision statement even though many of the times, it wasn’t at this church, but through out the community all over here and all over the state. This is a good mission and vision statement. But if we had to really look at what we’ve done as a church, what has we done to fulfill our role in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ?
Christ mandated that we do this, and we are placing this same mandate on ourselves. But if someone had to grade us on our work, which we do, what would our grades be?
I know this guy really well. His name is Dr. Terry Esper. He’s a Christian economics and professor with tenor at the University of Tennessee. He’s a graduate of Philander Smith College with his degree in Math. He got an MBA from the University of Arkansas and his PhD in economics from the University of Arkansas as well. This cat goes all over the world advising people…companies and governments on how to operate in the black. He’s married to my line sister, and he’s my friend on face book. He's my brother.
One day I was reading his status and I told him that I was gonna have to use that in my next sermon. He said this, “I have a vision and now a platform and a ministry. Even if I don’t want to go… I’ve got to. It’s not a chore… It’s not even a burden… It’s worship. Let’s push beyond our flesh and what we have and do what we have been mandated to do.”
He was talking about having a healthy life, but the same principle applies to us when it comes to our own spiritual health. The best way to get closer to God is through prayer, worship, reading the word, and most importantly doing the word.
Luke 10:27 says to love God and others. We have been commissions to go out in this way of live teaching everyone that we meet about the ways of Christ.
See Peter had a platform, but it wasn’t what God had in mind. Peter said that I’m not gonna touch or eat anything that was considered unclean before the sight of God. God was using that vision as a metaphor. God was showing Peter that his salvation wasn’t just for the Jews, but it’s for all people. Peter didn’t get it the first time, so God had to show him the vision a few more times, just like God gotta do with us, and God finally told Peter, that when these guys from Caesarea come looking for you go with him because I got someone that I want you to talk to.
Now this somebody was Cornelius, he was an officer in the Italian army. He seem to be a man of some wealth because he had servants and officers at the house, and he was always giving money to the Jews. He was a God fearing man. He made sure the members of his house hold were God fearing. He prayed everyday.
An angel came around 3 o’ clock in the evening. And angel told him, that God has heard his prayers and noticed his devotion to him and that Peter was gonna come and minister to him and his family. God and send for him. His name is Simon who is called Peter. He’s staying with Simon the tanner in Joppa.
So Cornelius does this and Peter is having a vision. Let’s go back to his vision for a moment…See when Peter had this vision, it was around lunch time. So of course, when you’re hungry you’re gonna think about food, so of course, God being God… He related His message to Peter in a way that he could understand it. Peter was so hungry that he fell into a trace. He saw every bird, reptile, and animal that you could think of. God told him to go and kill one of those animals and eat it.
Peter was like, “Whoa Lord, wait up. I’m not finna eat that! That’s not kosher!”
God’s reply is, “If I say it’s OK, then it’s OK.”
This puzzled Peter to no end and that’s when he met up with the soldiers that Cornelius sent to get Peter.
How many times have we done that… Looked at people like they don’t deserve to be in our presence? You pass them over to someone else so that we don’t have to deal with them. God basically told Peter that you are gonna have to preach the word, be the word, and minister to all of his children.