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Peter: Pork, The Imago Dei & Race

Jun 20, 2021
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Peter: Pork, The Imago Dei & Race
Acts 10 introduces us to Cornelius, a Roman centurion who was a Gentile that accepted Judaism as the way to honor God. One day Cornelius clearly saw an angel of God that told him to send men to Joppa (about 35 miles away) for “Simon who is called Peter”. Cornelius did as the angel said.
During this same time, Peter had a vision that showed a “a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.” The voice of God said to Peter, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Peter said “no” three times to God’s command. This is understandable because Peter is a devout Jew that is following the laws of his people that had been established 1400 years ago. His intentions are good, but it is confusing to him. He was so locked into the traditions of his people and father that he couldn’t even hear the voice of the One who made those traditions.
Cornelius’ people find Peter and he is willing to go with them back to speak to Cornelius. Verse 24 shows us the faith of Cornelius because he “was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.” Peter understands in this moment what God was telling him in his vision, and he shared the gospel with Cornelius and his people. Then we see a Gentile Pentecost moment when the Holy Spirit falls on the Gentiles and they were baptized!
Peter sharing the gospel with these Gentiles was revolutionary! Peter is pushing against centuries of laws and rituals. Up to this point, the church’s biggest problem was making one identity out of Jews and Gentiles. This event is the start of this unity. Unfortunately, we see in Chapter 11 that the first response of the brothers is pushback because they were uncomfortable with the culture and ethnicity of the Gentiles. Peter says, “who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
God loves us because of who He is, not what we do. It’s not about your performance. We must see people the way our Father sees them. Unfortunately, this is hard for us because we don’t see our own value and worth. The ONLY voice that assigns your value is the voice of God.
To Discuss Today:
It is so important for us to understand this message and to love our brothers and sisters in Christ more than our traditions, opinions, ideas, or appearances.
1. Where do you find your identity? When our identity is in Christ, it levels the playing field and makes us Christ-followers first, before anything else.
2. Is there anything in you that stands against God’s desire for Carmel to be welcoming to all people? What does unity look like and how is that different from uniformity? Where has the church taken missteps in this regard?
3. Who have you let assign your value?