Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? ~Acts 11:17
One of the most remarkable chapters in the Bible is Acts 10-11, when God sent Peter to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. This was a major paradigm shift in the expansion of the gospel. Until that time, the gospel was mainly being preached to a Jewish audience. With the gospel being preached to the Gentiles, it opened the door for it to be preached to every nation in the world. It is important for us to note Peter’s obedience to God every step of the way. Peter teaches us a critical lesson on not being a roadblock to the work of the gospel and the Holy Spirit. He teaches us that it is not acceptable for personal, gender, or racial biases to get in the way of the gospel expansion.
We see the grievance.
Gentiles were despised by Jews. Fellowshipping and eating with a Gentile made a Jew ceremonially unclean. Gentiles were placed on the same level as dogs. God is grieved when there is discrimination in our hearts against people of different races, languages, and ethnicities. God is grieved when we do not see the opportunities of reaching all people with the gospel. When the Jews received the report that Peter had gone to Cornelius’ house, their reaction was with bias and contention. I think they were ready to excommunicate Peter from their fellowship. Let us remember that “God so loved the world”: the world means all nations, peoples, and languages.
We see the grace.
“God gave them the like gift as he did unto us.” The grace of God is God’s unmerited love for everyone. His grace has broken down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles. His grace reconciled “both unto God in one body by the cross.” By His grace, there are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. Peter saw God’s grace revealed when he saw the gathering at Cornelius’ house. Peter saw God’s grace received when the Gentiles were saved and received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God’s grace is always giving. “He giveth more grace“!
We see the gateway.
Peter was the gateway for the gospel expansion to the Gentiles. “What was I, that I could withstand God?” What if he allowed his Jewish biases to get in the way and roadblock the work of God? Roadblocks tell others “no entrance allowed.” Unfortunately, many of us let our past, preferences, and prejudices become a roadblock to the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter discerned out of a heart of love that he needed to be God’s conduit so that the door of faith could be extended to the Gentiles. God gave him a thrice-repeated dream to move him from the place of cultural rejection to the place of cultural acceptance. We must be like the servant of Abraham and say, “I being in the way, the LORD led me.”
We see the glory.
When the Jews heard the compelling testimony of Peter, there was unrestrained acceptance and rejoicing. They held their peace and glorified God. When God gets the glory, there is unity. When God gets the glory, our vision is enlarged. When God gets the glory, new avenues and doors are open. When roadblocks are removed, God’s will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. Let us stand with God and not against God!
Have an “open door” God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezra 1-3