12 Noon Bible Study

Wednesday's At 12:00 pm

(Click the link below to join)

https://www.periscope.tv/PastorStockdale

 

The Church Scattered: GOD’s Sovereignty Over The Church

“God’s Pattern for All Churches”

Acts – The New Testament History Book

 

Acts 11:19-30 NKJV

Barnabas and Saul at Antioch

19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

Relief to Judea

27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 

Introduction

We live in a day when many evangelical churches seek to build their attendance through gimmicks and entertainment. Years ago, when this trend toward church growth was beginning to take hold, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones told a group at Westminster Chapel in London, where he was pastor, that he knew a way to insure that every seat would be filled the following Sunday. To understand this story, you need to know that Dr. Lloyd-Jones was a very proper Welshman who always wore a suit. In his biography, there is a picture of him at the beach with his little daughter, and he is wearing a suit as he sits on the sand! I think he was born wearing a suit! 

Anyway, the people in his church said, “Tell us, tell us,” and “Let’s do it!” “It’s very simple,” he said. “Put a notice in the Saturday edition of The [London] Times that I shall appear in the pulpit the next day wearing a bathing suit!” After a shocked silence on the part of the group, Dr. Lloyd-Jones went on to talk about the biblical basis for proper worship, as opposed to the approach of using entertainment to entice people to attend church (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, by Iain Murray [Banner of Truth], 2:112)

Pastor’s today flock to seminars that tell them how to market the church in today’s world. They learn how to make the church user-friendly for outsiders. They are taught how to shorten the sermon and make it non-threatening to the unchurched, while using drama and multi-media to get the message across. And, the methods “work”! Some of the largest evangelical churches in America use these methods and teach them to thousands of pastors who see dramatic results.

In our text, we see an example of impressive church growth. From a small group of persecuted refugees, the church in Antioch saw large numbers of people come to Christ. In fact, three times Luke underscores the large numbers (11:21, 24, 26). But the reason this church experienced such remarkable growth was not that the leaders employed the latest church growth principles. They didn’t study the demographics of Antioch and come up with a strategy to market the church to the masses. Rather, the reason for the growth was simple: “The hand of the Lord was with them” (11:21). This was a church that God was blessing. That should be our aim; that the hand of the Lord would be with us. 

The passage of scripture covers the founding of the first great Gentile Church.  The Church was founded under God’s sovereignty, control, and will.  The church is set forth very simply, yet it provides a dynamic pattern for all churches and believers to copy. 

Lesson Outline

  1. The Church was born (v.19-21)
  2. The church was taught (v.22-24)
  3. The intensive training of the church (v.25 -26)
  4. The church developed an unbelievable heritage (v.26)
  5. The beginning ministry of the church (v.27-30)

 

The Church was born (v.19-21) 

This passage tells what happen to the believers who were forced to flee Jerusalem after the death of Stephen.  Saul had launched a terrible persecution against them, attempting to stamp out the name of Christ (Acts 8:1-4: 9:1-9).  They scattered all over…

  • Phoenicia, which included the important cities of Tyre and Sidon
  • Cyprus (Acts 13:4)
  • Antioch (Acts 11:19-30) 

However as the believers scattered, they preached Christ.  The picture is that there was not an area left untouched by the gospel. Wherever the believers went, they shared Christ. 

The focus of this particular scripture is upon Antioch, the great church that was founded there.  Note what it was that gave birth to the great church. 

 

There were three essentials.

  1. The church was born through lay believers, through their witnessing (v.19) and preaching (v.20)
    1. Churches who are full of folk scared to tell somebody about Jesus will never grow!
    2. Non-believers are drawn to a relationship with Christ through the witness and testimonies of believers!
  2. The church was born by lay believers sharing Christ with everyone, no matter who they were, both Gentile and Jew.
    1. Note that some believers witnessed to the Jews only (v.19),
    2. But other believers witnessed to the Gentiles in Antioch (v.20).

