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Acts 11 - The Outsiders Come In

Change is always hard, but when God initiates change, don't stand in His way!


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Acts 11 Summary


The primary identity marker of God's covenant people from the time of Abraham on was that they were to be separate from the nations surrounding them. They were not to intermarry, and they lived by a strict moral and ethical code that was strikingly different than the rest of the world.


It just seemed natural that this separateness would continue into the new covenant.


So when word came that outsiders were being invited into the church, it was certainly concerning to the apostles.


Yet when Peter recounts how God had guided him into the home of the gentile Cornelius, and how the Holy Spirit had already been working on Cornelius' heart, the apostle's wholeheartedly support this massive cultural shift.


The persecution had flushed out many Jewish believers into the gentile world, and consequently even more gentiles begin to come to faith. Barnabas, a godly man, was dispatched by the apostles to ensure this was of the Lord's doing.


The chapter ends with God proactively calling the church - now being called Christians for the first time - to take care of its own as a terrible famine is about to beset Israel.



Dig Deeper


The relationship between the church and the world has always been a point of concern. In addition to the very Jewish cultural mindset of the early church, the fear has always been that the world will corrupt the church. Note how quickly the apostles send out Barnabas to investigate what was going on in Antioch to make sure that the great number who believed were actually turning to the Lord, and not dragging people from the Lord (v21).


This relationship is just as precarious today. As you interact with the world, let Acts 11 be your guide. Make sure that it's you who are bringing God's grace to them, and not them taking you from grace into the world.



AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is the creator of all things, and the one who has made all things pure (v9).

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to help you identify ways in which you are standing in His way (v17).

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

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