Intro. As we have mentioned, Peter knew that when the church in Jerusalem heard that he had taken the gospel to the Gentiles, he would be challenged. Sure enough, as soon as he returned to Jerusalem, those who were of the circumcision contended with him. They said, "You went in to uncircumcised men, and ate with them."
I. AS WE HAVE MENTIONED IN THAT MID-EASTERN CULTURE, TO EAT WITH A PERSON WAS TANTAMOUNT TO BECOMING ONE WITH THEM.
A. That is why the Jew would never eat with a Gentile.
1. They are now accusing Peter with eating with Gentiles.
2. As we pointed out last week, Peter was not too far from where his accusers are. Had it been someone else who had gone, Peter would have been on the other side of the table contesting with them.
3. Again Paul tells us that at a later date, Peter was in the predominately Gentile church at Antioch and until certain brothers came from James, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem, Peter had been eating with the Gentiles. But after they came down he separated and only ate with the Jews, that is when Paul took him on publicly for creating a division.
B. Luke, the author of Acts, felt that this taking of the gospel to the Gentiles was of such great importance that he retells the whole story again.
1. You must remember that writing in those days was done on scrolls made of papyrus, and thus, stories were abbreviated as much as possible. The longest scroll would be about 35 feet long, and the book of Acts would have been written on a scroll of that size.
2. This was one of the important milestones of the early church.
3. The calling of God to take the gospel to the Gentiles is repeated for emphasis, to settle any future arguments.
II. PETER REHEARSED FOR THEM THE STORY OF HIS CALLING BY THE LORD "TO GO."
A. He laid out the story in orderly detail.
1. He was in the city of Joppa praying and while in a trance he saw this vision of a sheet tied at the four corners and descending from heaven to him.
2. As he studied it he saw that there were all kinds of animals on it.
3. He then heard a voice saying to him, "Kill and eat."
4. Peter objected declaring that nothing that was common or unclean had ever come into his mouth.
5. The voice then said to him, "Do not call common what God has cleansed."
6. This happened three times, and then the sheet went back up into heaven.
7. At the same time that this happened there were three men at the door who had come from Caesarea asking for him.
B."And the Spirit bade me go with them."
1. Peter is laying the blame fully on the Holy Spirit.
2. He was commanded by the Spirit to go, and not to doubt.
C. These six men went with me and we entered into the man's house.
1. Anticipating that there might be a controversy, Peter brought the six men back to Jerusalem with him that they might bear witness to the truth of Peter's story.
2. Peter confessed, "We went into the man's house."
D. The man told us how that he had seen an angel in his house who instructed him to send men to Joppa and inquire for a man named Simon whose surname is Peter. He will tell you words whereby you and all your house may be saved.
1. The great commission by Jesus to the disciples was:
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
E. Peter continued, and as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
1. Peter is testifying that this was a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit.
a. He went because he was instructed by the spirit to go.
b. While he was speaking, the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as He had come upon them on the day of Pentecost.
c. He is refusing to take any responsibility for what the Lord did.
d. In essence he is saying, your argument is with the Lord.
e. Many times people want to argue with me over a certain scripture. I like to tell them that there argument is not with me, I did not write the scriptures, their argument is with the Lord. I am only telling them what the Lord said.
2. As this was happening Peter was reminded of the word of the Lord to them, when He said: John indeed baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. He thus identifies their experience as the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
a. I believe that this is an important passage, for here Peter is referring to the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
b. When he heard them speaking in tongues, he was reminded of the promise of Jesus of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
3. Much earlier in the ministry of John the Baptist, John had said, "I baptize you with water unto repentance, but there is One coming after me, who is mightier than I, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
a. The scriptures makes a distinction between John baptizing people in water and Jesus baptizing people with the Holy Spirit.
b. In John's baptism you get the idea of being immersed in the water.
c. In the baptism of Jesus in the Spirit, you get the idea of being immersed in the Holy Spirit.
III. FORASMUCH AS GOD GAVE TO THEM THE SAME GIFT THAT HE GAVE TO US.
A. Again He is putting over on to God the total responsibility for what happened. God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us.
B. Who am I, to try to stop God?
1. It is interesting to me that there are many today who are trying to stop God in this area of withholding the gift of the Spirit from the people of God.
2. They refuse to acknowledge the validity of the gifts of the Spirit in the life of the believer today.
C. How foolish it is to try to stop God.
1. He can do what He wants, when He wants, to whom He may want at any time.
2. Mine is not to try to hinder the work that God wants to do in your life, but to encourage you to receive all that God may be wanting to do.
IV. Act 11:18
: WHEN THEY HEARD THESE THINGS, THEY HELD THEIR PEACE, AND GLORIFIED GOD, SAYING, THEN HATH GOD ALSO TO THE GENTILES GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE.
A. Note, they held their peace and glorified God.
B. Here is the official acknowledgment by the church that Gentiles could be saved.
1. However many believed that they could not be saved by faith alone, but by becoming Jews.
2. So this issue will have to be dealt with even later in chapter 15.
C. For the most part, the rest of the book of Acts, except chapter 12, will deal with the work of the Spirit among the Gentiles.
1. God is going to cut off the natural branch and graft into the roots the wild olive branch, the Gentiles.
2. Blindness will happen in part to the Jews, until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.