The gospel of Christ is for the whole world.  It may have begun with the Jew, but God is the God of the universe, of all men.  Therefore, He longs for all men to know about the coming of His Son into the world and to be saved through Him. 

 

Note also that the message preached was the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

Men and Women are saved through hearing and believing the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ!

If the spreading of the gospel or the functioning of the church depends on the labors of full-time missionaries or pastors, ministry will be severely limited. But if every person who has trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord feels the obligation of serving Him and of telling others the good news about Him, the gospel will spread and the church will be built up. Every Christian should sense his or her responsibility to serve Christ and bear witness of Him.

 

  1. The church was born through the hand of the Lord, by His sovereignty and control. 

To understand our text, you need to know something about Antioch. It was located 300 miles north of Jerusalem and was the third largest city in the Roman Empire, behind Rome and Alexandria, having more than 500,000 residents. It was a center for commerce and a crossroads for travel and trade between Europe and the Orient. This made the city a melting pot of various races, including the Romans, the local Syrians, Jews, and others. 

The city was proverbial for sexual immorality. In fact some five miles outside of town was the grove of Daphne, where worshipers of Artemis and Apollo pursued their religion of pleasure with temple prostitutes.

Antioch was so corrupt that it was said to have impacted Rome, more than 1,300 miles away. (Stanley Toussaint, The Bible Knowledge Commentary [Victor Books], 2:383).

It is significant that when God picked a city that would become the center for missionary endeavor, He picked a cosmopolitan, morally corrupt city like Antioch. In this secular, pagan environment, common Christians began telling the simple gospel message that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, that whoever believes in Him receives eternal life and forgiveness as God’s free gift. The same gospel that is the power of God for salvation to the Jews proved to be the power of God for salvation to these pagan Gentiles as well.

 

God overruled all the trials and opposition and caused the church to be born.

  • God overruled the persecution
  • God overruled the fear and trauma of the believers who were having to flee for their lives, to leave their homes and friends and businesses.
    • Discouragement, questioning, unbelief, desertion, denial, silence, and failure to witness – all could have set in upon the persecuted believers who were losing all they had.
    • But God overruled and held them dear to His heart, giving them a very special grace to endure and march through all situations and circumstances triumphantly, proclaiming the name of the Lord Jesus.
  • God overruled the pleasure – madness and sins of Antioch
  • God overruled and stirred the believers to witness and preach Christ despite all the trials and opposition.
    • God caused the church to be born.
    • His sovereignty, His control, His power – “the hand of the Lord was with them.”

 

The end of verse 20 literally reads, “telling [or preaching] the good news [of] the Lord Jesus.” But in telling the good news, they didn’t dodge the hard matters of sin and repentance, since we read that a large number who believed turned to the Lord. 

This means that these former pagans gave up their idols, their sexual immorality, their lying, and their corrupt business practices when they put their trust in Jesus as Lord. When Barnabas came, he witnessed the grace of God (11:23).

We must understand that although we cannot see God’s grace, we can see the effects of it in a person’s life. And – Barnabas could see that God had changed these people and that they had repented of their wrong doing. 

One remarkable proof that the gospel is from God is that wherever it goes, it has the same powerful effect. The message does not need to be changed when it is taken to a tribe of primitive headhunters. It does not need to be intellectualized when it is taken to a sophisticated university crowd. Whatever their culture or background, people are all sinners who need to know how to be reconciled to God before they face Him in judgment. If we will tell the simple gospel message to the people we come into contact with, God will bless us and take care of the rest.

The result: “a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.”  The first great Gentile church was born, and it was born through God’s sovereignty. 

 

The church was taught (v.22-24)

 

Every growing church needs a good TEACHING MINISTRY! 

Note three significant events that happened.

