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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction

In last week's study titled "God shows no Prejudice" we saw a new wave of the move of the Spirit - away from the traditionalist mind set. A new wave to get the purpose of Christ's death fulfilled - salvation to the whole world!

We saw how "protocol" was bypassed when the Holy Spirit came upon "Gentiles". Today we shall study the reaction of this move and learn a few lessons from what God wanted to achieve and how by His Spirit Peter handled criticism

 

Verses 1-3 [AMP];

The first three verses of this chapter tell us an undeniable truth - "Every Move of the Spirit always triggers varying reactions" The Amplified Bible makes this clearer.

1.      Verse 1:  "NOW THE apostles (special messengers) and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard [with astonishment] that the Gentiles (heathen) also had received and accepted and welcomed the Word of God [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God]."- Acceptance [they were happy to hear that the Gentiles were being saved]. They were excited and were impressed!

 

2.      Verses 2 - 3: "So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party [certain Jewish Christians] found fault with him [separating themselves from him in a hostile spirit, opposing and disputing and contending with him], Saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and [even] eat with them?"- Criticism [instead of seeing the good in what happened, they found faults] they were majoring on the minors. The same still happens today to the point that we miss out on God's blessings!

The fuel behind this fire bothers around pride, selfishness, tradition and religion

Verses 4-16 [AMP];

PETER'S RESPONSE TO CRITICISM

Once again, the Amplified Bible throws the light needed.

Verse 4: "But Peter began [at the beginning] and narrated and explained to them step by step [the whole list of events]. He said:"

Peter narrated the story from the beginning - He explained himself [Read verses 5 - 16]

He revealed how he too fought with the thought of associating with the unclean [Gentiles]

Verse 8: "But I said, No, by no means, Lord; for nothing common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean has ever entered my mouth."[AMP]

And in verse 16, it all made sense to him [WHAT GOD WANTED TO DO]:

"Then I recalled the declaration of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with (be placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit."[AMP]

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM PETER'S RESPONSE?

a)      Humility: It takes humility in a leader to explain their actions. He could have flipped the coin, turned the table over and attack them for condemning him and challenging his authority.

b)      Sincerity: He did not deny that he struggled as well with this move of the Holy Spirit (Verse 8)

c)      Empathy: He knew what they were going through (he's been there).

d)      Wisdom: He knew (by revelation) what they did not know; and with wisdom brought them to the same understanding by his explanation and he then posed a rhetorical question that stilled them in verse 17:

"If then God gave to them the same Gift [equally] as He gave to us when we believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I and what power or authority had I to interfere or hinder or forbid or withstand God?"[AMP]

His final statement left his critics spellbound! It was Luke 21: 15 fulfilled!

 

"For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." [KJV]

The message puts it this way:

"I'll give you the words and wisdom that will reduce all your accusers to stammers and stutters."[MSG]

See verse 18: "When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection." [AMP]

THE RESULT

Verse 18b - "And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection]."[AMP]

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we will consider verse 18 in the MSG version, apply our hearts and learn:

"Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. And then, as it sank in, they started praising God. "It's really happened! God has broken through to the other nations, opened them up to Life!"[MSG]

Peter did not feel threatened when he was challenged, hence he did not lash back at his accusers. Let's come aside for a while, what if Peter did not handle the situation humbly and wisely? The enemy would have used the foothold given to him and created a stronghold of disunity, they would have missed the opportunity to praise God, failed to realise what God was doing and completely derailed from the move of the Spirit.  

 

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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