Men's Ministry Banquet
March 17, 2018 • Zeke Pipher
Ready for the Big Expansion May 26
Acts 11:1-18 • May 26, 2019 • Mark Balmer
Open to Correction
May 23, 2019 • Samantha Wichman
Lately we have been digging into Scripture’s account of Peter’s vision and learning about God’s desire to bring the Gentile population back into relationship with Him. This week’s passage is Acts 11:1-18, and in it we read about Peter defending these very events to some Jewish believers in Jerusalem. When Peter goes to Jerusalem to meet with the Jewish believers there, they criticize him for having interacted with the Gentiles. Acts 11:2-3 says: “So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, ‘You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.’” Peter responds to their criticism by explaining what happened and why he acted as he did. He tells them about his vision, how the Spirit led him, and how he witnessed the Spirit fall on the Gentile believers. He ends his explanation by saying: “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?” Scripture tells us that the once-defensive Jewish believers fell silent during Peter’s explanation, and respond to his story by glorifying God and accepting the Gentile believers. Acts 11:18 says: “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.’” The Jewish believers’ response to Peter’s explanation is so simple, and yet so profound! Scripture doesn’t say that they asked more questions or continued criticizing Peter, but rather that they listened and then glorified God! The believers could not have had such a response unless they were truly open to the Holy Spirit’s work, and specifically to being corrected by the Holy Spirit. We’ve talked about racism a lot in the past few weeks, and this passage reiterates that same message: are we willing to accept all of God’s children? In an even broader way, this passage targets all beliefs to which we hold tightly. We need to ask ourselves: are we really open to the Holy Spirit moving us to change our minds? Or, are there some ideas that we’re just not willing to budge on? One red flag we can look to as a guidepost in this journey is that of limited fellowship with other believers. Are there certain groups of people that you avoid or silently look down on? If you find yourself doubting the faith of other believers because they identify as Republicans or Democrats, wear a certain style of clothing, talk a certain way, live in a certain neighborhood, or are involved in a certain activity, then there’s a good chance that belief ought to change. The Jewish and Gentile communities had very different cultural habits. Their ways of life often directly opposed one another! But when the Jewish community in Acts 11 was presented with an account of the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of these Gentiles, they immediately corrected themselves and accepted their new brothers and sisters. Are we open to the Holy Spirit doing this same work in us?