  1. The mother church heard about the witness of the scattered believers. Remember, both the apostles and the first leaders of the church were still in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was still considered the mother church, the one to whom the scattered churches look for leadership.  The church and its leaders wanted to help the new churches springing up all around.  The purpose is clearly seen in what Barnabas did.  The mother church wanted the new churches…
    • To have ministerial help (v.22)
    • To be exhorted (v.23)
    • To be taught (v.26)
  2. A missionary disciple was commissioned to help the new churches. Again, the focus is upon Antioch. Note a few things about the missionary Barnabas.
    1. His ministry was exhortation (Acts 11:19-30) the message was….
      1. “With purpose of heart”: a determined, set, focused, resolute, steady, purposed heart.
      2. To “cleave unto the Lord”: to continue, be constant, loyal, steadfast, persistent, persevering, faithful.
    2. His character was striking.
      • “Good”: upright, just, moral, honorable, and pleasing to God. He was what he should be inwardly and outwardly.
      • Full of the Holy Spirit: conscious and aware of the spirit’s presence and power, control and discipline, will and purpose, guidance and direction – all the fruit of the Spirit.
      • Full of Faith: believing both in the Lord and in His purpose and power to do whatever He willed and led one to do.

 

Barnabas was a man who lived by God’s grace, and so he saw the grace of God and rejoiced. No doubt he also saw a lot of imperfection in these new converts. New believers do not drop all of their pagan baggage the day they get saved. A church made up of people from such different backgrounds as those in Antioch was bound to have some irritations and conflicts. But rather than focusing on the imperfections and problems, Barnabas focused on God’s grace in saving these people. Instead of slapping a bunch of Jewish rules on them, he rejoiced at what God was doing, and then began to encourage them to remain true to the Lord. 

  1. A tremendous result was experienced. Many were added to the Lord
    1. Churches will reach people when
      1. Believers are witnessing faithfully
      2. Churches are showing interest in the witnessing of believers elsewhere
  • Disciples and ministers are exhorting and demonstrating such godly character

 

The intensive training of the church (v.25 -26) 

The need was sensed and the decision was made to seek help in the training efforts of the church.  But the only question was who should be selected?  A unique person was needed, a person who not only had Jewish background, but a person who knew the Greek language and the Greek culture and could relate to both Gentile and Jew alike.  The person also needed to be fearless and bold in his witness for Christ because of the godless, immoral society of Antioch. 

Barnabas knew such a man: Saul of Tarsus.  Barnabas and Saul met with the church for an entire year and taught considerable numbers (11:26).

Training: The believers met constantly for intensive training.

  1. The purpose for the church meeting together was to be taught about the Lord…
    • His death according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3)
    • His resurrection according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4)
    • His teachings, doctrines, and instructions (Mt. 28:19-20)
  2. “Many people we taught!” The believers hungered to learn the truth.
  3. The church met together constantly for a whole year.

 

The church developed an unbelievable heritage (v.26)

The church developed an unbelievable heritage for itself and for Christ.  Then we read, “and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Probably this was a nickname that the pagans in town gave them. It meant, “Christ-men.” It’s only used in the Bible three times: here; in Acts 26:28, where Agrippa chides Paul for trying to make him a Christian; and, in 1 Peter 4:16, where Peter urges his readers not to be ashamed if they suffer as Christians. 

The believers at Antioch were the first to be called “Christians.”

Note:

  • The name was a nickname given to believers by the unsaved people at Antioch
  • The title was a name for people belonging to Christ, for the followers of Christ.
  • The title is used on two other times in the New Testament (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16)
  • Believers took the name Christian and began applying it to themselves. It was to become the name adopted by the whole world for the followers of Christ.

Every person that calls themselves a Christian should be a true follower of Christ.  How tragic it is that so many are not!

 

The beginning ministry of the church (v.27-30)

The church launched its ministry and worldwide mission.  Prophet came from Jerusalem to help in the ministry efforts of Antioch.  We do not know what led them to come but many scholars speculate that it could have been: an invitation from Antioch, a commission by the Jerusalem Church, or by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

However, we do know that it was God’s will that they came!

