Scattered: Week 4
That prayer. Amen. So good. So good. I'm so glad you're here. If you're online, you glad that you're there. We're in a series, the book of acts, story of the church. It's your story. You're a part of this story. Even if this is your first time in a church, you're part of the story because this story begins when the church began and of course there's all sorts of amazing things that happened in the book of acts, but it tells us a little bit about our history and helps us understand how God wants us to be in this world with the people that are around us and why it matters so much, and if you're in the reading guide and I hope you are, you're just kind of reading through it, I mean you'll get so much more if you will just kind of take some time, a few minutes every day just to read along.
Then you will be up to speed and then we'll get to talk about it on the weekend, right? This is the whole point of you being a daily disciple. What that's all about. Then you read acts chapter 10 this week and some of 11 and this seismic shift that happens in the early church. Now let me just kind of warn yet the stories weird involves visions, involves different people, involves a gentile and a Jew, and it's just kind of nutty. It's outside our experience and less visions are common in your life. If so, we should chat about that, but this is a strange thing that happens. And so what occurs practically speaking, however, is a really big deal and it is, uh, it changed the church throughout history from this moment on. And so we'll jump in and just a moment acts chapter 10. You can open up your Bible or scroll on your device or whatever, but let's start with this little Emoji that we've got on the screen right here.
This is from a series that we did a couple of years ago called, those are not my people and stuff. You remember that series? Do you remember some of the things we talked about? And here's, here's the thing, that's what we'll let this little Emoji of here represent me or it represents you. That's really, of course your deal and this is who we are and we all have a circle that's around us and we all have people that will sprinkle some folks around the screen here magically. There we go, and we all have people that are in our circle and people that are outside of our circle and the people that are in our circle, we would say, well, those were my people and the people outside will say, not really my people and we all know at least something about why that's the case.
Sometimes it's because of where they live or who they belong to or how they live and we could go on and the list is forever. Some of you will spend some time this weekend down at Parker days and you'll take it as an opportunity, maybe the one time in the year when you'll eat a funnel cake, right, and it's incredible. Or your eat, your fried Oreo or your fried twinkie or whatever it is you're going to do. Or a Turkey leg. Does anybody eat Turkey legs other than during? Yeah. Very good. All the time for you, sir. Very good, so you're gonna walk down there and you're going to see some people and they're, they're going to be having fun and they're going to be dressed a certain way or acting a certain way or doing a certain thing and some of you are going to see them.
You're going to think, oh, there they are. Those are my people, and you're going to kind of hang with them or maybe gravitate toward what they're doing. This is who you are and this is how it is, and then you're going to turn around the corner or walk down a different side street and you're going to see some folks that you're going to think, oh my gosh, not my people. Look at them, who let them out of the house dress like that. I can't believe that. That's just, Ah, why would they act that way? Do they understand the republic? This is crazy and this is the moment when you see this divide. There's a line sometimes this line, this the circle around us and our people and we have people on the outside of it. Sometimes it's about behavior or choices or beliefs or ideas.
Sometimes it's about faith. Sometimes it's about the things that we hold dear to us. Sometimes it's about the choices we've made in our past or the choices we would make in our future. So let me ask you this, just a thoughtful question as we get into this text and what happens in this moment in the life of the church. How many of you just be thoughtful and we're gonna. You're gonna. Raise your hand just a minute, so just be ready. How many of you have ever been in a setting at work or church, neighborhood, maybe even in your own family and you have felt distinctly and purposefully on the outside of the circle? How many of you have ever felt that way? Let me see your hands. Okay? Put them up high. Look around. You're not alone. Okay. Here's another question. It's a little harder and I'm gonna ask you to raise your hand just as high for this one too.
