The title for this sermon is Objections From Within The Church
Our text for this sermon comes from the Book of Acts 11:1-18.
vs. 1-3 It is not the apostles and the brothers that have objections that God by his grace allowed the gentiles to be saved and become members of the church. The objections were brought up by the “circumcision party”.
The “circumcision party” are a group of strict Jewish Christians most likely from a Pharisaic background. They were taught by the pharisees in the temple. They probably held to the position that if the Gentiles wanted to become Christians they should also be converts to Judaism which required circumcision and strict adherence to the law.
- The pastor does what God wants him to and then some in the church have a problem with it.
- The problem is that they did not want what God wanted. They wanted what they wanted.
- If they are going to be with us, they need to act like us, dress like us, eat like us, follow our rules, and conform to our ways.
- That is legalism. Jesus is not about legalism. Jesus is not about religion.
This “circumcision party” comes from a background that hated Gentiles. It is possible that they were angry that God allowed these Gentiles into his kingdom.
- In a moment of anger, have you ever hoped that God would not save somebody – repent.
- In a moment of insecurity or jealously have you ever wished that God would not save somebody – repent.
- Who will you not talk to because you don’t like them? Who will you not talk to because they are not like you?
- Your justification and rationalization for not talking about Jesus or sharing the gospel is both selfish and idolatrous.
- It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus.
The “circumcision party” attacked Peter, accusing him of eating with the Gentiles. This was a big deal. The table is a place where bonds are made between family and friends. They did not understand why Peter would want to share food and conversation at a table where Gentiles ate.
- There are too many people who are eating alone. They sit at tables with little to no food and they sit alone. These people need to be brought in to sit at our tables and have food and conversation that both celebrates and points to Jesus.
vs. 4-14 Peter retells the events of what had happened to him and Cornelius.
vs. 15-18 Peter reminds them of Pentecost. “Do you remember? We were praying and I preached and the Holy Spirit just showed up and we had 3,000 people get saved. We had a huge baptismal celebration. God poured out the Holy Spirit on them!
- God wants to do work. Are you standing in the way?
Has God told you to be a light in your dark workplace or your dark school? But you find more satisfaction in complaining about those you work with than being the light God called you to be. Have you exchanged boldness and confidence for fear? Are you afraid that you would be the one people made fun of? It is better to be talked about or made fun of then for you to call yourself a Christian and be ashamed of the gospel.
We take for granted that Gentiles can become Christians through Jesus. It was an astounding revelation for these Jewish Christians at that time that God has granted repentance to the Gentiles.
God is in the business of reconciliation. He started with the Jews and now that same reconciliation is spreading to the Gentiles. God wants to use us as agents of reconciliation. As you begin to talk about Jesus, God will reconcile people to himself, one life at a time.