The Church

What happens when you meet Jesus? The Church

Acts 11:1-18                          April 28, 2013

What happens when you meet Jesus?  You change.  You want to speak about Jesus.  You stretch.  You realize that your decision to follow Jesus affects you, and everyone around you.  You become a disciple of Jesus.  You want to do the things that Jesus has done.

 

This all sounds good.  However, there are times that we meet Jesus, get in a rut, and we think people have to be like us in order for them to be a disciple of Jesus.  We go even so far as to say, “We have never done that before.”  Or even worse, we say, “We are not going to do it that way.”

 

When we meet Jesus, the church accepts the people God accepts!  We realize that we don’t hold the deed to God’s grace and His Holy Spirit!  When you are part of a church that meets Jesus bringing people into his kingdom, then you realize that God has a lot more in store for the church!

 

  1. The story of Cornelius (Acts10:1-29)
    1. Peter was at Simon the Tanner’s house (9:43)
      1. Tanners were unclean (dead things)
      2. Peter became unclean by staying with him!
  2. Cornelius is a Roman Centurion in the Italian Cohort
    1. He feared God
    2. Gave alms generously
    3. Prayed constantly
    4. In a vision, heard that he needed Peter
    5. Cornelius was in Caesarea
  3. Peter fell into a trance
    1. Same time Cornelius’ men were on their way
    2. Sheet with unclean animals
    3. God says: “Eat”
    4. “What God has made clean, you must not call profane” (10:15) – happened 3x
  4. Cornelius’ men bring Peter to Cornelius
  5. God worked the timing out so that the end of Peter’s trance he would go with Cornelius’ men.  Peter knew that God was up to something.  He realizes that God is going to make Cornelius clean!

 

  1. The Holy Spirit is given to the Gentiles (10:30-48)
    1. Cornelius tells his side of the event
    2. “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone that fears him & does what is right is acceptable to God”
    3. Peter tells what Jesus did on the cross & after the cross
    4. “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
    5. Cornelius’ household must have been believing, the Holy Spirit comes upon them!
    6. Peter asks: “Can anyone withhold the water of baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit as we have?”
    7. God was working things out for the Gentiles.  Aren’t we glad he did! Most likely the reason that Peter stayed with Cornelius’ household was so that he could instruct them more about following Jesus.  News about the Gentiles accepting the word of God spreads to Jerusalem.

 

  1. The church in Jerusalem reacts (11:1-18)
    1. “Why did you go to uncircumcised men & eat with them?” – Jews who believed in Jesus
    2. Peter retells the story
      1. Don’t make a distinction between them & us (11:12)
      2. Remembered Jesus’ word – baptized with the Holy Spirit
      3. If they have been given the same gift as we, then how can I hinder God? (11:17)
      4. Silence!
      5. Repentance that leads to life is given to Gentiles
  2. True repentance is a change from spiritual death to spiritual life, and leads to life everlasting.[1] – From John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible
  3. We learn that even though other people may not be like us, God can give them his Holy Spirit.  God does not want any to perish away from him.  So, the Holy Spirit comes to those all who begin to believe in Jesus Christ.  With all of God working in people’s lives, we surely cannot oppose this work. 

 

There are times as we follow Jesus that we think people have to be like us in order for them to be a disciple of Jesus.  We go even so far as to say, “We have never done that before.”  Or even worse, we say, “We are not going to do it that way.” 

 

When the Holy Spirit is working in people’s lives, then the “never” gets done.  When the Holy Spirit is working in people’s lives, then we accept that we will do it that way.  When the Holy Spirit is working in people’s lives, then the church gets going and gets to growing.

 

When we meet Jesus, the church accepts the people God accepts!  We realize that we don’t hold the deed to God’s grace and His Holy Spirit!  When you are part of a church that meets Jesus bringing people into his kingdom, then you realize that God has a lot more in store for the church!

 

Is it time that you repented of saying, “We have never done that before,” or “We are not going to do it that way”?  When God is giving his Holy Spirit to people, we cannot oppose God.

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