Not only were there major problems within the church in Acts, but there are major problems in the Church (all believers in Jesus Christ worldwide) still today. We learn in Acts 10:1-43 how the gospel is taken to the Gentiles by Peter, but even greater we learn the importance of unity and equality within the church. We are to never devoid someone’s worth by our own standards, yet we often fall prey to this type of thinking. Let us be folks who love the Word of God (like Cornelius) and are willing to go love (like Peter) those whom God has placed us around no matter their status or background.
- For far too long in American history, the Church used the bible to justify slavery as an economic need. While our country has made strides to correct these unbiblical beliefs, the Church also has a ways to go. Separation in the Church is an offense to God, and we must see it this way too (Acts 10:28,34-35). Use the example of Cornelius (Gentile soldier) and Peter (Jewish apostle) to consider what you might have done with someone so vastly different from you. Do you see every human being as made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)? Is there someone or some group of people whom you look at as less equal than you? What actions/behaviors in your life would affirm your answer? Read this brief article for more insight into how the church can play a role in racial reconciliation.
- From Acts 10:33 Todd points out a key observation about Cornelius’ posture and humility around Peter. He says, “Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” When you are around those who know, love, and follow Christ, are you setting yourself up with a posture like Cornelius to learn and be challenged by them? Do you see your community group as this type of provision in your life (Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Timothy 4:2)? What is your typical response when someone tells you something that is true, but you might not want to hear (Proverbs 27:6)?
- When you know of people who have no knowledge of Him, godly people waste no time to go after, love, and share the gospel with them. Acts 10:19-23 reveals how Peter didn’t know anything about how to specifically share the gospel with these Gentiles, but God went before him. We are to go where God sends us “without hesitation” (Acts 10:20). Are you in a season of waiting, wondering, or wandering? Are you spending time with God, seeking Him, to know where He is leading you? If not, what specific ways can your community group help you with this?
- Nobody in the bible goes to hell because they rejected a Jesus they never knew. People end up in eternal separation from God because of their own foolish hearts, darkened to the truth that has been clearly revealed to them (Romans 1:18-21). We need to seek God for who He is and not for who we want Him to be. Have you created a god in your image? A feel-good god that accepts you for how you want to live? Do others around you see the one true God more clearly because of your belief in Him or does your life have a tendancy to often distort that view?