If you have listened to my sermons over the last couple of weeks, this text sounds very familiar. It sounded so familiar to me, it got me thinking that I should have some recollection of what is basically the same text, being preached over and over again for weeks. I searched my memory, I dug out old bibles where I noted the date a text was preached, I went through my husband’s sermons, and I looked through my own. Nada! I couldn’t find anywhere that Acts 10 through 11 had been preached consecutively.
I can kind of understand why. It could seem redundant or even boring not only to the congregation, but also to the preacher. However, I have to admit that bored is the last thing I feel as I reading and studying this even if I am reading and studying it over and over again.
If we consider the entirety of Acts that we have looked at up to now, we can see that Luke has actually shown us the same thing over and over again already. There is a basic theme running throughout what we have already looked at.
Luke is telling us about the growth of the early church. One of the biggest hurdles to growth was overcoming the prejudices that hindered the spread of the Gospel. However, from the election of the Hellenized Jews in chapter six, to the outreach to the Samaritans and the eunuch, Luke has been preparing his readers to hear, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
As we see from our text though, many still needed to hear it.
Sunday, November 6
1 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Thank you, Lord, for your plan to make salvation available to all who have faith in your Son, Jesus. Give us the courage to accept the task you give us. Let us break traditions when we need to and stand for those that need to hear about your love. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.
Monday, November 7
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ 8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
Help us, Lord, remember the lesson that you showed Peter; your teaching that shows us that we are to reach out to all people without prejudice. Our job, as your disciples, is to reach out to those who are your creation created in your image. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
Tuesday, November 8
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. 11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.
Father, thank you for your Spirit that continuously calls us to repentance. It is only through your Spirit that we can learn your truth. It is only through your Spirit that our Spirits receive soothing and calmness in troubled times. Help us hear your Spirit when He calls us to a life with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
Wednesday, November 9
13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’ 15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.
Lord, thank you for Jesus. Our relationship with you begins with faith in Him. When we speak Jesus send your Spirit not only to those we speak to, but also our own self. May the guidance of your Spirit lead us to produce the fruits of your Spirit. I pray especially for gentleness in our speech and in our manner. The battle doesn’t belong to us Father, it belongs to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Thursday, November 10
16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
Dearest Lord, may we ask ourselves the same question that Peter asked himself. It is not for us to decide who you can call to yourself; it is for us to introduce others to Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have gotten your way. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen
Friday, November 11
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Father God, you call all peoples to come to you in faith and repentance. May we open ourselves up to the vastness of your vision for your kingdom. Help us remember that your ways are different from ours; your ways are higher than ours and there is much that we don’t know or understand. But we do know that a relationship with you begins with faith and hope in you. Let your Spirit speak to us and show us your ways Lord. In the name of Christ alone, Amen
Saturday, November 12
Father, we put our hope in you! (Psalm 42:5) Thank you for another day to see your glorious world. Thank you for the opportunities you gave us this week to tell others about our Savior. Forgive us for the times we missed, and help us in the coming week to hear your Spirit so that we won’t miss any chance to witness others. We lift up our speaker tomorrow; may they speak your truth with grace. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.