Monday, September 05, 2005

Crossing Borders -- Acts 10:1-48


I realize that once again this is a rather large portion of Scripture with many areas for discussion, but I think to deal with it only in smaller parts causes one to miss the power of the events as they unfold.

Overall, we have the picture of the gospel truly crossing the borders, not just of geography and culture, but of nations and belief systems. After this point, the whole wide world is open before those who would seek to take the gospel forward.

There are lots of items for possible discussion from this passage, and I would love to hear what "grabs" you as you ponder these events in church growth.

To get the ball rolling, one of the first things to "grab" me is how sometimes those who are outside the circle of faith, or at least outside the walls of the "established church," are quicker to believe, to take God at His word, than those within the "walls."

Cornelius didn't question the angel's message, but Peter did. Three times the Lord had to lay the blanket of "unlcean animals" before him before Peter got the idea. I assume that Peter might have seen this as a "test" of his "righteousness," but nonetheless he was slow on the uptake, whereas Cornelius was quick to respond.

I have seen this to be true today as well. Those "new" to the faith are often quicker to take God at His word, and to move forward in obedience, than those who have been around for awhile. Sadly, there have been times that I have quenched a person's fire by telling them that "something will just not work." I need to have that quick, awe-inspired, obedience that Cornelius had.

Holy Spirit, keep working on and in me.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What comes to my mind about dear old Peter is that God seemed to have to speak to him in "3's" a lot. On at least two other occassions I can think of....the cock crowed 3 times before Peter became repentant after his denial of Jesus at His crucifixtion "pre-trial"....later on Jesus had to ask him 3 times "do you love me ?...feed my sheep...Peter isn't easily "convinced" it seems...or maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt and say "cautious". This seems to conflict with other accounts of Peter when he was like " a bull in a china shop"...cutting off the soldier's ear in the garden arrest of Jesus, rushing into the tomb after the resurrection...he was a complex personality...but then aren't we ALL? Cornelius was a "doer" and "commander"...a man of action as the King James said he was a Captain in the Italian regiment.As a soldier he had been use to "taking orders" and obeying.His personality was one of "obedience". This portion of scripture says that he was "devout" and God fearing as were ALL of his family. Was Cornelius the centurion at the cross who believed and said "truly this was the son of God?" If not, perhaps he was one of the soldiers there and later on believed? It seems to me that since ALL of his family were also believers that he had been a believer for some time...lived the life as an example. I guess what it boils down to is that whether we are stubborn (or cautious) or people of "action"...we need to respond to the voice of God in our lives with obedience. Deciphering the voice of God is the tricky part....as there are so many "voices" out there! I guess I would rather be one that has to listen to God's voice 3 times and be SURE...than respond too quickly and be following the wrong voice. HAppy "listening",Ruthie

Pastor Randy said...

Ruthie,

Well said. Your reminder is important. We need to be obedient and at the same time discerning. Not always an easy task, but no one said it was going to be easy.

I also appreicate in this passage that the Lord does not berate Peter for his "slowness," He just keeps bringing the message to him until he "gets it." It was truly quite a paradigm shift for Peter. This aspect brings me hope as well.

I thought your pointing oput how many other times the Lord dealt 3x's with Peter was a good insight. As they say, "that preaches!" Keep preaching.

Randy

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more either Ruthie. It is better to let the Lord repeat it 3 times and know the message comes from him than it is to follow the wrong voice.

Especially since there are so many voices out there (and I speak in a very unflattering way specifically about some past Christian T.V. programming for I know only too well what it was like to listen to the wrong voices).

It is also way too easy to follow the flesh if we react too quickly to something we think God is impressing upon our hearts and end up following wishful thinking instead of God too.

God knows our hearts and if we have an obedient heart, he will find a way to reassure us that the message is from him just like he did cautious Peter.

Even if we are actually pouting a little like Noah knowing full well that it was God who spoke to us, he can always arrange for a trip in the belly of a whale so surely he can get our attention and get the message through to us if he knows we have an obedient heart.

gentledove

Anonymous said...

Noah might REALLY be pouting if you saddle him with Jonah's problems Ha! Ruthie

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Should have said Jonah. Didn't even realize you knew I was here, Ruthie. I'll have to goof more often.

Anonymous said...

I know you are there,Gentledove...I enjoy your comments. You have a real writing talent...wish you would reveal who you are. Blessings! Ruthie

Anonymous said...

My writing is very "accessible" or easy to understand. No one ever has to wonder what I am trying to say which has it's good points and bad points. I'm never going to impress anyone with my superior intellect, but God uses the weak and foolish so it's okay.

I enjoy your comments very much too. You have a lot of wisdom to share.

Can't tell you who I am though. In fact, I can't even tell you why I can't tell you. But it doesn't matter. We are all really just earthen vessels.

gentledove

Anonymous said...

Gentledove, ooooh---very "cloak and dagger"!! Now I'm REALLY curious! Do you attend FBC ? Regardless, I enjoy your responses. God bless,Ruthie