Summary: This sermon is to show us how it is in the Lord’s plan, to spread the gospel of Christ to all of mankind.
THE EXPANSION VISION OF GOD
There is a poem entitled “A Prayer For the Future” quoted by Sir Frances Drake, it said and I quote,
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. - Bible.org
This poem quoted by Sir Frances Drake from a missionary prayer letter of Jeannie Curryer. Although the reason for writing it was not given, but the idea in the poem is clear in what Ms. Curryer was trying to say. It is warning us against futuristic complacencies that can get in the way of us being courageous and having hope. It start with disturb us, Lord...
In our lesson today we will hear about God’s vision for expansion. Now although we give Peter credit for the vision and rightfully so, we must understand that technically this vision is influenced by the Lord. The reason I say that technically it is the Lord’s vision is because Peter had been a devout Jew all of his life and being a Jew he had certain prejudice that was supported by the Law of Moses against the Gentiles. Now although Peter was a disciple of Jesus Christ, he still had some basic Jewish ways about himself. In other words, you can take the man out of the law, but you cannot take the law out of the man. But thanks be to God for The Lord’s vision, and in Ephesians 2:14 the Apostle Paul is found saying, “For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Paul is letting us know that the Lord is able to break down our prejudices for the sake of the gospel.
Our text opens up with Cornelius sending three of his men to Joppa in search for Peter. And as they drew near the city, Peter is led to a rooftop for pray, after all it was the sixth hour. Verse 10 says that Peter became very hungry and as they made ready, he fell into a trance. Now this when the Lord started sharing with Peter His vision to expand the boundaries of the gospel to the land of the Gentiles.
So, let take a look at this lesson.
First of all...
1. PETER HAD TO BE PREPARED FOR THE MISSION (Vv. 9,10)
“On the next day, as they went on their journey, and drew near the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour. 10. And he became very hungry, and would have eaten, but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,”
As we see in the text Peter is now on the rooftop praying at the sixth hour. As he was praying he became hungry, and while waiting on his meal, fell into a trance. Now I need you to understand that Peter was not just day dreaming, the text said that he fell into a trance. In fact he was captured by what he saw. I think I need to make known the difference in a trance and daydreaming. Day dreaming usually consist of pleasant thoughts and relaxing oasis. Trances are usually intense and mesmerizing. It was in this trance that the Lord had to have Peter’s undivided attention concerning the direction He was about to take him. So, He simply put him into a trance. Let us understand that the trance came in three parts. The first is he saw the heavens opening up and a certain vessel descending unto him like a great sheet coming down towards the earth, secondly, he saw all the four-footed animals on the earth which included the wild beast, creeping things and the fowls of the air, which many of them were not allowed by the Mosaic Law to eat. Finally he heard a voice saying, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.
In Scofield’s notes it said that although this vision is admittedly symbolic, Peter’s experience recorded here was a definite revelation to him that God had made a major change in His dealings with mankind. So in this vision Peter is getting a personal look at God’s expansion plan.