Summary: Someone has said that the only people that like change are wet babies... and even they aren’t too excited about it. Consider what happened when God brought change to the early church.
OPEN: Back in 1912, Ford Motor Co. had a production manager named William Knudsen - considered one of the best in his field. Knudsen became convinced that the Model T (which had been in production for 4 years now) had to be updated. But, the only problem was - Henry Ford loved his creation so much it was well known that he opposed changing anything about the car.
According to Robert Lacy (in his best selling biography, Ford: The Man and the Machine) Knudsen thought to convince Ford by building an updated and impressive model to show what could be done with a few changes in color and design.
Ford had just returned from a European vacation, and he went to a Highland Park, Michigan garage and saw the new design created by Knudsen.
On-the-scene mechanics later revealed how Ford responded.
They say that the car was it was a four door job, and the top was down, painted gleaming red and built on a new, low slung version of the Model T.
One eyewitness tells how "Ford had his hands in his pockets, and he walked around that car 3 or 4 times…. Finally, he got to the left hand side of the car, and he takes his hands out, gets hold of the door, and bang! He ripped the door right off!… How the man done it, I don’t know! He jumped in there, and bang goes the other door. Bang goes the windshield. He jumps over the back seat and starts pounding on the top. He rips the top with the heel of his shoe. He wrecked the car as much as he could."
Knudsen left for General Motors. Henry Ford nursed along the Model T, but design changes in competitors models made it more old-fashioned than he would admit. Competitive necessity finally backed him into making the Model A, but his heart was never in it.
APPLY: Henry Ford was one of the most creative men of his age. And yet… Henry Ford - one of the great minds of his day - resisted the obvious need for change.
Most people don’t like change in their lives any more than he did. One man once observed that the only people who DO like change are "wet babies" … and even they aren’t too excited about it.
(pause…) Churches are notorious for that kind of attitude as well. You’ll find church boards saying things like “we’ve never (pause to let them complete it) done it that way before”
Someone once said that when it comes to change the church is often like the snail riding on the back of a turtle (repeat for emphasis)...
…and do you know what a snail does when it rides on the back of the turtle?
It goes: "Whee!"
Many churches bulk at even the slightest change in their routine. Even when they’re fairly sure the changes would be something pleasing to God they still resist.
I. Now, things weren’t a whole lot different back in the days of the early church.
People back then didn’t like change anymore than people now do.
When we read about the events in Acts 10, it may be hard visualize how earth shaking the events actually were, but the changes God brought to pass reverberated in the early church for the next 50 or 60 years.
If you had any question about how monumental this event was, you’d at least get a hint about how disturbing it must have been for the New Testament Christians by the way in which God introduced the idea to Peter.
Read with me Acts 10:10-17 (Peter) became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (continued next page)
This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.
In these dreams, God was telling Peter – He was going to do something new. And that “new thing” was waiting at the gate.
Now, Peter was a good Jew. He had been raised to obey the Law of Moses, and one very prominent part of that law dealt with what animals you could eat…and what animals you couldn’t.