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  • Writer's pictureFirst Pres Bakerstown

The Gospel has No Limits by Pastor Jeremy Collins

In Acts 9, we witness Saul's conversion from a teacher, defender and protector of Judaism to a full-on committed believer, preacher, and follower of Jesus. Saul had an intense encounter with Jesus' grace, mercy and authority, which compelled him to preach Jesus to his fellow Jews! 

In Acts 10, we witness yet another conversion, though it is different. In Acts 10:9-30, God supernaturally arranged a meeting between Peter and a God-fearing Roman Centurion named Cornelius. Through this meeting, God converted Peter's ministry from being "Jews Only" to being "to Jews and Gentiles."

Peter's obedience to the Lord put him under criticism from devout Jews and Christians. You see, Peter violated Jewish law by entering the home of a Gentile and eating foods that Jewish Law declared to be unclean. Peter did this under the Lord's direction and authority. Godly men and women seek the favor of God, not the favor of other people.

In this story, we see the fulfillment of Jesus' desires revealed in the first chapter of Acts: 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8, NIV)

When Peter went to Cornelius's home, which was full of his family and friends, Peter became a witness to people who represented those from "the ends of the earth," meaning Gentiles. Peter presented the gospel to these God-fearing Gentiles; they received Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, and Peter baptized them. We know from other scriptures that early Christian converts from Judaism and the Pharisees criticized Peter for his ministry to Gentiles. They accused him of violating Jewish cleanliness laws, and ultimately, they thought that the Messiah was only for Israel. They also accused him of neglecting God's law about requiring Gentiles to be circumcised, just as Jews were circumcised. 

What are our takeaways? 

  1. Remember that God's thoughts are not ours, and his ways are not ours.  

  2. On matters important to God, he reveals his thoughts and ways. 

  3. Jesus, being God, said that his followers would be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.  

  4. Therefore, the good news of Jesus is to be shared with all people without judgment about their worthiness. Dividing walls of hostility, such as nationality, ethnicity, race, political affiliation, religion, gender, or other identities, must not cause us to withdraw from people who need Jesus. We don’t judge who will or will not respond to the gospel.

We also have some tactical things to learn from Peter.  

  1. Peter's approach to ministry was tender, highly relational, and "other-focused." Peter remained focused not on the differences between himself and the people in Cornelius' home but on their need for Jesus.

  2. Ministry naturally happens when we break bread with people. And who shows up when bread is broken? Jesus!

Pray:  Pray for the vitality of your faith, our life together at FPCB, our love for the gospel, and opportunities to break bread with people who need Jesus! And on this last point, if you have an idea, contact Pastor Paul!

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