  1. There was a prophecy of great need. One of the prophets, Agabus, predicted a worldwide famine.
  • The prophecy was not a deduction, not of the reasoning ability of Agabus. The prophecy was of the Spirit.
  • The famine took place during the reign of Claudius Caesar who ruled between A.D. 41-54
  1. There was a sharing of money and supplies. Everyone sent relief to Jerusalem “according to his ability.”  The point is that the newly formed Antioch Church was now launching its own mission project.  They were now helping the mother church, the church that had helped them. (v.22-24)
  2. There was also the sharing of ministries. The chief ministers Barnabas and Saul were sent to them by the church.  They also delivered offerings to the elders at the Jerusalem Church.  And - Paul would later encourage them to give constantly to the needs of Gods people.

Conclusion 

Antioch is set before us as an example. It was a church founded by simple believers who knew that God has called every Christian to serve Him. They proclaimed the gospel as the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. They operated by God’s grace, not by legalism. They saw grace as the motivation to go on with the Lord. Their leaders set the example and taught them from God’s Word. They were generous givers, trusting God to meet their needs. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.

I want to be a part of a church, like Antioch, where growth clearly comes from the Lord and where, also like Antioch, we become a center for worldwide impact for Jesus Christ. Then the glory won’t go to church growth principles or to any man, but to the Lord of the church, who strongly supports those whose hearts are completely His

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Church Scattered: The First Great Mission To The Gentiles

“Receiving The Holy Spirit”

Acts – The New Testament History Book

 

Acts 10:44-48 NKJV

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

 

Introduction

God and God alone saves the Gentiles, that is, the people of the world.  No man can save another man.  No man has the power to save anyone else; therefore no man has the authority to save.  Salvation – the gift of the new birth and God’s Spirit – is of God and God alone.  This is made abundantly clear in this passage, the passage where the Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit of God.

Lesson Outline

  1. The Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles (v.44-45)
  2. The Gentile believers spoke in tongues and praised God (v.46)
  3. The Gentiles believers were baptized (v.47)
  4. The door to the Gentiles was now opened (v.48)

The Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles (v.44-45)

  1. The Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentles when they heard the Word. Hearing the Word of God was necessary.  It is one of the essentials for receiving the Holy Spirit.  The unsaved Gentiles had to hear the Word before they could receive the Holy Spirit.  The idea is that they heard and believed and received the truth of God’s Word into their hearts without Peter even telling them to believe.

This is made clear in Acts 11:17.  They heard and received the message, hungering and thirsting for the Word of God in their lives.  Therefore, they believed it immediately 

Thought:

Every believer should hunger and thirst for the Word of God and for their salvation that they do not wait for the invitation of the messenger.  Rather they just believe while they are hearing.

Matthew 7:24-25

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

 

Proverbs 15:31

The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.

 

  1. The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles “while Peter was still speaking.” Peter was still preaching: he had not finished his message when the Holy Spirit fell.  God and God alone caused the Holy Spirit to fall upon the Gentile believers, not the hands f Peter…
  • Anointing them
  • Being laid upon them
  • Baptizing them
  • Placing them into the water

No man had anything to do with God pouring His Spirit upon these believers.  The gift of the Spirit was the act of God and God alone.

  1. “The Holy Spirit fell” and was poured out upon the Gentiles. Peter said the Gentiles “received the Holy Spirit as well as we” (v.47).  Note that God gave them the Holy Spirit after they “believed on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 11:17).  Hearing the message (v.44) and “believing on the Lord Jesus Christ” are absolute essentials for receiving the Holy Spirit.
  1. The Jewish believers were astonished and amazed. This refers to six Jewish believers who had come with Peter.  They had been taught from earliest childhood that the Holy Spirit was available only to the Jews.  But before their eyes they witnessed God accepting Gentile believers into the church.  All their life these leaders, Peter included, had been taught and steeped in a bitterness that bordered on hatred for Gentiles.  But now God was pouring His Spirit upon the Gentles.  The Spirit of such, and the gift of tongues, was the sign to these leaders that Gentiles were to be as much part of the church as Jews.  And the Jews were to accept the Gentiles as readily as they did each other.

