Introduction and Prayer
What things can make it difficult for us to love others?
Read Acts 11:1-2
Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2 But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. 3 “You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said.
Why did the believers criticize Peter for hanging out with the Gentiles?
Was God’s love for the Gentiles a new thing? Did God suddenly add the Gentiles to His program of redeeming Creation or was saving the Gentiles always part of God’s plan?
How can our own bias hinder us from sharing God’s love with others?
Read Acts 11:4-10
4 Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5 “I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6 When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7 And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ 8 “ ‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’ 9 “But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10 This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven.
What was God trying to show Peter with the vision of the animals in the sheet?
Why would this vision have such an impact on Peter?
Read Acts 11:11-15
11 “Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12 The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. 13 He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 14 He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’ 15 “As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning.
From this passage, what does it look like Peter did? Did Luke record that Peter was praying for the Gentiles to receive the Holy Spirit?
When God shows up in our lives even-though we are not perfect, its called what? [Grace]
God was coordinating so many supernatural messages in this scene. Have you ever sensed God speaking to you? Have you ever sensed Him leading you?
Describe the moment when God spoke to you or led you.
What are steps that we can take to hear God in a more clear fashion?
Read Acts 11:16-17
16 Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?”
How did God continue to repeat His word and plan in this circumstance?
Was Peter or Cornelius unsure of God’s instruction?
Regardless of the world’s response, how should we respond to God’s commands to us?
Do you see artificial divisions like this in the church today?
Read Acts 11:
18 When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”
How does God confirm His word again through this additional set of believers?
What does this tell us about God’s love for mankind?
How does John 3:16 support the idea of God’s love for all?
These believers started with objecting but then they changed to praising. What are examples of things that make us object rather than praise?
Think on This….
What are the characteristics about your life that could potentially cause you to see God’s grace as only for certain individuals? How would you answer this same question if it pertained to the potential pitfalls for Bethel as a church?