Obstacles to His Mission

At first, Peter resisted the prompting of the Holy Spirit to mingle with the unclean, but in the end he listened and obeyed. He came to the realization that his vision was not really about bacon and shellfish, but about people. When Peter witnessed God saving the Gentiles, those unclean outsiders, he realized his prejudice could become a barrier to these people. Who am I to stand in God’s way, he wondered? Have you ever considered you might be in the way of God reaching other people? As a follower of Christ, that might be a difficult thing to ponder, for we view ourselves as part of the family. This is true, but the shadow side is when we start drawing lines of distinction to guard our privilege to the exclusion of ‘outsiders.’ God is on the move, he’s out ahead of us working to restore all people to himself, but sometimes we become obstacles to his mission. Like driver’s hanging out in the left lane slowing down traffic, we are sometimes impediments to progress. Let’s make an intentional effort to get out of God’s way and participate with him in sharing the Good News.

Acts 11:1-18

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: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

“Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’

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

Watch This Week’s Sermon: Getting Out of God’s Way