How many of you have ever engaged in a social circle, a social setting with your friends or what have you? Same qualifiers, work, home, neighborhood, whatever, and you have on purpose decided to try to keep someone outside the circle. Let me see your hands. Come on, put 'em up. Confession is good for the soul. I've been on the outside looking in and there's a set of feelings that goes along with that. I've also been on the outside and the on the inside trying to keep people out and there's a set of behaviors and feelings and choices to go along with that to what happens in acts chapter 10, changes everything and it doesn't change it instantly, but it changes the rules instantly and the church is still trying to figure it out and you and I are a part of it. This is why. This is why the stories in scripture so real and powerful and why they matter to us.
So I told you it was weird. It's buckle up for a moment and we'll get through it. Okay. Acts Chapter 10 starts with verse one at Cesarea, the city named after Caesar Augustus. It's a very Roman, very gentile city, is hostile to Jews. Some amazing lore about how difficult and painful they are for Jewish people than Cesarea accessory Cesarea. There was a man named Cornelius Cornelius. He was a centurion in what was known as the Italian regiment. He was a Roman soldier. He had a very specific job. He was over a battalion of men. Anybody want to guess how many men? He was over 100. Why? They called him a centurion, right, and so now we're putting these pieces together. He had some authority and he led these men. Luke goes on to say this, he and all his family were devout and God fearing what this means is that they loved God and they were not just fearful of God.
This is a. This is a name. It's a label God firor, and this is a label or a name or a category that some gentiles were in. They were considered to be God fearers, and here's what it means. It means that they were sympathizers to Jewish beliefs. They believed most of what Jews believe. They did. Some of the practices that some of the Jewish people were engaged in, they had not become full Jewish. Converts for men, becoming a full Jewish convert was a pretty costly experience, and so you can google that all day and figure out why that is not for today. God fearers, they were close to being Jewish and he gave generously to those in need and he prayed to God regularly. This is who cornelius was. These two things described his life. He had compassion for people around him and he used his resources to take care of others.
This is a big deal. This is evidence that what is happening on the inside affects his lifestyle and his choices and his money. This is true for every one of you in here. This a Jesus follower. It will show up somewhere somehow some way, but that's not all. He wasn't just compassionate for his fellow people. He had a connection with God and he talked with God on a regular basis like many of you do, and this describes cornelius. Here's what happens to Cornelius and his family one day at about three in the afternoon, a very specific time of prayer for people who are God fearers because they engage in some Jewish practices. Three in the afternoon, he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God who came to him and said, Cornelius, and you know what happens when an angel shows up and knows your name? He was afraid. He was afraid, and so this is what it says, Cornelia at him and fear, and he said, what is it, Lord? It's a good question. When an angel shows up, if you have a vision in the middle of the afternoon, it an angel calls you by name. You should say, what do you want?
I'll do it. What is it? And this is the posture that cornelius takes. What's he afraid of? Well, come on. When an angel shows up, it's not your average Tuesday is it? Something's about to shift. Something is going to change, and change of course, brings about fear, and this fear is real because we love normal, don't we? We love what we're used to, but coordinate this with openhand says, what is it, Lord? The Angel says, Cornelius, your prayers have been heard by God. He sees the gifts that you've given to the poor and he's paying attention to you. This isn't just true according to aliens is true of you too. Some of you this week in your homes or your cube or your office or your car, you prayed some things to God and you need to know that what happened to Cornelius is not unique.
God sees you to. He also knows your name and he knows what you desire and God is working on your behalf. Not necessarily give you what you want. I mean, come on. We know better. We're older than that. He's not Santa Claus, but we do know this, that God loves you and he wants to meet you at your greatest point of need and he will, and he does and he is faithful. So the angel said to coordinate les, he said, look, there's a man is. He's called Simon, but his name is Peter and he's in a city called Java and he's down there. He staying with a man called Simon the tanner. I want you to send some of your men to go and get him.
