Summary: If we are obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit we will see great revival!

The Three R’s of Obedience

Text: Acts 10:9-33; 44-48


1. Illustration: A Fellow was sitting at a stop light. The lady in front of him was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green she did not obey its command - a green light is a commandment - NOT a suggestion. When the light turned to red, and she had still not moved, He began (with his windows up) screaming and beating on his steering wheel. His expressions of distress were interrupted by a policeman, gun drawn, tapping on his window. Against his protestations of, "You can’t arrest me for hollering in my car," the officer ordered him into the back seat of his patrol car. After about two hours in a holding cell, the arresting officer advised him he was free to go. He said, "I knew you couldn’t arrest me for what I was yelling in my own car. You haven’t heard the last of this." The officer replied, "I didn’t arrest you for shouting in your car. I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, "What a jerk. But there is nothing I can do to him for throwing a fit in his own car. Then I noticed the ’Cross’ hanging from your rear view mirror, the Jesus is Coming Soon’ bumper sticker, and the Fish symbol, and I thought you must have stolen the car."

2. Repeatedly in the first three chapters of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, it "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29).

a. However, is the church listening to the voice of the Spirit?

b. If we are hearing His voice, are we responding to what He is telling us?

3. There are three things we must keep in mind when listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

a. The request of obedience asks us "do we hear what the Spirit is saying?"

b. The response of obedience asks us "are we doing what the Spirit tells us to do?"

c. The result of obedience tells us "if we obey the Spirit’s voice we will experience success."

Proposition: If we are obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit we will see great revival!

Transition: First, let us look at...

I. The Request of Obedience (9-16)

A. Rise, Peter; Kill and Eat

1. Read Acts 10:9-16

2. Peter was in Joppa staying at the house of Simon the Tanner, and about the "sixth hour," which is dinner time, he went up on the roof to pray.

a. The flat roofs of Palestine, approached by an outdoor flight of steps, were common places of prayer in biblical times.

b. It was a good place to pray during the daytime as it was separate from the activity of the house, and the sea breeze and an awning helped cool the place (Fernando, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Acts, 320).

3. Since it was dinner time, Peter became very hungry, and while he waited for the meal to be made, he saw a large sheet being let down from heaven with every kind of animal imagineable.

4. Suddenly a voice tells him "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

a. The voice he heard was the voice of the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit was telling him to do something that was again everything that Peter had been taught.

b. This command would be unacceptable for him as a Jew, as some of the animals were not kosher (Fernando, 320).

5. Therefore, Peter says "No way!"

a. He has never eaten anything unclean and wasn’t about to start now (Bruce, NICNT: The Book of Acts, 206).

b. Keep in mind that Peter is responding the way any good Jew would respond.

6. However, the Holy Spirit says to him and said "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

a. Just like with us, the education of Peter took some repetition, three times in this case.

b. However, the Spirit was revealing to him that the church was headed in a new direction, and if he was going to be obedient he needed to follow.

B. Comfort Zone

1. Illustration: Charles Finney noted this about obedience and sacrifice, “Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God!”

2. What would have happened if Peter had not obeyed the voice of the Spirit that day?

a. The advance of the gospel would have stopped right there.

b. The billions of Gentiles who have claimed the name of Christ since then would have been excluded from the church.

3. In order for revival to take place, the Holy Spirit calls us out of our comfort zones.

a. Whether or not we experience revival depends on our willingness to abandon our comfort zones and listen to the Spirit’s voice.

b. Are we willing to go the extra mile out of our comfort zones in order to be in tune with the Holy Spirit.

4. 1 Sam. 15:22 "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams" (NKJV).

5. God doesn’t care:

a. How much rich you are

b. How smart you are

c. He cares whether or not you are willing to do what He tells you to do.

Transition: Then we see...

II. The Response of Obedience (17-33)

A. Go With Them Doubting Nothing

1. Read Acts 10:17-33

2. The fact that it took Peter a while to figure this out does not mean that he lacked faith.

a. This was something he was not going to be able to figure out with human reason.

b. He was going to have to take a step of faith and trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

3. However, the Holy Spirit had also been working on someone else: Cornelius.

a. At the same time that the Holy Spirit sent a vision to Peter, he also sent one to Cornelius telling him to send for Peter.

b. Now the men that Cornelius sent for Peter were at the door.

4. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter saying "Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them."

a. In spite of his prejudices, Peter was sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to recognize His voice and be open to Him (Horton, Complete Biblical Library: Acts, 239).

b. Peter was to go with them without reservation because they would take him to see the real meaning behind his vision.

5. Peter did what he was told by the Spirit, and greeted the men sent by Cornelius.

a. They told him about Cornelius’s vision.

b. So he invited them to stay the night, and the next day he went with them to see Cornelius.

B. Obeying the Call

1. Illustration: William Booth tied faith and works together perfectly when He said “Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.”

2. James 2:17-18 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

3. If we are going to be people of the Spirit then we have to be willing to step out follow where he calls us to go.

4. We have to be willing to follow:

a. In spite of our prejudices

b. In spite of our circumstances

c. In spite of our traditions

d. In spite of our obstacles

5. If He tells us:

a. Go, we need to say where

b. Jump, we need to ask how high

c. Run, we need to ask how far

Transition: Because of this, we see...

III. The Result of Obedience (44-48)

A. The Holy Spirit Fell

1. Read Acts 10:44-48

2. As a result of Peter’s obedience, the Holy Spirit fell.

3. Luke tells us that "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word."

a. The word used here for the Holy Spirit falling on them is the same word that is used in Acts 8:16, when the Holy Spirit fell on the Samaritans.

b. Therefore, the falling of the Holy Spirit clearly of the Pentecostal experience of receiving the Holy Spirit in a mighty baptism of power (Horton, 255).

4. Notice what it says in verse 46, "For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."

a. It was the proof for them that they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

b. It was the proof that God had done something miraculous.

5. This is all because Peter answered the call!

B. Moving With the Flow

1. Illustration: As a senor citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s some nut going the wrong way on 280. Please be careful!” Herman replied, “It’s not just one car. It’s hundreds of them!”

2. If we are going against the flow of the Holy Spirit we are going to run into trouble.

a. We are going to think that everyone else is crazy, but in reality if we are going against the Holy Spirit we are the one that is crazy.

b. It could even lead us into a head on collision with disaster.

3. However, if we are flowing with the Holy Spirit we are going to experience a move of the Spirit like we have never seen before.

4. If we are moving with the Spirit we are going to see the power of God manifested beyond our wildest dreams.


1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone?

2. What is He telling you to do? Are you willing to step out in faith?

3. What will the result be? What are you willing to do to see a move of God?

4. What is the Spirit saying to the church?