And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell
upon them just as it had upon us at the
beginning. And I remembered the word of the
Lord, how he had said, “John baptized you with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy
Spirit.” If then God gave them the same gift that
he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”
Acts 11:15-17

Acts 11:1-18

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“Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

This is the question the believers in Judea asked Peter when they heard he had committed the taboo act of eating with “them”.

Peter responds by retelling the story of the visions he and Cornelius had and how by listening to and obeying the voice of the Spirit, a new aspect of God’s dream for the world has been revealed.

He told them, “I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized you with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’”

It’s almost as if Peter is saying, “I know, I know. A few days ago, I would never have believed that “those people” could also be God’s people. But I have seen with my own eyes God’s Spirit at work in their lives just like the Spirit is at work in our lives. God is doing something new.”

God is creating a new Christ-centered community that is widely diverse and wildly inclusive. As we read the rest of Acts, we will discover that this new reality is something the church struggles to live into.

Not only did the early church struggle to live into this new vision it is something the church continues to struggle with.

Thank God the Spirit is still at work!

What groups or types of people do you have a hard time believing could also be God’s people?

Ask God to soften your heart and open your eyes so that, like Peter, you can discover the ways God is at work in the lives of the people you struggle to relate to.

You may want to spend time meditating on Revelation 7:9-10 (see below) and asking God how you can help your church on earth become more and more like the church as it is in heaven.

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!”