And so that's exactly what coordinator he is. Did he gathered some of his men? I mean, he has 100 to pick from, right, and he sent a few of them to Joppa to get this man named Peter Than Luke Brings Peter into the story and he's going to tell this from both sides and here's what you ought to catch from this. Whenever there's a problem, when there's an issue, whenever God is on the move and doing a thing, he's going to work an issue from multiple angles because God knows all of your names. He is at work in all of your lives. He is at work in so many ways. Many ways that we don't even fathom or have any consciousness of God is at work. He shows up to see coordinator, yes, and then on the very next day he shows up to talk with Peter because this is a problem that God is going to attack from both angles and here's what happens with Peter about noon the following day is they were on their journey is Peter, so his friends, disciples of Jesus is they were on their journey and approaching the city.
We know a city that is. It's JOPPA. That's where he's headed. The Angel already told Cornelius when Peter would be peter went up on the roof to pray and you've seen houses, pictures of houses like this, as this staircase on the outside doesn't even go in. The house, just leads right up to the roof. This is where Peter was middle of the day. He's praying and here's what happens. Okay? He became hungry. I mean it's lunchtime, right? And wanted something to eat and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. This happens to me all the time when I'm hungry, just fall into a bit of a trance. This is not what's happening with Peter though. This is a strange and holy moment. This trance of course is opportunity for God to Peter at a place where he is going to be changed from the inside out and in the middle of this day, Peter on the roof praying in a trance.
Here's what occurs. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet was being let down to earth by its four corners. You can picture this, right? I mean, you don't even need to be in a trance to imagine this, right? This large sheet was being let down and then here's what happens. This is what Peter Sees. It contained all kinds. How many kinds. Now you said that like you don't even know. It says it right in front of you. How many kinds? All kinds. Literally, all kinds, probably proverbial all kinds of four footed animals as well as reptiles and birds and some of the things Peter saw in his vision in this sheet is it's being let down from heaven. Some of these things Peter had enjoyed as a part of his dinner when somebody made it in some delicious way and he ate it because it was permitted and it was clean and it was kosher, but some Peter wouldn't even touch because for a Jewish person, some of these animals are unclean and impure and he's not allowed to even really get near them, and so all of these animals are mixed in together and Peter is just looking at this zoo in the middle of this sheet in the middle of the day while he's in a trance.
I told you it was a little weird and then here's what happens next. Then a voice told him, get up Peter, kill and eat. Pay Attention. The voice said again to him. A voice said, get up Peter, kill and eat. It's kind of unfair, isn't it? I mean Peter's hungry. You make awful decisions when you're hungry. So do I, and he's sitting on this roof. Somebody is down in the house cooking lunch and it's wasting up to him and his tummy is rumbly and now he sees all these animals. Some of them he's not even allowed to touch, let alone eat. And yet in the middle of his hunger, God says, get up, kill and eat. And think about this vision. All these animals in this sheet seen by Peter. I mean thinking about what's there. Some clean, some unclean. I'm certain there was a pig in the sheet. I'm certain there was some pork up there and Peter's thinking, I can't touch this. I can't even get near it. And just stop and think about this for a moment. Peter had never tried bacon.
Just a moment of silence for Bacon. Oh my gosh, how unfair would that be? He's thinking, can I have bacon? I can't have making them not allowed, but God just said, Oh, I want bacon psych my day. Every Saturday, right? Bacon, Peter Unfair. Think about it. Get up Peter, kill and eat. Then Peter says this to the voice, surely not Lord. How ironic is that? We don't just sound like Peter. God told him what to do, and Peter says, nope, not gonna do it. This happened all the time, right? Peter is telling Jesus what to do when he's washing his feet and Peter says, you cannot wash my feet. And Jesus says, well then I have no part with you. Peter says, oh, they watched my whole body and I'm sure Jesus thought, right. Who's in charge here? Peter, just be still while wash your feet and now God says to him the context of the vision, get up, kill and eat, and Peter looks at him and says, surely not.
