Evangelism

This devotional is written by Maddie Bowe.Maddie is one of our worship leader's at St Mary's and a singer/songwriter. She can usually be found with her nose stuck in a book, or singing Disney songs at the top of her lungs.. or both so she feels like she may actually be Belle in real life.

Acts 10:23-48

23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

Peter at Cornelius's House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."

27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"

30 Cornelius answered: "Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.' 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."

34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 "Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Reflection

Peter is in the process of turning the white sheet revelation over in his mind, when he is interrupted by Cornelius' messengers. It is then in this section we see the revelation sink in and become action. Acts. We're in amongst a whole book on the acts of the Spirit through the acts of God's people. We can't just be hearers of the words, we must be doers also (James 1:22).

Peter, a Jew, enters the house of a Gentile. This is strictly prohibited by Jewish custom and tradition, but by entering; Peter puts the now understood revelation into action. God had prepared his heart for what he needed to do, and very quickly he is entering the home. Not only that but he then teaches what he has just learned to a household of people that would ordinarily be outcast. By verse 28 he has shown by his actions and his words that he gets it. "God has shown and taught me by words that I should not call any human being common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean." (AMP)

What follows is the spirit doing what the spirit does best: blatting everyone present.

So how was this made possible? How did a room full of Gentiles get blatted by the spirit via a Jew..?

God reveals His truth to Peter
Peter is open to revelation and meditates on this truth
God provides an opportunity for Peter to act on that truth
Peter acts in obedience to the truth that has been revealed to Him
An environment is created that welcomes the presence of the Spirit

How much more would we see the spirit move if we parked some judgement? Are there circumstances you value more than God does? Differences you place more importance on than God does?

This passage is of significant importance to me as an openly gay member of the church. I've been a worship leader and ministry team member for years. If God can blat me and use me, then trust me when I say He can blat and use anyone. I believe this is significant the other way round also. I will enter the house of someone who is completely against homosexuality, I will pray for them and fellowship with them. Why? Because I care about unity and the power of the Spirit first and foremost. I believe this is the significance of this passage and consider it a model for how to do church and then take church beyond the walls.

Who have you written off? God hasn't.
Who do you avoid for the sake of yourself, your views, or tradition? God doesn't.
Whose salvation do you place conditions on? God doesn't.

Pray:
Jesus, help me to always be open to your truth. Give me opportunities to act upon the things you show me, and lead me to welcome the spirit everywhere I go without limitation. Amen.

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