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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 5, 2007
Just then three men showed up at the house where I was staying, sent from Caesarea to get me. The Spirit told me to go with them, no questions asked. So I went with them, I and six friends, to the man who had sent for me. He told us how he had seen an angel right in his own house, real as his next-door neighbor, saying, 'Send to Joppa and get Simon, the one they call Peter. He'll tell you something that will save your life - in fact, you and everyone you care for.'
So I started in, talking. Before I'd spoken half a dozen sentences, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us the first time. I remembered Jesus' words: 'John baptized with water; you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' So I ask you: If God gave the same exact gift to them as to us when we believed in the Master Jesus Christ, how could I object to God?
Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. And then, as it sank in, they started praising God. It's really happened! God has broken through to the other nations, opened them up to Life!
Acts 11:11-18 (Message*)
The early church did not at first understand that the message of Christ was not only for Jews. The Lord prepared Peter for this occasion with a vision, which opened him to respond to the Gentiles who came for him. So he responded, and learned a lesson that he was able to teach the larger church. Eventually the church decided it should not impose Jewish laws on followers of Christ, allowing Christian expressions in each culture touched by the Gospel.
The specifics here are of that time, but the principle is universal. How often are we tempted to insist on a particular cultural garb when we seek to spread the Gospel of Christ?
* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.
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Document last modified on Sunday, 13-May-2007 07:05:34 EDT