Thought: The Gospel is universal for the whole world.  If this is true then we do we as Christians try to place a monopoly on God?

 

The Gentile believers spoke in tongues and praised God (v.46)

The Gentiles believers spoke in tongues and praised God.  Note: speaking in tongues led the Gentile believers into a glorious and joyful praise of God.  They magnified God.  They were caught up in an ecstatic praise of the Lord.  “Speaking with Tongues” seems to be the sign that the Holy Spirit had fallen upon the Gentles.  

We must understand that both Peter and the Jewish believers needed a sign, a sign that would leave no doubt that the Gentiles were saved.  Speaking in tongues or breaking out in ecstatic praise of God, was such a sign.  It was the sign that would leave no doubt in their minds whatsoever.  It was their speaking in tongues that utterly shocked the Jewish believers who were with Peter; for the Gentiles were, as Peter says, receiving “the Holy Spirit as well as we.”

 

The Gentiles believers were baptized (v.47)

The Gentile believers were baptized.  Note that Peter asked a question.  Apparently he was challenging the Jewish believers who were with him.  There could be no question; the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit.  No one present could deny it. Therefore could any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized?

 

The door to the Gentiles was now opened (v.48)

The door to the Gentiles was now opened.  Peter commanded the Gentile believers to be baptized.  Evidently he commanded the six Jewish brothers to baptize them. 

The Gentiles…

  • Had heard the Word
  • “Believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 11:17)
  • Experienced “the Holy Spirit” falling (v.44), and being “poured” upon them (v.45). They had “received the Holy Spirit” (v.47)
  • Were baptized in the name of the Lord (v.48)

 

 

Gaining a World Vision

Acts 11:1-8

 

Peter Defends God’s Grace

Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 

And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 

saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 

“I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me.

When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 

And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 

But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’

9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’

10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

11 At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea.

12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.

13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter,

14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’

15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.

16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

 

 

What happen in this passage of scripture is of critical importance to church history.

Lesson Continued…

Lesson Outline

  1. The Church’s early vision: narrow and traditional (v.1-3)
  2. God’s will for the church: a worldwide mission (v.4-16)
  3. The Church’s response to God’s will: the conviction of a worldwide mission (v.16-18)

 

The Church’s early vision: narrow and traditional (v.1-3)

  • The apostles and brothers, the whole church, heard about Peter’s preaching mission to the Gentles and about their having received “the Word f God.” The news was bound to travel fast, for it was unheard of that a Jew would fellowship and eat with an idolatrous Gentile.  And to top it off, Peter had baptized the Gentiles without first requiring them to be circumcised.

 

Remember most if not all the believers at Jerusalem were Jews.  They were circumcised as small children and had been committed to the law of Moses since childhood.  When they accepted Christ, they did not forsake their Judaistic religion.  Rather they saw Christianity as an extension of Judaism.  In Their minds Christ had only added new teachings to their existing law and religion.  Therefore, if a person wished to accept Christ, he had to become a Jew first…

  • He had to be circumcised
  • He had to commit himself to the Law of Moses
  • He had to observed all the ceremonies and rituals of Judaism

Once a person had done these things, become and Jew, then and only then could he receive Christ and be baptized.  Then and only then could he be accepted into the church.  Peter had gone contrary to these beliefs and practices.  He had…

  • Allowed Gentiles to receive the Word of God without circumcising them (v.3)
  • Broken the law of Moses by going in to the uncircumcised Gentiles and eating with them.

The news was bound to travel fast.  The early believers who were still loyal to their Judaistic religion, were shocked.  The Jerusalem church was being shaken to its foundation.  The basic belief of so many early believers – that Jesus had come only to enlarge and extend Judaism – was being challenged.  Peter had to give an answer, and it had to be clearly explained and understood.

 

God’s will for the church: a worldwide mission (v.4-16)

God’s will for the church was a world-wide mission.  Peter reached out to the contentious.  He explained as clearly and straightforwardly as he could.  He simply shared what had happened.  Peter stressed that God’s will is a worldwide mission; the door of salvation is to be thrown open to the whole world.

