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Acts 9:32-11:18

Acts: The Story Continues  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:43
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Alright, so, today we will be in Acts 9:32-11:18; put your finger there we will get there eventually. After the conversion of Saul and his early ministry, we turn again to Peter and a man named Cornelius. It's time for the next step in the mission of God. For those of you who know this story, what is it about? Why did Luke record this story? What is he hoping that his readers’ will learn from it? Remember, Luke is not merely recording history for us, he has something that he wants us to learn from it. Today we are going to look at four big ideas: Our Glory Our Failure Our Hope Our Response Our Glory: What do I mean by our Glory? Let’s read 2 Cor 3:4-11 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. (Explain Moses) Our Glory is given to us from God. God’s glory rubs off on us as it did on Moses as we reflect on and share the Gospel and share in Christ’s ministry. Let's look at our passage and see what I mean. Acts 9:32-43 • Serve those in need/Do the right thing See lives changed Acts 10:1-48 • Share the good news See lives changed • Watch the Family Grow But often, we don’t experience this glory because of Our Failure: This point is about our story, about us, about what this story looks like with me in it, with you in it. • Shirk our responsibility ◦ Excuses, Idols, Laziness, • Keep our mouths shut ◦ Something to be said for timing and waiting, but then we don’t speak • Blinded by Prejudice But, I’d argue this point is also about the early church. What was Jesus’ commission? Look at what it took to get them to reach out and begin to accept the Gentiles. Look at their hesitation to accept it Acts 11:1-18 Now think back to Philip, Look at Antioch What a difference! They were blinded by their upbringing and their prejudices to see what God wanted, who the gospel was for. And yet, you have to look hard for the failure of Peter and the early church in this passage, Why? Our Hope: Because we are not on our own. Because we have the Holy Spirit. Let’s look back: The Holy Spirit led Peter Subtly Clearly The Holy Spirit Changed his heart The Holy Spirit never loses focus on the mission This is not primarily a story about the salvation of the Gentiles. It is primarily a story about the sanctification of the Church. About the real blockade to the advancement of the gospel, our sin, and the true hero of this story the Holy Spirit. This passage is a turning point in the story of the Church, but not because of a change in the mission, or because of Gentile conversion; but because this is where the Holy Spirit shows the Church as a whole that the Gospel is for everyone and they begin to repent and accept it.. Our Response: Recognize and repent of our prejudice There have been generalizations said about other races, people from other countries, horrible things. We cannot believe those things or take them into our hearts. Who do you despise? Why do you dislike them so much? Do you find yourself rolling your eyes when you walk past a certain kind of person, do you find yourself avoiding them? Yes, Race. But, not just race: social status, the way they dress, the way they do their hair, their political stance, their hobbies, the amount of money they have or don’t, the way they talk, the religion or lack they hold to. We are tempted to think of them as less than, of needing the Gospel sure (because they need to get their life in order), but not as People made in the image of God, people who we are to love and serve and “associate with and visit” to share the Gospel. Do the next right thing Anxiety over God’s will The Bible lays out what we should be doing Stop making excuses Open our mouths At some point, words have to be shared. Actions do not lead a person to salvation. And they won’t just figure it out Two stories of supernatural interventions in people’s lives. Yet, what does the intervention tell them? Go to this believer, they have something to tell you. For some reason, God has chosen to share the Gospel, to lead people to salvation, through us. We must speak, not out of pride or arrogance, but out of humility knowing that that is how God has set it up. This doesn’t excuse us from saying dumb things when we speak. We need to learn how to listen, how to contextualize the Gospel, how to find a person’s heart and show the gospel as what they need. So, let’s learn. Talk in your GC’s, talk to your elders, read good books, let’s learn how to speak because it is our honor and glory to speak. Trust in Jesus and Follow Him None of this matters if we aren’t believers. I’d like to point out what Cornelius did to be saved. Acts 10:44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. But they didn’t say a prayer, they didn’t go through a catechism, they didn’t say the formulaic, “I accept Jesus as my lord and Savior.” Salvation comes to those who hear the Gospel, believe it to be true, place their hope in the salvation and fullness of Jesus, and put their faith, their loyalty, their fealty in Jesus. That’s it. So, for those of you who said a prayer but your hope and your loyalty are not in him, there is no sign of the Spirit in your life, you cannot rest your salvation on a prayer you said a long time ago, or a lot a long time ago. Are you following him, do you trust what he did? For those of you worried and fearful about whether you are really saved, rest. Trust. Is your loyalty to Jesus, do you believe and trust him? Then you are saved. You know. And further: Panic, where am I prejudiced, where is my sin? God will show you What do I do, where do I go? God will lead you What do I say? God will teach you. How do I start? Do the next right thing, God is with you. Listen. Obey. Our God is good, He loves you and your neighbor and the people you struggle to like. His mission is forefront in His mind and he will lead those who are willing to obey and repent to those who need to hear. We are not alone, but we must be willing to repent and we must obey. Eph 6:19-20 & Romans 10:11-15 and [pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
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