· Word spread throughout the Jewish region that the non-Jews had responded to the good news
· When Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish Christians criticized him, not for sharing the gospel with Gentile, but breaking the Jewish law by going into a Gentile home and eating with them.
· Peter told what happened from the time he got the vision until the time the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit
· Peter remembered that Jesus said that his followers would receive the Holy Spirit, and if the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit then they were Jesus’ followers
· Peter believed that to oppose this would be to oppose Jesus himself
· The Jewish Christians concluded the same and gave praise to God that the good news included even the Gentiles
· This completes the gospel being established in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the earth. Peter was the key figure in the initial establishment of each of these. Now the history shifts away from the apostles.
· Most of the Christians when persecution hit Jerusalem left and told other Jews about Jesus. However, there were some, who were Jews but from more of an inter-ethnic region, who also took the gospel to the Greeks in Antioch.
· Many folks responded to this message
· When the leaders in Jerusalem heard, they sent leaders to Antioch to see what was happening and possibly if to see they could help
· They chose to send Barnabas, the same guy who had sold property and given all the proceeds to help poor Christians. Barnabas is described as being a good man, as well as full of faith and the Holy Spirit. (These two seem to be a common description for leaders in the early church – full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit)
· God used Barnabas to bring even more folks into the kingdom
· Barnabas went and found Saul and they both returned to Antioch and for a year discipled the new church.
· It was here that the name Christian began to be used for followers of Jesus.
· God trumps tradition. I have to be careful that I don’t make church tradition more important than the movement of God and the work of the Holy Spirit.
· The good news is for everyone, should be freely shared with everyone, and God will surprise you with who responds!
· God uses ordinary people to do extra-ordinary work through.
· God often uses everyday Christians to start a work, and often calls in leaders to support and grow that work
· Ministry is best done in partnership with at least one other follower of Jesus
Forgive me for all the times that I have been so dogmatic about what’s right that I didn’t take the time to discern whether You were working in the situation. Help me discern between truth that is never changing and principles which you choose to change. Father, also forgive me for being selective in who I share with. I have used my own wisdom to decide who may or may not respond to the good news of Jesus my Lord. I know your ways are different than mine. I want to be surprised by those who receive the Word and flourish in it. Please help me here the Holy Spirit more acutely, and freely share with all those you lead me to.
If there is a work you have begun that needs leadership, open my eyes to the situation, and raise up the man or woman who can bring it to maturity. May Trinity Church be marked by this kind of ministry where everyone goes forth and shares the good news, and key leaders help in nurturing and establishing disciples. Show us what that looks like in 2015 Silicon Valley.
In the name of the one whom I worship, Jesus, I pray - AMEN
Posted on Wed, February 18, 2015
by Joel King