Acts 11

Acts 11

Peter Reports to the Church

11 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” But 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, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 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. 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; he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 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?” 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 Church in Antioch

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. 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. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they 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, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 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.

Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 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). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.


Acts 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Unfortunately, the attitude that Peter experiences here in Acts 11 is all too common in our church culture today. People these days want to know, what is your background, what church did you grow up in, what’s your theology, or what’s your stance on such-and-such. I don’t believe these are unimportant issues, but the point is, they are not the most important issue. When it really comes down to it, the most important thing is Jesus.

Peter knows this. He’s just been with Gentiles who proclaimed Christ as their Savior. In addition, these Gentiles also received the Holy Spirit. He saw it with his own eyes! When he returns, all his Jewish buddies want to know why he was hanging around with the wrong crowd. Fast-forward thousands of years and we have the same thing happening today.

I realize there’s a lot of grey area when it comes to this subject, but it burns me when I hear of a person who was trying to come to church and was told, “Sorry, we don’t accept people like you.” The beauty of Jesus Christ is that he didn’t give one rip what gender, race, religion, or social status a person had. He came to save the lost, plain and simple. And in order to save the lost, He willingly demonstrated his love for them.

The simplicity of this act boils down to this; when we try and control, or manipulate, or judge who we think should be or has been saved, we are not representing the Christ who died for humanity. Peter didn’t quite understand why these Gentiles were receiving the Spirit. He maybe was even a little concerned or caught off guard. But he knew one thing; he was to go and make disciples of all nations. ALL nations.

We as the church need to get off our high horse when it comes to showing Christ to others. We have to understand that in order to be like Jesus, they first need to experience Jesus. And when you read through the Gospels, we see a man who was counter-cultural in the way he distributed grace to those who would not have gotten a second look from most people.

Their past, their theology, their opinion on hot topics; all of those will all be fine once they know Jesus Christ. So let’s do our job, and show them Jesus instead of trying to determine their worth. Peter shows us that the least likely of all people in our minds may be the very ones God is going to reach next for his kingdom!

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