Peter Stressed…

  • A trance and a vision from God (v.5)
  • A vessel or platter descending from heaven to him (v.5)
  • The Lord speaking to him (v.7-8)
  • The Lord commanding him three times (v.10)
  • The vessel ascending back into heaven (v.10)
  • The supernatural thing in the arrival of Cornelius’ servants (v.11)
  • The Holy Spirit instructing him to go to the Gentiles (v.12)
  • The angels visit to the Gentiles and his instructions to send for Peter (v.13)
  • The Holy Spirit’s filling of the Gentiles even before he had finished (v.15)
  • The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as “on us” (v.15)
  • The Holy Spirit fell just as the Lord Promised (v.16)
  • God gave the Holy Spirit to Gentiles just as He did to us (v.17)
  1. Everything that happens to Peter in opening the door to the Gentiles was of God. It was initiated and controlled by God.  Peter was merely the instrument that God used.
  2. There were six witnesses to what happened, each one verifying that the event was full of God and the Holy Spirit.
  3. God tells Peter to go to them and make no distinction.
    1. The same command is given to us today!
  4. Luke stresses this event more than He does any other event as he writes this book (Acts) This illustrated the importance of the gospel being preached to the whole world not just to the Jews!

 

The Church’s response to God’s will: the conviction of a worldwide mission (v.16-18)

The church’s response to God’s will was the conviction of a worldwide mission.

  1. There was Peter’s conviction. He was convinced of three truths.
    1. The Lord’s promise was fulfilled in the Gentiles; the Gentiles were being baptized with the Holy Sprit
      1. Peter saw the more significant of two baptisms. That is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without this the water as no meaning!
    2. Peter was convinced that he could not stand against God. Peter had nothing to do with giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is God’s doing, and one thing is sure – no man is going to stop God from doing what God purposes to do.  It was God’s will that the door of salvation be swung open to the Gentiles.
    3. It is not circumcision - not some ritual, some ceremony, not religion – but belief that caused the Holy Spirit to enter a life. “God gave them the Holy Spirit.. they who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. There was the Churches conviction: God grants repentance to all men.
    1. Repentance is a gift of god and of the Holy Spirit. IF there should be no God and no Holy Spirit, there would be no opportunity to repent.  Since both God and the Holy Spirit do exist and are actively working to save men, there is such a thing as repentance.
    2. Repentance is unto life that is it leads to life. Abundant life and eternal life are the end, the consummation, the experience of repentance.  The person who repents experiences Life immediately, and lives on experiencing life to the fullest – forever.
    3. God has thrown open the door of salvation to the World. This is the church’s Magna Charta of Missions!  This is the church’s stamp of approval to worldwide evangelism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Church Scattered: The First Great Mission To The Gentiles
“Preaching Peace”
Acts – The New Testament History Book

                                                                                 

                                                                             Acts 10:34-43 NKJV
Preaching to Cornelius’ Household
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—
37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they[a] killed by hanging on a tree.
40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.
43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

Introduction

This passage gives the first message ever preached to Gentiles by one of the Apostles. It is the message that opened the door of salvation to all the people of the world, to the Gentiles. It gives the points that need to be preached to all the nations of the world.
"Jew and Gentile are on the same footing in God's sight. Those who fear the Lord in any nation, of any race, will be accepted."

"Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ; but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without regarding names or sects."


Lesson Outline

1. God shows no favoritism – He accepts anyone who fears Him and does what is right (v.34-35)
2. God sent His word to Israel; He sent Jesus Christ preaching peace (v.36-37)
3. Jesus is the savior, anointed by God (v.38-39)
4. Jesus was crucified and Jesus was raised from the dead by God (v.39-40)
5. Jesus appeared to some who were chosen to be witnesses (v.40-41)
6. Jesus will judge the living and the dead some day in the future (v.42)
7. Jesus is the prophesied Messiah and Jesus brings forgiveness of sin to those who believe Him (v.43)


God shows no favoritism

God is no respecter of Persons. The term respecter of persons means to regard with partiality and favoritism; to favor a person because of looks, position, or circumstances.

