SERIES: The Book of Acts

TEXT: Acts 11:1-18

MESSAGE: “A United Church”

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“…the closer we all are to Jesus, the less significant the labels that divided us. We therefore face a common challenge as followers of Jesus in the advanced modern world. It is, I believe, that we trust in God and his gospel and move out confidently into the world, living for a new Christian renaissance, and thus challenge the darkness with the hope of Christian faith, believing in an outcome that lies beyond the horizon of all we can see and accomplish today.” — Os Guinness

Q: What needed to happen for the church to be united around God’s vision? 

There are three insights that we see in today’s text. 

It’s by…(1. Addressing Personal Pride 2. Seeing God’s Work 3. Rejoicing in God)

      1. Addressing Personal Pride (v. 1-4)

“The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story…”

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” — James 4:1-2

      2. Seeing God’s Work (v. 15-16)

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

“Peter’s point is that God directed the entire event and that this divine blessing has come to the Gentiles without them being circumcised.” – Darrell Bock

      3. Rejoicing in God (v. 17-18)

So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” — Romans 11:33

“The hardest part about grace – swallowing our pride and saying, ‘I don’t deserve this any more than that criminal does.” — Randy Alcorn

TAKEAWAYS: We must remember…

  • Pride Is Deceptive
  • God Is Ultimate

“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that – and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison – you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” — CS Lewis

  • Grace Is Astounding

“To live by grace is to live solely by the merit of Jesus Christ. To live by grace is to base my entire relationship with God, including my acceptance and standing with Him, on my union with Christ.” — Jerry Bridges

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” — Ephesians 2:11-13