Friday, July 12 2024

Bible Reading for: July 10

Acts 10:9–33

As a Christian, God has grown you; God is growing you; God will grow you. He will teach you every step of the way. You must learn and live your lesson.

I’ve mentioned many times in the past that we Christians don’t save people.  God calls who He will to Himself, and He prepares those folks to hear the Gospel through the working of His Holy Spirit.  We are to be faithful in sharing the Gospel; God will take care of the rest.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?  God prepares the sinner?  Did you ever stop to think that God prepares the saint as well?

Are you growing into a mature Christian?  Brothers, I don’t think any of us finish that growth until our time here on Earth is through.  I believe that God grows us through our obedience to His call on our life.  As we do what He tells us to do, we learn more about Him and ourselves in Him.  In today’s reading, we see God preparing Peter for the next step in his spiritual growth.

Jews did not sit down to eat with Gentiles.  They did not allow Gentiles into their house.  They did not associate with Gentiles.  Gentiles were unclean.  Up to this point in the development of the Church, it was thought that a Gentile had to first become a Jew before He could submit his life to Christ.  He had to learn Jewish Law and customs, and he had to be circumcised.  Today we know that God didn’t intend it to work that way, but the Church was in its infancy, and the leaders thereof did not fully grasp God’s will.  That is why God had to reveal His will to Peter.

He did this by giving him a dream about unclean food.  God gave Peter a dream of a sheet coming down from Heaven with all kinds of unclean animals on it.  God told Peter to kill and eat.  He repeated this dream three times.  Peter thought God was testing him.  He said “Lord you know I can’t do that.  Your Law strictly forbids it.”  Now we are talking about food, but God is teaching a bigger lesson.  If God says something is clean, then it is clean.  God was using the food as an analogy for people.  As Peter was puzzling over this, some Gentile men came looking for him.  How many men?  Three men.  Do you see the connection?  Dream of unclean food repeated three times – three unclean men arrive to speak with him.  Just to be clear, God instructed Peter to go down to speak with these men – these Gentiles.

What God was teaching Peter was Earth-shattering.  This went against everything Peter understood about his “religion”.  Still Peter figured out what God was saying.  He not only went out to speak with these men, but he invited them to stay with him.  Peter made the connection.  God has created a new covenant, and Gentiles were no longer unclean.

Now this is not the first instance of Peter coming to understand the fact of this new covenant.  Did you notice where Peter was living?  He was living at a tanner’s home.  A tanner works with animal skins.  To work with animal skins, you have to touch dead animals – or at least parts of dead animals.  The tanner would have been considered unclean by Mosaic Law, and anyone who stayed in his house would become unclean as well.

God had been growing Peter; He is growing Peter; and He will continue growing Peter.  Later Peter will show that he hasn’t completely learned his lesson because, when he hears that Jews are coming to visit, he cuts off contact with the Gentile Christians for fear of what the Jewish Christians might think.  Paul took Peter to task for this mistake, and Peter eventually grew even more.

Brothers, I suspect you don’t know everything, and I am certain I don’t.  God keeps teaching and growing me – and boy do I have a lot of growing to do.  The wonderful thing is, God will get me there.  He will get you there too.  Our spiritual growth does not depend on us.  God will do the teaching we just have to listen and obey.  What is God trying to teach you these days?  Are you listening?  Are you getting it?  If not, maybe you need to slow down; schedule some more time with God in Bible study and in prayer.  Whatever you discover God is teaching you, learn and live your lesson.

Victorem Vivere! (Live Victorious!)

Your brother and servant in Christ,
Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Reading Plans
Bible Order: Psalms 132-137
Chronological Order: Isaiah 1-4
Old Testament Only: Ezra 3–6

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