The great point of this chapter is that God has no favorites and no prejudice against anyone. He shows no partiality or discrimination whatsoever. He does not accept a person because of nationality, race, caste, social standing, or class. God does not favor a man because:
• Who he is
• What he does
• What he has
Person or appearance, possessions or position, abilities or works, health or stature – these things do not make a person acceptable to God. “God is no respecter of persons.” He had always said so; but men, including Peter, had not paid attention to Him. They just went right on ignoring the truth of God’s Word and feeding their prejudices. Note that Peter said…
• God is no respecter of persons
• God is no respecter of nations

There are two things I would argue that make a person acceptable to God. Peter covered them both.
1. Fearing God
o Not fear out of ignorance or fear of the unknown
o But fear out of reverence to who God is
o Fear out of respect for what God has the power to do (and)
o Fear of His judgement and the consequence of disobedience.
2. Working righteousness
a. To be right
b. To do right
i. There are those who stress being righteous and neglect doing righteousness or doing what is righteous. This leads to two serious errors.
a. False security. It causes a person to stress that he is saved and acceptable to God because he/she has believed in Jesus Christ. But he/she neglects doing good and living as he/she should. He/She neglects obeying God and saving man.

b. Loose living. It allows one to go out and do pretty much as they desire. They feels secure and comfortable in their faith in Christ. They knows that what they do may affect their fellowship with Christ and other believers, but they think this behavior will not affect their salvation. They thinks that no matter what they do they are still acceptable to God.

The problem with this is that it is a false righteousness. Righteousness in the Bible means being righteous and doing righteousness. The Bible knows nothing about being righteous and not living righteously.

ii. There are also those who stress doing righteousness (righteous things) and neglect being righteous. This also leads to two serious errors.
a. Self-righteousness and legalism. It causes a person to stress that they are saved and acceptable to God because they do good. They work and believe morally and keeps certain rules and regulations. They do the things a Christian should do by obeying the main laws of God. But they neglects the basic law: the law of love and acceptance – that God loves them and accepts them not because they do good, but because they love and trust the righteousness of Christ.

b. Being judgmental and censorious. A person who stresses that they are righteous because they keep certain laws often judges and censors others. They feel that rules and regulations can be kept, because they keep them. Therefore, anyone who fails to keep them is judged, criticized, and censored.

The problem with this is that it, too, is a false righteousness. Again, righteousness in Bible is both being righteous and doing righteousness. The Bible knows nothing about being acceptable to God without being made righteous in Christ Jesus.

God sent His Word to Israel

God sent His Word to Israel; He sent Jesus Christ preaching peace.
 God sent His Word to Israel. Israel was the first nation to receive God’s Word. Salvation is of the Jews
 God sent His Word to Israel by Jesus Christ, God’s very own Son. It was Jesus Christ who brought the message of God.
However, God’s Word was not meant for Israel alone. Jesus Christ did not come just for Israel’s salvation. God is no respecter of persons. God accepts people from every nation, all those who fear Him and work righteousness. Peter declared three facts.
1. “Christ is Lord of all”
 Not only of the Jews – But of – The Gentiles, every nation
 Not only of the Privileged – But of – The Heathen
 Not of the Poor or the Religious – But of - The people who truly fear Him

2. Peter declared that Jesus Christ had been talked about throughout all Judea. Peter told Cornelius: “You know. You have heard the Word.” Cornelius and the ones sitting there had just paid little or no attention to it.

Thought: Think how many hear and sit under the gospel and pay little attention to it.

3. Peter said that Jesus Christ began to preach God’s Word in Galilee right after John’s ministry of baptism. (A Jewish Town)

No one had an excuse for rejection the gospel of God’s Kingdom. Jesus Christ had traveled and preached the gospel everywhere, and He was the topic of conversation upon everyone’s lips. Any who opposed Jesus and heard Him speak were without excuse. So it is today with those who have heard the gospel. They are without excuse.

