Monthly Archives: October 2014

Time to Acts – Part 18

Each and every chapter of Acts has taught us something, and this is no exception. In fact, this one shows us some things that we have not seen before in Acts, so let’s get started and see what it has for us. Read Acts chapter 18 and then take a look at my thoughts.

Firstly, the first paragraph is so important. Let me spell it out just in case there is any confusion. WE ARE ALL CALLED TO FULL TIME MINISTRY, REGARDLESS OF WHAT OUR JOB IS. Get it? So often I hear people say that they are not called into full time ministry, now I know what they mean, but I think we all are. Yes, we pay some people to be a pastor or take up a ‘position’ in the church, but that is the exception to the rule. If the others didn’t work, how would we pay the pastor? I have been called to teach, heal, prophesy, lead and deliver people, and I have a full time job. In fact, I have my own business (there is a link to the right of the blog post if you want to see what I do). I see my ministry as just as important as my business (if not more so), even though I don’t get paid for it as such, God provides me with everything, so I do what He calls me to do.

Secondly, we see Paul stop teaching and leave when people oppose him and blaspheme. This is a tricky one because we often refuse to ‘give up’ on someone who does not want to hear the gospel. We keep on trying to teach people who don’t want to hear. Now I am not saying that we give up the first time they disagree with us, but what I am saying is that there are people out there who will just not believe. These people often look for a fight and blatantly come against anything you have to say. Paul just walked away and left them to it. I often have the same attitude. There are so many people out there who want to know the good news, I’d rather be teaching them than getting frustrated trying to teach someone who isn’t interested.

Now here is the next point, and I have a funny feeling that this may upset some people and I may get some comments about this, but that has never stopped me before. Look at what happens next, God appears to Paul in a dream and tells him to speak boldly and that he will not be attacked here. That is so different to the rest of Acts where Paul gets beaten almost every chapter. Why does God say this? I’m not sure, but let me give you my theory. God says, “for I have many people in this city.” . I believe this to be the reason. I have said it before, I don’t believe that being sovereign means that you always get your way (Sovereignty of God). I believe that God is sovereign, but He doesn’t always get His way. God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but we all know that not everyone is (Matthew 7:14). I believe that our free will can (and usually does) come against (and often prevent) what God is doing. Because God had many people there, the chance of His will being done was greatly increased. God did not want Paul to get hurt, but He won’t oppose free will (Paul’s Thorn). This gives us more responsibility, are you sitting around waiting for God to do something, or are you allowing God to do something by using you? We have a responsibility and we have the authority (in Christ) (Our Authority in Christ) to do it. God works through us. Now before you get all upset and start writing to me, I am not saying that we are more powerful than God, I am merely saying that Jesus gave us the authority, and now God chooses to work through us. God has intervened in the past, but I believe that we need to do our part. If the boy didn’t come forward with the loaves and fish, would Jesus have still fed the 5000? I don’t think so, in the following chapter He feeds 4000 and again calls for any food that people have. God’s power, our actions.

So I hope that this has been an interesting chapter for you too. We have got the authority to do what God has called us to do, and if we bring the little that we can, God will do the rest. No matter what your job, find what God has called you to do and step boldly into it. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Walk in the blessing.

Richard

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Time to Acts – Part 17

As we continue on in Acts, we get to chapter 17. This is a tricky one because as I read it, I immediately saw a pattern, something which I wanted to talk about. Then I went away and thought about it, and I started to re-consider. Why? Fear. I was scared of what people may think. I know, that doesn’t sound like me, but it has been rather pleasant not to have any direct, aggressive opposition for a while. I then thought about something that Andrew Wommack once said, if you don’t have resistance from the devil from time to time, it may be because you’re travelling in the same direction. The last thing that I want is for my posts to become watered-down and irrelevant, so here goes, brace yourself.

In this chapter, Paul moves from synagogue to synagogue, preaching the news of Jesus Christ. This, as you can imagine, causes some issues and ends up with a group of angry people following Paul, stirring up the crowds to come against him. Now Paul doesn’t give up, he moves on to the next place and does the same thing. Paul has a desire to see people enter into a relationship with Jesus, and nothing is going to stop him from preaching the Word. He doesn’t get discouraged when people come against him, he just keeps on doing what he is there to do. I would like to be the same. I have had similar experiences, although I have never set foot in a synagogue. I have had this experience in churches!

