Before itemizing a few action points from Acts 11, here are a few of the nut graphs from the message — the most essential statements and paragraphs that summarize this rich text. [You can listen to the entire message here.]
“What God was doing in Acts 10-11 was more than just opening the door to the Gentiles. More correctly and fully, he was opening the door to the Gentiles without the Jewish customs or laws, but now through the Jew – Jesus Christ!”
“Peter would have no doubt stood in God’s way (though unsuccessfully) had he required acceptance of the Jewish law or customs. He would have been adding to God’s work, not attesting to it. He would have become a self-appointed mathematician, not a spirit-called witnesser.”
“This text is, plain and simple, a Gospel story. It’s implications are not about man’s civil rights, but God’s divine reach.”
“What’s unfolding here is not who God accepts, but how God accepts.”
“This passage is about God removing Jewish customs, not Jesus’ conditions. It is textual malpractice — literary hijacking — to impose that false idea upon this text, a flagrant foul upon what Peter actually said and Luke accurately recorded.”
So now what? What do I do because of this text? How do I get out of God’s way, yet be in God’s will? What should be my humble response to the sovereign, redemptive plan God is working?
1. Pray and work for people everywhere to truly know God through Jesus (and not falsely through anything else). False Gospels (i.e., pseudo-truths that make us think we can know God without Jesus) are both deceptive and damning. So pray for the light of the true Gospel to shine brightly! Interestingly, Jesus commanded his disciples, when seeing the ripe harvest, to first and foremost pray for workers to be sent. And Paul echoes the command to, first of all, pray as we behold many who are blinded by our enemy the Devil. Remember — prayer removes obstacles, including our jealousy, bitterness, and envy, like nothing else can! It is our greatest weapon against Satan (Eph 6).
2. Prepare yourself for marginalization and persecution. Tribulation is escalating, and bending the truth or accommodating sin will never prepare us to endure. We think accommodation will be alleviating; in reality, it is actually revealing, showing us where we are most unequipped for battle. Instead of accommodating sinful error, embrace biblical truth. Know what you believe and why you believe it, then stand with a strong spine and a big smile. Remember — preparation proves and soothes us like nothing else can!
3. Worship God and thank him for his long arm of salvation. Acts 10-11 shows unequivocally that our God is a God of missions; a God with a divinely powerful reach to all kinds of people in all kinds of places. After all, he is calling to himself a people from every nation, language, tribe, and tongue for his own glory. So we follow in his footsteps by making missions is our mindset. Why? Because God’s glory is our mandate. Remember — worship moves us like nothing else can!