Trouble Back in Jerusalem
Text: Acts 11:1-18
I. Word quickly spread that the Gentiles had been taught the word of God and had responded to it.
A. The next time Peter came to Jerusalem, Jewish Christians who believed the Old Law was still in effect began to argue with Peter.
1. The accusation was that he associated with unclean people.
2. The Old Law, by the way, stated that the Jews were not to marry people from any of seven nations, but it never stated that the Jews were to avoid these people or not to associate with them. Instead it requires Israelites to treat people with respect.
B. Peter responded with an orderly account of what happened.
1. He told about the vision of the sheet with animals from God
2. He mentioned the arrival of the men from Cornelius at the end of the vision.
3. He told them that the Spirit instructed him to go with these men and that six brethren went with Peter.
4. He reported the vision Cornelius had of the angel and the instructions Cornelius had received from God. Instructions that would bring salvation to his household.
5. He told of the visitation of the Spirit while he was teaching these people.
a. It was unique in that it was what had happened at the beginning.
b. By implication it had not happened since.
c. It reminded Peter of the words of Jesus regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
C. Peter concluded that if God gave Gentiles the gift of the Spirit, he was not going to argue with God.
1. This is why Peter commanded the Gentiles to be baptized.
D. The report stopped the bickering. Instead the people were filled with wonder that God had opened salvation to other nations
1. Notice that hearing, belief, baptism and repentance were all connected with the salvation of Cornelius’ household.
II. Why did God go to so much effort to get Cornelius’ household saved?
A. While God could save directly, he chose to have men teach men the Gospel - I Corinthians 1:21
1. He has not altered that method.
B. The Jews had such a history of prejudice, that it took extraordinary means just to get to the two groups together so the message could be taught.
1. The bias was so great, that God had to give a direct, visible sign so all would know that He wanted the Gentiles accepted into the church.
C. Even so, this did not stop the prejudice. Jewish Christians still tended to isolate themselves from the Gentiles. Some arose demanding that the Gentile converts had to be convert to Judaism as well before they could be saved.
1. These arguments continued for many years.