3.17.19 - Keeping Watch for the Unimaginable (Kenny Camacho)
SCRIPTURE: Acts 9:32-11:18 (11:1-18)
The persecution in Jerusalem continues to send the church further and further into the surrounding communities, ultimately having the opposite of its intended effect: as the disciples go on working miracles and sharing the story of Jesus, the reach of the church only grows! However, no aspect of the expansion of the early church is more important (or more contentious) than the growing conviction to include non-Jews or Gentiles in this “new Temple” of a covenant church family. This week, we will look at the story behind Peter’s declaration to no longer “call anything impure that God has made clean,” and how those words establish a worldwide ministry for the church that extends all the way to our own calling and mission here in Annapolis!
Why do you think the Holy Spirit pairs Peter’s vision with the story about Cornelius? What does Cornelius’s story add to Peter’s growing conviction to include Gentiles in the church?
The vision of the sheet is repeated three times to Peter. Why do you think the text includes this detail? What can we learn from Peter’s behavior throughout this story?
Why do you think the early church was resistant to including Gentiles at first? In what ways do we demonstrate a similar resistance today, and how can we learn from this story?
The biggest theme in our study of the first half of Acts has been that God’s plan is bigger than anyone expects it to be...including the disciples! Have you ever been surprised by what God can do?
Have you ever doubted God’s choice to use the church to accomplish his mission? Do you still doubt it? If not, what carried you through those doubts?
What can we do, as a church family, to love and include others more boldly?