Let me make it clear, I am not trying to convert people to Christianity, I am trying to get them to follow Jesus. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian actually follow Jesus. I know that sounds absurd, but it is true. I have been asked to leave churches (on more than one occasion) for doing things that Jesus did. Healing the sick, casting out demons, making disciples, preaching the Word. If you do these things (the very things we are called to do) in many churches and ‘Christian’ religions, you may well be shown the door. Does this mean that we give up? Did Paul give up? No. If you have been asked to leave a church because you are following Jesus’ teaching, you are in good company. If you have never been asked to leave, you’re either in a good church, or you’re not doing it properly :-). Paul was not concerned with what people thought, or did. The gospel is bigger than that and the gospel was Paul’s focus. It should be ours too. Dare I say that ‘religion’ (the practises that we do) have generally overtaken the relationship that we have with Jesus. It is sad, but there are so many people out there who do so much ‘religious stuff’ without actually experiencing the love of a Saviour. This breaks my heart (similarly to as it must have broken Paul’s). I will not stop preaching the truth. I am in an excellent church now with the pastor’s backing and others who believe as I do, so I shouldn’t get thrown out of this one any time soon, but I am quite prepared to be asked to leave another church should God move me on. When the Bible says go out and make disciples, to save the lost. Many of those ‘lost’ are sitting in churches on a Sunday. Difficult to believe, but true non the less.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all of our efforts should be within the church. I am just as keen to get out into the world to bring God’s Kingdom into every situation, but sometimes we need to get our house in order before we can get others into it. Paul went from synagogue to synagogue preaching the truth. The truth is seriously lacking from many of our churches today, maybe it is time to preach it again. If you are stuck in a ‘religion’ and you really want a loving relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, invite Him in. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Do it, and then trust Him as your saviour. Get hold of someone who has this kind of relationship with God and tell them that you have made this decision. Read the Bible, think about what you have read, and then ask God to show you how that applies to you.

If you have made this decision, take a look at some of the other posts in this blog, and follow it. I will continue to teach as long as God asks me to do so.
You are blessed!

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 16

This is one of my favourite passages of scripture (Acts 16), so let’s take a look at what we can learn here.

We start with a rather awkward part. Paul decides to take Timothy along with him, but they are going to a place filled with Jews, so Timothy needs to get circumcised. Now Paul speaks about the fact that we no longer have to get circumcised, so why did he circumcise Timothy? I believe that he did this to overcome any barriers with the Jews as they were going to minister to them. I’m not going to spend too much time on this, but if Timothy scarred his body to overcome a hurdle of engaging the people that he was ministering to, what do you do? Do you try and adapt to fit in with the people that you have been sent to minister to, or do you expect them to bridge the gap? What were the chances that someone would see that he was not circumcised? Yet he still did it. I hope this makes you think about what hurdles you need to overcome to minister to the people that you have been sent to. Just remember, this is NOT an excuse to sin, we are called to be in the world, not of it.

As we read on, we see Paul, Silas and Timothy get lead to Macedonia, with some saved on the way. It doesn’t take long for the demons to get upset, and one decides to interfere. A woman that is demonised starts following Paul saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” I have heard people say that demons can’t tell the truth, that they have to lie. I have even heard people say that if you do the opposite of what they tell you, you’re on the right track. Please let this verse show you that these statements are complete rubbish. They will tell you whatever they need to to cause you to stumble. Don’t listen to them at all, listen to the Holy Spirit instead, you can’t go wrong doing that! Paul gets upset and tells the demon to leave, which it does as it has to listen to us when we command it in the Name of Jesus. This doesn’t go down well with the ladies masters. They made money from her fortune-telling, now without the demon, she can’t do it anymore. I hope that this is also clear as to where fortune-tellers get their power from (see Difference Between Prophets and Fortune Tellers). As per normal, the guys get falsely accused, beaten and thrown into prison. Again.

Now this is the part that really encourages me. Paul and Silas are praising God. If you were beaten and thrown into a high security prison after doing the right thing, would you be praising God? I’m not sure if I would. Next thing, there is an earthquake and the doors swing open and the chains fall off. Freedom! No, the guys stay put. That is what astounds me, they could have run, would you not see the chains coming off and the doors opening as a chance to run? I would. Paul and Silas decided to stay where they were. Look what happened. The guard decides to kill himself as he will be killed if the prisoners escape, and he thinks that they are gone. Paul calls him and tells him not to do it. Next thing, we see that the guard and his family are saved and baptised! The guard then helps Paul and Silas by cleaning their wounds and feeding them. If Paul and Silas had run, they would have been fugitives and the guard would be dead. Now they are on their way to being freed and the guard and his family are saved. This is what happens when you listen to God and not do what you think you have to. This also shows us that when we have (figurative) chains holding us down, we can break them (in Jesus Name and by worshipping God), and they will be broken. This doesn’t necessarily mean that our circumstances will change, it just means that instead of our circumstances dictating to us, we (with the power of the Spirit) dictate to our circumstances. The chains will go but our situations may not change, but once the chains are gone, our situations will work for our good. I hope that this passage encourages you as much as it encouraged me when I read it. This is the God that we serve!

One last thing, even after this, Paul still refuses to leave the prison. He (and the others) were put there after doing nothing wrong. Paul knew this, and he wanted to magistrates to sweat a little. Only after they came down and apologised to Paul, did he leave. That is the advantage of taking the high road.

God’s power, our actions.

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 15

Here is almost an entire chapter about people who don’t agree with each other, people with different opinions. In fact there is even a split amongst people who had ministered together. Sound familiar? This is ripe amongst Christians today. Let’s take a look at what Acts chapter 15 has to say.

First of all we have the issue of circumcision. Some were saying that the Gentiles should be circumcised and others were saying that they didn’t. If you replace the circumcision with just about any other ‘religious practise’, it sounds very similar to the kinds of discussions that go on today. I have said before that Christians will sooner accept non-Believers into church (which they should) than fellow believers with a different theology. We don’t like it when other believers don’t agree with us, do we? This is also a tug of war between grace and works. Grace that Jesus has given us by dying for us, and the works that we are called to do. Now I am pro works and grace. You may have heard one of my favourite sayings, “God’s Power, Our Actions”. Unfortunately, some people think that we don’t need to do anything, and others underestimate God’s grace. This is also about being ‘religious’. Religious, not as in being a Christian, but as in doing what were told to do just because we have been told to do it. There are things that we have been told to do, which I do. I do these things because I understand why we do it, and why God has called us to do it, not just because ‘that’s what we do’.

Peter gives what I believe to be the best answer in verses 8 – 11, So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” The law was there to show us that we fell well short of God’s standard. Then Jesus came and made a way for us to get to God, through faith in Him. We now do what pleases God because we love Him, not because we have to do it to get to heaven.

Then we see a common modern day experience. Paul and Barnabas had been doing ministry together for a while, and then they split. Over a disagreement. Now this passage doesn’t really give too many details, but they split because Barnabas wanted to take a guy John, called Mark along, and Paul didn’t. Verses 39 and 40 say, “Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.” Sad, but I guess that it happens.

What do you think about situations like this? I personally think that it is better to go your separate ways and partner with people that you agree with. I think that we are called to love each other, but we probably won’t agree with everyone all of the time. I don’t think that this is a huge problem, as long as we deal with it correctly. The thing to remember is that even after this ‘sharp contention’, God still used them. God wants to use us, and wants what is good for us, no matter what we do. Us doing the wrong thing may stop us from receiving what God has for us, but it doesn’t stop Him from providing it. It may effect us and the way that we see God, it doesn’t effect God and the way that He sees us. When He looks at me He sees what Jesus died for, and for that I am eternally grateful!

Be blessed!

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 14

Acts chapter 14 is really the final part of the story of chapter 13. This is the continuation of that same mission. Chapter 13 was very interesting, chapter 14 also doesn’t disappoint. Read Acts chapter 14 and then take a look at my thoughts.

We pick up the story as Paul and Barnabas were still doing what they were called to do, and still attracted some ‘unwanted’ attention. This time instead of being thrown out, they found out about a plot against them so they fled. This is a lesson for us today. We may be tempted to see fleeing as a weakness, but God still used them after they fled. In fact, God used them so much, that you may be inclined to think that God caused the persecution in order to make them flee to get them where He wanted them. This is not true, God doesn’t send bad things, only good. He is just so good at turning things around, that we sometimes mistake the initial bad happening, as coming from God.

Paul then finds a lame man. Have a look at verses 9 and 10, “He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.” Firstly, please note that there is no talk of a prayer meeting, Paul didn’t ask God if it was His will that the man be healed. He saw that the man had faith to be healed, so he told him to stand up.. and he did. This is what I believe and where I want to get to. Jesus wants us healed, it is us and our actions that prevent healing. Now I know that some of you are getting ready to write a scathing comment, just hold on. When I have finished this series on Acts, I will post a post of 12 barriers which stop you from receiving healing, you can keep your comments for that. The other interesting part here, is that the man only seems to have the faith after he did something specific. He listened to Paul. Paul was probably teaching, and this man was listening. I reckon that the man’s faith was building as he listened to Paul teach, then he got to the point where he had the faith. What teaching are you listening to? Are you reading scriptures that relate to healing? So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:17.

Paul and Barnabas then had people trying to make sacrifices to them. Even after all of what they taught, people still tried to worship them and not God. They even went out and explained to the crowd again, but the people still thought that they were gods. The interesting part, is that soon after that, the Jewish leaders managed to change the people’s minds and got them to the point of stoning Paul. How do people go from thinking that someone is a god, seeing miraculous healing, and then having the person stoned. Let this be a lesson to us all. We often see TV evangelists today, even though most of them point to God, we still put them on a pedestal. We then hear something about them (that may or may not be true), and then we bash them down. We can do this to all Christians, not just celebrity ones. Be careful of this, you can see how easy it is for the enemy to change our minds if we are not rooted in the Word of God.

Here is one of my favourite bits. They think that Paul is dead, but after the disciples ‘gathered around him’, he got up and left. Now, it doesn’t actually say what happened hear, but if I may be so bold, I would like to suggest an option. Could Paul have actually been dead? Could the disciples ‘gathering around’ have been them raising him from the dead? Possibly. Either way, this is pretty awesome. To escape a stoning (whether he died or not) and have the people leave assuming that you were dead, and you to get up and leave, is pretty cool. If he did die and was raised from the dead, that is even better. Paul and Barnabas then return to Antioch, from where they started this mission at the beginning of chapter 13. One thing that I have learned here is that when Paul fled, and when he was stoned, God still used him and God was still working things for his good. He either avoided a beating and preached the word, or he survived a stoning to go on and preach the word.

Glory to God!

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 13

It seems that I have done a fair bit of writing about the same thing over and over again, but if Luke felt the need to repeat certain lessons in Acts, then I need to do the same thing. Let’s go and have a look at chapter 13 and see what we can learn today.

This is a long chapter, and there is so much to get through, but even the first 3 verses hold so much. I was going to start this post from later on, but just look at those first 3 verses. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, God spoke to them. If you complain that God doesn’t speak to you, are you worshipping and fasting? The interesting thing is that even once God had spoken, they still finished worshipping and fasting. Discipline. Then they laid hands on one another, I assume that they prayed for them (when laying on of hands) and sent them off. Action. Worshipping God and being disciplined will lead to you hearing from God. Pray, and then go and do what you have been called to do. There is a valuable lesson right there.

Paul and Barnabas then came across a false prophet and sorcerer. This guy was a proper false prophet, not just someone that is labelled a false prophet because someone with an opinion didn’t agree with them. This guy was acting with a demonic power. Now we in the church now days, are often scared of the demonic. Even Christians who claim to be walking in power often display contrasting actions when faced with something demonic. Not Paul. He just rebukes Bar-Jesus and he (the false prophet) becomes temporarily blind. Now for those of you rubbing your hands together thinking that this scripture means that God does send illness, think again. It says that the hand of God was against Bar-Jesus. He was specifically and knowingly acting under demonic powers and even then he was only made blind for a time. The Bible is clear that God is for us, so who can be against us. God does not make us ill. Jesus died to heal us (by His stripes we were healed), so why would God act against Jesus?

Then Paul gets himself in trouble again (he seems to do that often). Once again he is caught preaching the truth and the Jewish leaders didn’t like the fact that he was more popular than them (sound familiar?). They once again arranged for lies to be spread about Paul so that they had an excuse to have him punished or killed. Here is one of the warnings from Paul, which I think that we need to heed today.

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
Look, you scoffers,
wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe,
even if someone told you.”

After this Paul and Barnabas were expelled from the region, so they wiped the dust from their feet and left. Here is the interesting part. They went to teach, they were called in front of the Jewish leaders, they had untrue rumours and lies spread about them, they were persecuted and thrown out of the region. What is the final line of the chapter? And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Even after all of this, they were blessed and filled with the Holy Spirit. Would you say the same if you were in their shoes? If you are where God wants you to be and filled with the Spirit, you’ll experience joy, regardless of what the devil does. This is where I am striving to get to.

I hope that this has been an encouragement to all who read it.

Be blessed.

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 12

As we continue to look at Acts, it is now time for chapter 12. This one is an interesting one, and one that I have taught on before. It is about Herod killing Christians. First he kills James, and then he takes Peter prisoner. He was waiting for Passover in order to kill Peter then, God had other plans.

Verses 5-17 is about Peter being freed from prison, and I would like to look at this. 5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.”9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”
16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.

There are two things that I would like to draw to your attention. Firstly, when you are praying for people, do you ask for ‘do-able’ things or do you ask for the ‘impossible’? The people praying for Peter were probably praying for him to be released, but not miraculously. They probably expected some kind of pardon or release, that is why they were not expecting Peter. With God, ALL things are possible, I for one need to start praying for the seemingly ‘impossible’ and not for what I think that I can expect. The other question is, “Do we actually expect our prayers to be answered?”. Do we? Did Peter’s friends actually expect him to be freed? If so, why were they so surprised to see him? Yes, it may have been because they weren’t expecting to see him so soon, like I said, but they even refused to believe it when Mary said that he was there. Surely if you are praying that someone is released, and then someone tells you that the person is at the door, you go and check.

Do you dare to believe that God can do the impossible, and then do you expect Him to deliver? This is difficult, it is something that I too need to work on. Join me in believing that God can (and will) do the impossible!

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 11

This post is about Acts chapter 11. As you may know, I am doing a series on the book of Acts, so take a look back at the other posts relating to this. This chapter is one that I have read before, but it didn’t really speak to me then, today it did. Read Acts chapter 11 and then take a look at what I got out of it.

The first part is Peter explaining what happened when he was accused of eating with unclean people. Peter explains what had happened, and the people listened. They then accepted what Peter had said, and embraced it. This is the first lesson today, when you hear Biblical teaching, embrace it. Note what I said there, Biblical teaching, not necessarily just teaching that you agree with. This is so important, I had a religious upbringing, all about church and God, rules and regulations, how to live life. Very little about the Holy Spirit. Now I am not saying that everything that I learned was wrong, but I am saying that when I started to listen to other teaching and weigh it up against scripture, I changed my mind. I often get people telling me that what I post on this blog is wrong, so I ask them for Bible verses to back up their statement. I either get given a verse out of context, or I have actually had people say, “I don’t have scripture but I believe that you’re wrong”. How is that going to help you? I listen to many people, both people in my church, TV evangelists and I read other blogs. Once I have listened, I go to scripture. Does what they say line up with the Word? Does it fit with scripture? Have they misinterpreted anything? I allow what people say to influence what I believe IF it lines up with scripture (after I have prayed about it and asked God to guide me). You see there is a danger in believing everything that you’re told that has a Bible verse attached, but there is also a danger in not accepting anything that doesn’t fall within what you already believe. You need to find the middle ground, and allow God to teach you through others, without falling victim to heresy.

