Sun, Feb 12, 2023
Teacher: Yale Wall Series: The Acts of the Apostles Scripture: Acts 11:1-30
UNITY IN THE GLOBAL CHURCH
There are 2 key players here in this section:
- One of Jesus’ disciples
- The key leader in the church
- The one who God reveled the plan for the Gentiles to
The “Circumcision Party”
- These are Jews who have given their lives to Jesus, and have defaulted to sticking with many if not all of their Jewish customs, as a means for following Jesus.
- They are telling people that if they want to be a Christian, the men need to get circumcised before they can.
Later, Paul even gets so fed up with them, that he tells them:
Galatians 5:12 (NIV)
12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.
11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?”
There will always be a mixture of knowing the Bible and fighting for good theology, and letting God move how He wants to and when He wants to.
So, the circumcision group was standing on scripture to the best of their understanding, but the best of their understanding was flawed… They couldn’t see the whole picture!
In the Western church today, we spend WAY TOO MUCH time tearing down other believers that we think are wrong and falling right into worldly stuff that looks nothing like Jesus. I am NOT AT ALL pushing for having a weak theological standing. I’m actually saying the exact opposite. We need to be humble enough to realize that we are not God’s gift to theology, and ALWAYS be learning what God may be saying through scripture.
When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
When we get out of our comfort zones, and let God do whatever he wants to do,
he creates unity in the Global Church
in a way we didn’t have before.
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