This week we return to our study of the Book of Acts. Once again, we turn our attention to the beauty of the bride of Christ. To be reminded, the success of the church is not programs or policies. It’s not shows or gimmicks. It's the Spirit of Jesus. All our ministry is marked by the presence of Jesus. The standard of our success is: A fully functioning church always equals Christ Jesus in the world. This week read the devos, reach out through Christ-centered conversations and remind others to read our devos. If you like them, repost them.
“. . . they took issue with him,” Acts 11:2
If we are to see things we’ve never seen, we must be willing to do things we’ve never done. Hearing this phrase is immediately agreeable to the masses. But when the implications are considered, the weight of this truth pushes up against our comfort and common ideas.
What God was doing with the vision of the sheet, was calling His church to a bolder vision. The obstacle in the way of reaching the world was the prejudice of the Christians themselves. They had never thought of Gentiles as fellow heirs. They had always seen them as only outsiders. Offering the gospel to them was a dangerous idea.
Christianity has always had to live dangerously. From the advent of Jesus, while still in His cradle, there were enemies who threatened His existence and limited the advancement of His kingdom. Later, Jesus would tell those who would follow Him, “If they did it to Me, they will do it to you, too.”
Peter recounts how God had expanded His vision to take the message of Jesus to others outside the Jewish people. Peter’s vision was pregnant with new possibilities for the future development of Christianity. Had Peter’s engrained prejudice not been challenged, Christianity might have disintegrated into an offshoot of an obscure Jewish sect.
It was necessary for the first followers to be freed from their narrow-minded notions to see the largeness of God’s purpose and the enormity of God’s great love for the world. It’s important to recognize that the vision shaped their values and their values drove their verve. The vision will always prepare us for greater work.
If we cling to our old ways of doing things; if we refuse to learn, grow, adapt to change towards where God is leading, we will surely miss the opportunity to bring His work and message to others. The graves of our old familiar ways are of no use to God.
Confess and repent of any beliefs, preferences and prejudices that are hindering God’s work through you!