Take a look at Acts 11 v 22 – 24. 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. What can we get from this? Firstly, have an attitude of being sent. I once saw a book entitled, ‘If God hasn’t called you to stay, then go”. Maybe a bit harsh, but we really need to have the attitude of being sent. You have been sent to your workplace, you have been sent to the grocery store or the coffee shop. To your church. You are not just a bystander, God has called you to these places specifically, do something about it. Be the kingdom of God wherever you go. You are not where to you are by accident, and even if you are, God still wants to use you while you’re there. Purpose of heart. That means to do things intelligently, sincerely, deliberately, and persistently. Is that how you continue with the Lord, or are you just drifting? Ask God what He wants you to do and then do it purposefully. Get excited for what God is doing and get active!

You also need to be full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. Trust me, I have tried to do this Christian life without the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t work. I think that the Holy Spirit and faith are two of the most important elements in the Christian faith, yet they are probably two of the most neglected in the ‘church’ today. If you have not been baptised in the Spirit, do it. If you lack faith, ask God for more (but then be aware that he will call you into a place to grow that faith). Remove unbelief from your life, this will increase the ‘effectiveness’ of the faith that you do have, after all, you only need as much as a mustard seed. Another thing that I like about this chapter is that just after it gets you thinking about all of these ‘spiritual’ issues, it says that the disciples (now referred to as Christians for the first time) gave money where it was needed. God is a practical God too, and we also need to be.

Learning how to be purposeful in your Holy Spirit filled journey with God in faith.
Richard

Time to Acts – Part 10

Continuing with our systematic look at Acts, today I’m talking about Acts chapter 10. Acts 10 is something that I have spoken about before, so I’ll mention my point again, with some new ones. Read chapter 10 and then have a look at my thoughts.

The first thing that strikes me in this passage is how Cornelius is told one to go and see Peter and he does it. Peter (who is a great man of God) hears 3 times, and is still not sure. He is still pondering about what it means. Now I am not pointing fingers here, if I am, most of them are pointing at me. How often do we as Christians over think that God has told us? How often do we over analyse things and procrastinate over every detail? We are usually very good at forming committees and explaining how everyone else is doing it wrong, but we aren’t usually people of action. God needs (and wants) people of action. When you hear God’s voice, listen and obey, don’t over think. I know that this is going to come back and bight me in the backside, I need to listen to these words too.

The other thing that I find interesting, is that an angel appears to Cornelius, tells him to go and find Peter. Why did the angel not just tell him the gospel and leave Peter out of it, surely that would have been easier? This is very interesting because there are a few answers, some may be controversial, but that has never stopped me before. God wants (and needs) us involved. He loves to see us seeking the Kingdom, and doing what He has called us to do. Now some people will go as far as to say that God can’t do what He has asked us to do, where as others say that He won’t do what He has asked us to do, where others say that God can and will do anything. I don’t believe that the third one is true, God is sovereign, but He doesn’t always get His way. (Before you write to complain about that, read ‘Sovereignty of God‘). Whether God won’t or can’t do what He has asked us to do, it doesn’t make a difference, either way He is limiting Himself. We have been called by God to do certain things, and He won’t interfere. Spreading the Gospel is one of those things. I believe that is why God sent Peter and didn’t just do it Himself. Also, Peter would have grown spiritually by doing it, and that is what the Lord wants, He wants us to grow in Him. Bottom line. Get involved, do what God has called you to do and stop waiting for Him to do it.

God tells Peter that he should not call any man unclean. Do we do this? Are there certain types of people that we see us unclean or unworthy of salvation? We will probably say no, but let me ask this question. Are there any people that we may be less willing to preach the gospel to? Every country that I have been to, there is always a ‘people group’ that the locals don’t get along with. Even if there isn’t, there are always people that seem ‘less appealing’ to us. We all need Jesus, and He loves us all. This is not judgement or condemnation, it is merely something to make us all (me included) think.

Peter then goes on to preach the gospel, and many gentiles became Christians. One act of obedience and look what God did with it. What do you think He will do if we act in obedience? What do you think that He could do through you? This is what church is all about, disciples making disciples. I have no intention just to teach on this blog and have people come and read and learn and then do nothing with it. I read other’s blogs and learn, then I put it into practise and then I teach it. I hope that others will learn, put it into practise and then teach it. This way, we are all learning, practising and teaching. This way the gospel will spread quicker!

Learn, believe and take action.

Richard