Summary: Peter is confronted about spreading the gospel to gentiles.
Acts 11:1 – 11:30
Jeff Hughes – August 3, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. The gospel had come to the house of Cornelius there in Caesarea. We saw last week, where he and his entire family, and some of his friends came into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
b. Peter hung around a little while there in Caesarea, and taught the folks there, so that they would know at least some about that faith that they now shared.
c. There were some people in Jerusalem who weren’t real impressed with gentiles coming to a saving faith. They had made the assumption that the Jews were God’s chosen people before, and that as Christians, they were a smaller group that truly were chosen.
d. Well, they had it half right. This often seems to be the case with us as human beings. We get things half right. Paul would later explain this to us in 1st Corinthians that we look through the glass dimly, but that there is coming a time when we will see Jesus face to face.
e. The part that they had right was that they were chosen. God chose each and every one of us from the foundations of the world, that we might receive the gift of salvation through a relationship with His son, Jesus Christ.
f. The part that they had wrong was one of arithmetic. That’s right, arithmetic. Their math was all wrong, and I’ll explain why. God didn’t want His chosen folks, his church, to be subtracted from an already narrow group of Jews.
g. God wanted to multiply the gospel throughout people of every language, every nation, every skin color, and every culture. The gospel transcended these barriers then, just like it still does today.
h. We are going to take a look at the spread of the gospel in the first century, as we continue through the book of Acts today. But first, let’s have a word of prayer.
a. When the 1960s ended, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district reverted to high rent, and many hippies moved down the coast to Santa Cruz. They had children and got married, too, though in no particular sequence. But they didn’t name their children Melissa or Brett. People in the mountains around Santa Cruz grew accustomed to their children playing Frisbee with little Time Warp or Spring Fever. And eventually Moonbeam, Earth, Love and Precious Promise all ended up in public school. That’s when the kindergarten teachers first met Fruit Stand.
b. Every fall, according to tradition, parents bravely apply name tags to their children, kiss them good-bye and send them off to school on the bus. So it was for Fruit Stand. The teachers thought the boy’s name was odd, but they tried to make the best of it.
c. “Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand?” they offered. And later, “Fruit Stand, how about a snack?” He accepted hesitantly. By the end of the day, his name didn’t seem much odder than Heather’s or Sun Ray’s. At dismissal time, the teachers led the children out to the buses. “Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?”
d. He didn’t answer. That wasn’t strange. He hadn’t answered them all day. Lots of children are shy on the first day of school. It didn’t matter. The teachers had instructed the parents to write the names of their children’s bus stops on the reverse side of their name tags. The teacher simply turned over the tag. There, neatly printed, was the word “Anthony.”
e. In our study this morning, we are going to look at a group of people that made a bad assumption. They assumed that because the Jews were God’s chosen people, that they were the only ones that could be saved through a relationship with Jesus.
f. Someone had to set them straight. That someone was Peter. Our study comes from Acts, chapter 11, and we are going to look at the whole chapter this morning.
g. Since we have so much ground to cover this morning, we’re not going to read through the passage in its entirety, but we will read the scriptures as we get to the points that deal with those verses.
i. In the past 7 months, we have seen the church grow and mature, week by week. We saw the birth of the church at Pentecost, the scattering of the church under persecution. We saw the main persecutor of the church, Saul, converted on the road to Damascus.
ii. We saw God opening the doors wider and wider to the church, as we see Samaritans getting saved through the work of Philip. We see Peter going to Lydda and Joppa, spreading the good news.