In Acts Chapter 10, God took the reins from the apostles and completely took over. He brought them up to speed quickly with where He was and with what Jesus was doing. Up until then, only Jews and some Samaritans were getting saved, but Gentiles? No, they were totally left out.
I shared this story and its unfolding drama in our Sunday, August 18th services and would encourage you to watch again to see the beauty and grandeur of the Lord’s heart to save all. I know I for one am thinking too small.
God Took Over.
Peter’s shift happened in a vision inside a trance. Now, a trance is not like what we have seen in the movies; instead, it’s being under the influence of the Holy Spirit where we see what we have not been able to see before. In Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word for “trance” means “a displacement of the mind, bewilderment, or ‘ecstasy.’” I know I have misplaced my mind a few times, but when the Lord comes, He tends to displace my mind so I can see a new thought.
That’s what happened to Peter because next thing he knew, he saw a great sheet bound to the earth at its four corners, with all kinds of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air, coming down from heaven. Basically, he saw a sheet full of unclean untouchable, and unlawful creatures. Next, Peter hears, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Acts 10:13b, NKJV).
Peter Says “No.”
Peter’s response was a big “NO”. He said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (Acts 10:14). New thoughts are hard to see and hear; they are sent away because they do not fit the grid we have always known. Peter said, “No.” God then spoke a second time: “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (Acts 10:15). This exchange was done three times total. Peter kept seeing, hearing, but refusing, while God reproved and continued to introduce a new thought to him in the Spirit.
God loves to work in our context.
Peter was praying; that’s a good thing. Peter became hungry, so Heaven’s food truck was right on time! After the vision, Peter was left wondering. Wonderment, by the way, is an awesome, childlike quality that allows an experience to continue without us having to make a decision about it.
Wonderment was the first response to the Lord’s intervention in Peter’s faith. While Peter was wondering, the three men sent by Cornelius arrived and were looking for Peter. The Spirit took this moment to inform Peter of their arrival, to instruct him to go and greet them, and “not to doubt.” The Holy Spirit then said, “For I have sent them” (Acts 10:20). God is so good to put content into our context and to tell us first what not to do.
“Doubt nothing.” Doubt is the mind separating and dividing. Doubt is dismissing a new thought or journey (just like the one Peter was embarking on) before we can even get started.
God has shown me.
Peter arrived at Cornelius’ house without all the pieces put together, but he gave place to the reproof of God. He stated the obvious to Cornelius while he also gave place to this new thought: “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
Peter entertained and gave place to the word of the Lord, and by the time he heard Cornelius’ experience, the revelation of Jesus came like the day dawning. Peter perceived! “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality’” (Acts 10:34).
The Tipping Point.
THIS was the tipping point, when all the pieces started rushing together –like when you find the last hidden piece of a puzzle and suddenly, all the pieces come together to form a beautiful picture. Peter preached Jesus, so by the time he declared, “Jesus saves!” everyone in the room got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit! These are the last words Peter could speak, and they were the very words Cornelius and his household needed to hear: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name [Jesus] whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).
Bam! While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word: “And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, [water baptism] that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’” (Acts 10:45-47).
Holy Spirit for ALL!
The rest is history! But there is still so much more to come, and it will be just as amazing as this moment, as the Holy Spirit brings the Body of Christ into experiential truth that we cannot currently think or see. The good news is that the same Holy Spirit is here to help so that we see and perceive all the glorious salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ in truth!
I think I am going to go pray now; I am getting very hungry….