ESOCS Devotional 14 June 2023
MEMORY VERSE: “But the voice answered me again from heaven, what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
TEXT: ACTS 11:1-18
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].
2 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],
3 Saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and [even] eat with them?
4 But Peter began [at the beginning] and narrated and explained to them step by step [the whole list of events]. He said:
5 I was in the town of Joppa praying, and [falling] in a trance I saw a vision of something coming down from heaven, like a huge sheet lowered by the four corners; and it descended until it came to me.
6 Gazing intently and closely at it, I observed in it [a variety of] four-footed animals and wild beasts and reptiles of the earth and birds of the air,
7 And I heard a voice saying to me, Get up, Peter; kill and eat.
8 But I said, No, by no means, Lord; for nothing common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean has ever entered my mouth.
9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, do not you defile and profane by regarding or calling it common or unhallowed or unclean.
10 This occurred three times, and then all was drawn up again into heaven.
11 And right then the three men sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house in which we were.
12 And the [Holy] Spirit instructed me to accompany them without [the least] hesitation ormisgivings or discrimination. So these six brethren accompanied me also, and we went into the man’s house.
13 And he related to us how he had seen the angel in his house which stood and said to him, Send men to Joppa and bring Simon who is surnamed Peter;
14 He will give and explain to you a message by means of which you and all your household [as well] will be saved [from eternal death].
15 When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning.
16 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.
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 orauthority had I to interfere or hinder or forbid or withstand God?
18 When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection. And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection].
The book of Titus 1:15 – 16 says, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work, reprobate”. As used in his defense when the brethren contended with him for mixing up with people who were referred to as sinners (vv. 2-3), God had earlier warned Peter in Acts 10:15 (thrice) that what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common (unclean). Paul further buttressed this point in Colossians 2:13-14, where he admonished that “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross”. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, but Christ is all in all.
In the present-day church, where we have cliques and gangs (not working groups or known Bands/Association/Societies), the admonitions of Peter and Paul to the early Church should be resonation across the modern church. Formation of cliques has led to the existence of discrimination, disobedience to constituted authorities, and increase in carnality, etc. It eventually divides the Church, where we play together with divided minds and hearts lacking love for one another. Do we expect our prayers to be answered as a global Church where every Christian sect sees themselves as more superior to the other? Christ is not divided and He came to die for all.
There should not be discrimination of any kind amongst the children of God.
- Would you be happy to see someone discriminating against you? If no, then show empathy.
- Pray God to grant you the spirit of Love to everyone around you.
FURTHER READING: Ezekiel 2:1-7; 34:11-16; John 21:15 –25
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ESOCS Devotional 14 June 2023