Jesus is the Savior – The Anointed One of God

His very name “Christ” (Messiah) means “the Anointed One of God.” Jesus was anointed by God in a very special way.
1. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit. But note: He was anointed with the Holy Spirit in a way that no other person has ever been anointed: the Holy Spirit was given without measure to Christ. He received an unlimited measure of the Spirit, and it was once-for-all. That is, the Spirit’s fullness never left Christ, not for a moment.

2. Jesus was anointed with miraculous power. Power is the presence and outworking of the Holy Spirit within a person. Jesus declared this. He was very clear in declaring two things.
a. He Himself was anointed with the Holy Spirit so that He could be anointed with the power to minister.

Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit so that He could go about “doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil,” oppressed by his…
o Evil spirits
o Temptations and sin
o Lying and deception
o Bitterness and hatred
o Neglect and unconcern
o Enslavement and bondage

b. The believer receives the Holy Spirit so that he can have the power to be a witness to the world.

Jesus Christ did not come nor was He anointed to debate theories and theology with the ministers and priest of His day. He was anointed to “go about doing good” and helping people by delivering them from the oppressions of the devil.

3. There is proof that Jesus did these things. Peter and the earliest believers saw and knew Him.

1 John 1:1-4
What Was Heard, Seen, and Touched

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—
2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—
3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Jesus Christ is still working in lives today, delivering from the oppressions of the devil. The proof is clearly seen in the lives and witness of genuine believers.

Jesus was crucified and Jesus was raised from the dead by God (vv.39-40)

Jesus Christ was raised up by God. Jesus’ ministry on earth was climaxed in His passion and resurrection. His death and resurrection assures the salvation of all mankind.
 By arising from the dead He conquered death for mankind and makes available a new life of power for the believer.
 Jesus after being raised from the dead:
o Showed Himself – presented Himself alive.
 There are ten resurrection appearances of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. However there were apparently many more not recorded.
o Jesus gave many infallible proofs of His resurrection.
 Jesus made it so that those who saw Him would have no other choice but to believe in Him.

 

 

Jesus appeared to some who were chosen to be witnesses (v.40-41)

Jesus appeared to some people who were chose and appointed to be witnesses. Three points are stressed about Jesus’ resurrection appearances.

1. God showed Jesus openly, which means that God sent Jesus before people so that He could be visibly, openly, and publicly seen. God manifested, showed, and set Him forth as the Risen Lord.

2. Jesus appeared to chosen witnesses. The word “chosen before” means to be pointed out, to be designated, to be appointed. Before Christ ever arose, God chose some people to be witnesses of His Son’s resurrection. They were chosen for the very purpose of proclaiming the resurrection to a world of dying men.

3. The witnesses did “eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.” They had close and intimate fellowship with Him.
a. To stress that He and the other witnesses had real contact with the risen Lord. They not only saw Him, they “ate and drank.” Communed and fellowshipped with Him. They were as closely associated with Him as persons can be. They were true, verifiable witnesses.
b. To stress that Jesus actually arose from the dead. The Person they saw was the Jesus whom they knew. His body was real. It was really Him; His body had been resurrected.

Jesus will judge the living and the dead some day in the future (v.42)

Jesus shall judge the living and the dead of all nations. He shall judge both the Jew and the Gentile. God has ordained Jesus to judge all men, no matter who they are or where they are, alive or dead. He and He alone shall judge every soul who has ever appeared on earth.

Jesus Christ alone is ordained to be the Judge. He alone, as the risen Lord, has the right to determine judgement.
1. He determines the condition of salvation: what a person has to do to be saved; how a person is saved; who is and who is not saved.
2. He determines the conditions of eternity: what eternal life shall be like; what eternal death shall be like; the state, the environment, the reward, and the punishment of both heaven and hell.

Jesus is the prophesied Messiah and Jesus brings forgiveness of sin to those who believe Him (v.43)

John 3:16 (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.