Acts 11

Acts 11 has Peter going before the church in Jerusalem where he got a grilling about why he took the gospel to the gentiles. “Peter began and explained it to them in order:

  • I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision
  • three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea
  • Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household
  • I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them”

Peter just gave them the facts in the order they happened.  God showed up to him.  Then to Cornelius, and God gave him the message of salvation which was received by the large crowd gathered there.  Then the Holy Spirit came upon them.

He didn’t make a big deal out of it – just shared the facts. “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God”.  Their first response was to be in amazement – this was not exactly what they expected to hear.  But as they processed what God had done they realized it wasn’t Peter’s doing, but God at work through him, and they then went from questioning and challenging Peter’s actions to glorifying God for what He had done.  God has opened the doors of the gospel to all people in all nations.  It was a big surprise to many, but once they heard the story they embraced it.

The same thing was happening in other places the disciples had scattered after Stephen’s stoning.  They went to places all over the area and as they shared the Good News, people received it and believed.  The church heard about this too and sent “Barnabas to Antioch. 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”.  Same kind of response Peter had when he witnessed God’s power in the lives of those in Caesarea.  God was at work and it was obvious salvation was not only for the Jews.

A great many people were added to the Lord. The gospel was reaching people far and wide.  Barnabas was in Antioch and witnessed many come to the Lord. “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians”.  That’s where the name changed from “The Way” to Christians.  God used His scattered followers of Christ to share their faith and the message of salvation through Jesus.  It was gladly received and people came to follow Jesus in large numbers.  It happened because the disciples shared the story.  That same message will work today – it hasn’t changed – the question is whether or not we’re telling it.  Unfortunately the ‘cat has our tongue’ when it comes to sharing the gospel to those in our patch.

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