Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Trained To Be Moved By The Spirit

Acts 10:44-48
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 'Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptised with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.' So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. (NIVUK)

The Apostle Peter was on a training course. God was teaching him that Jesus has come to save everybody who would believe in Him, not only Jews. It was a difficult transition for the devout leader of the apostolic group. Like the others, he had been brought up to believe that Israel alone was God's people. Yes, non-Jews could be included if they converted, but otherwise Gentiles (everybody who was not a Jew) would always be excluded.

Peter had responded to the vision God gave him in Joppa just in time to welcome Cornelius' servants. Despite previously believing that it was wrong to go to a Gentile's house, Peter did not hesitate to go. Amazingly, six other Jewish believers went along too (Acts 11:12). Peter had no idea about what would happen. He was certainly not expecting that while he was speaking about Jesus, the Holy Spirit would convict their hearts and give them faith to believe in Jesus.

Neither did he expect that they would experience the same outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the apostles at Pentecost. But when the Gentile Cornelius, with his family and friends, started speaking in tongues and praising God for Jesus it was obvious that something new was happening. He, and the Jewish believers from Joppa, could not doubt that God had also chosen Gentiles to be in His kingdom through Jesus. And so he instructed the brothers from Joppa to baptise them. Those believing Jews were not only witnesses that Gentiles could be saved, but had started to be personally involved in ministering to them.

When God is opening a new door or chapter in your life, He will not usually show you everything at the beginning. First He has to overcome your prejudices. He may move quickly, as with Peter, or slowly - but He always brings us to the point of action at just the right time. Obedience is then the route to growing in faith and enabling others to grow as well. It is important to know that people are not defined by their ethnic or religious background, their gender or social status. Everybody is defined ultimately by how they respond to Jesus and allow themselves to be moved by the Holy Spirit. So when God makes it clear that He wants to involve you in extending His kingdom in a way which is new to you, do not argue – simply obey.

Sovereign Lord. Thank You that You move in Your people, so that we can agree to move with You, in order to help others to move obediently. Forgive me for the times when I have been stubborn and disobedient, failing to accept what You say or do what You command because I thought I knew better. Please help me to be a good learner so that I can be more useful to You and a blessing to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams