We've Never Done It This Way Before: 7 Last Words of a Dying Church
Sept. 4, 2005
INTRODUCTION: Acts 11 describes how the church in Jerusalem related to "the saints below," the Gentiles in Caesarea and Antioch who had trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Having fellowship with the Gentiles was a new experience for these Jewish Christians, who all their lives had looked upon the Gentiles as pagans, strangers, and outsiders. Tradition said that a Gentile had to "become a Jew" in order to be accepted; but now Jews and Gentiles were united in the church through faith in Jesus Christ.
Poem says it best:
"To live above, with saints we love,
Will certainly be glory.
To live below, with saints we know,
Well, that's another story!"
The news that the hated Gentiles were included in the church reached Jerusalem before Peter did, since he remained in Caesarea for a few days. That news sent shock waves through out the Hebrew Christian community.
I. THE GLORIFYING OF GOD IN THE CHURCH.
A. SOURCE OF CONTENTION. 2-3
Acknowledging that Jesus was their Messiah and Lord was one thing, accepting that He was equally the Lord of Gentiles another.
Acts 15:5, "But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, 'It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.'"
Legalism with its best face
B. SPIRIT IN EXPLANATION. 4-18
Instead of entering into a heated rebuke of their prejudice:
Proverbs 15:1-2, "A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
1. PETER'S TESTIMONY. 4-10 VISION
"Vision" – 3 times; couldn't see it; wouldn't see it; now I can see it clearly
Acts 10:14, "But Peter said, 'Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.'"
2. THREE MEN. 11 VISITORS
3. HOLY SPIRIT. ...
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