July 19, 2021 - Acts 11:1-18
I grew up with parents that believed when we as kids were old enough, we could determine if we wanted to go to church, which church we would attend, and how often we would participate. Since, church and religion were not very important to our family growing up, I was unaware that battles were fought over the color of carpet, or the style of music played.
A quick survey of chapter 11 will show that disagreements were real, and people took their beliefs and opinions seriously. When the Jewish church in Jerusalem heard that Peter met with the uncircumcised and had eaten with them, they requested a meeting. It appears that they were not angry that Gentiles had come to faith or that Peter was instructed supernaturally by God. They were upset that the law had been broken.
Peter retells the story of Gods invitation and the vision that preceded the event. This is the third rendition of the story in less than two chapters. When God emphasizes something three times in scripture, the reader should pay extremely close attention to the details being described. God wanted the participants and the readers to recognize that a new phase of the church was beginning, and He wanted the transition to be crystal clear. Although the scriptures made abundant references to the Gentiles being a part of God's plan, the Jewish nation chose to ignore this and demand that the Gentiles become part of their religion before they were accepted as believers.
Peter's message to them was that God had provided these Gentiles with the same gift of the Holy Spirit as He had given the Jews at Pentecost. If that was the case, then how could the Jews deny acceptance of Gentiles into the church body? The assembled group was silenced and subsequently gave glory to God for what He had done.
In assessing the work of God and what is true or false, it is necessary to review the way God has worked in the past and see if the present activity matches His past revelation. An indicator that helped the church to accept God's plan was a careful review of His works. History is not the only factor, but it can assist us to make godly decisions. Take time to review the works of God in His word and you will find consistency and principles to guide you in knowing what are true works of God and what are fleshly imitations.