Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Now What?

Acts 12:12 KJV
And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

An obvious miracle had taken place. Peter, who had been in prison with James and was awaiting execution just as James had already been, was miraculously rescued.
·       An angel visited him
·       His chains fell off
·       The doors of the prison came open and
·       Peter was led to freedom outside
The event is so outstanding that even Peter thought he must have seen a vision. Sure enough, however, he was free.

Now what to do?

The angel had already departed leaving Peter standing there, in the middle of the night, with no further instructions. Peter, the Bible says, takes the time to consider the thing.
·       He could flee
·       He could go into hiding
He chose instead to go to the house where the church was meeting. He told them what God had done and encouraged them to spread the news.

There is a lesson here for us. When God works in our life the appropriate place to take that news is to our church. Let those who are united with you rejoice with you.

Monday, March 30, 2015

No Longer Common

Acts 11:9 KJV
But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

The Jews were by
·       History
·       Culture and
·       Nature
a prejudiced people.

Their religious convictions tended toward isolation anyway but then their experiences with the surrounding peoples had tended to confirm in their minds that these Gentiles were dogs. They wanted nothing to do with them. They viewed them as they viewed unclean or common meat.
·       Vile
·       Filthy
·       Repulsive
But here is Peter, a Jew, learning a new thing from God. When God has touched it, cleansed it, that thing, be it a type meat or a person, is no longer common.

We too can be pretty prejudiced can't we? That person:
·       Who doesn't measure up to our standards
·       Who has some quirks in their background
·       Who has offended us in some way
We can look at them as we would some type of meal our own culture deems disgusting.

Here is the point; if that one has been cleansed, saved and sanctified by God, they are no longer common. Peter would not have known that God had cleansed Cornelius just yet. He had to reach out to him and minister to him to see what God might do. That one who is on your "common" list might just be the next one you should strive to reach.

Who knows if God might not "cleanse" them and restore your relationship with them?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Urgency in the Gospel

Acts 10:22 KJV
And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

Cornelius was not:
·       Suggested to send for Peter
·       Encouraged to send for Peter
·       Asked to send for Peter or even
·       Urged to send for Peter
He was warned, stressing the urgency and imperative of the Gospel message.

Cornelius was a good man and religious. But these could never have saved him. His only hope of eternal life was in the gospel message of Jesus Christ and his only hope of hearing that was through a man called of God.

The message of God's Word is more than a good thing. It is a needful and imperative thing. Without it no man will enter heaven. Without it a man may be sincere, good hearted and diligent but he will be off base.

God warns us:
·       Find a gospel preacher and

·       Hear him

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Ruler and the Common man

Leviticus 4:22-27 KJV
When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty;
Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering.
And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.
And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.
And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;

The passage deals with sins of ignorance. Once the sin is revealed to the offender he is to make a sacrifice.
·       The whole congregation
·       The ruler of the people
·       The common man
Each could commit such a sin.

I am most interested today in the ruler and the common man.
First I see there is a difference.
For one, they are distinguished by position. One is a ruler and the other common. It would be foolish to ignore the difference in position. God sets some as leaders and rulers.

Secondly there is a difference in sacrifice. The common man was to give a female. The ruler was to give a male. Also the common man had the choice of either kid or lamb, the ruler had no choice.

I don't think the issue here is of value. Any life, all life is valuable. I simply think the issue is of distinction.

What is more impressive to me is the similarity between the sacrifice of the ruler and commoner.

Rulers would do well to regard that, though they have a privileged position, they are still just people. They will one day give an account before God and at that time their position will not cover them but expose them all the more. “To whom much is given much shall be required.”