And he follows it up with this. Of course, overarching word, Lord, look, I know you're in charge, but I'm not going to do what you want. I know what you said, but the answer is no, am I lord or not, and this is where we find ourselves with God when he sends us down a path and we're wondering about obedience. Am I lord or not? Now this change that is about to happen is much more important than what Peter is going to have for dinner. This is just the beginning. This is just sort of the introduction to the shift that's occurring in the life of everyone who calls the church their church.
Not long ago, we spent some time in Kentucky with family and it's probably my age, but now every time I get around somebody that's at least 20 years older than me, I have lots of questions. I want to know what happened with GRANDPA. What was he like? What decisions did he make? Where did he serve in the service? Where did he find himself? Why? Because I want to know the history and I see the history of my family just sort of slipping away. Anybody like this? Anybody see this? You find yourself at a funeral or a family reunion and it is all about what has come before you and every now and then you'll get a little glimpse of what's happened in your family long before somebody will tell a story and you've found yourself doing the same thing you thought I had no idea that happened and you think, ah, now it makes sense why dad is the way he is, or now it makes sense.
Why I am the way I am. This history paints a tapestry because we are all connected. So to help you understand just a little bit about Peter, let me take you back into Jewish thinking just for a moment. Take you back to the book of Leviticus. Okay. Five versus it just makes fits to do it on my last Sunday to do leviticus. Now you'd be like, good. He's gone. Right? And so just five verses give you a glimpse of why Peter feels the way he does and how deeply ingrained it is because who peter is wasn't developed overnight. Peter thinks what he thinks and feels what he feels because he is deeply, his family is deeply Jewish and this is the same way with you and your family. You're deeply from the south or you're a Colorado native. All of these things are true over time.
People are people. So back to leviticus. Here's a picture of what's getting undone in acts chapter 10. Here's what God says, keep all my decrees and laws and follow them so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. There's a picture. You can keep that with you for the rest of the day, but if you've ever seen anybody vomit, I'm pretty sure none of us have seen a nation vomit. I'm pretty sure it's whatever you've seen times a million, right? This is a picture. In other words, God is saying what you're doing and how you live is really, really important, and if you want to move into the promised land, there are some things that you must do, some ways that you must believe and some ways that you must live, and so he says this, so you must not live according to the customs of the nations.
I am going to drive out before you, so do you understand that in the promised land there were other nations, God raised up. Abraham made a promise. I will bless you. Bless all the world through you to Abraham, I will build a nation. This nation is Israel and God wants a very unique relationship with Israel. He is calling them out to be a very unique nation, a very separate nation, and he is using Israel to show us what it means to have a relationship with God. Even in the Old Testament and God is saying there are people that live there now. I don't like the way they're living. They know better too. It's written on their heart to their being disobedient. It's not that they don't know and I'm going to drive them out and I'm going to give this land to you, Israel, drive them out before you because they did all these things and I abor them.
Then he goes on to say this, but I said to you, you will possess their land and I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey. This is the land that I will give to you. Why I am the Lord your God. He says, who has set you apart from the other nations? This is part of the reason why, and then he gives him details in details of instructions. Here's a piece of it. These are five versus put together in Leviticus. You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. What are those distinctions? Then why would God care and isn't it okay for us to eat anything? Leviticus, deuteronomy, give all kinds of details about why Israel was supposed to live the way they were supposed to live. Obviously we can't go into all that today, but God is saying you are a unique and set apart people and I'm a do something through you which we know ultimately was the messiah that nobody would ever dream or imagine or conceive because you are unique and you are separate. So what? How are we supposed to live? Do not defile yourselves by any animal bird or anything that moves along the ground, those that I have set apart as unclean for you.
What's the point of that? He says, why? Here it is last verse. He says this, you are to be what you are to be holy. What does it mean set apart, unique, separate. Here's sin. Here is God hears sin. Here is you as far from it as you can be, and so you're not to be like other nations, you have to be like other people. You want to make different choices. You are to be holy because I the Lord Am holy. How did Israel do with that? Well, when you read the Old Testament, you find out they did about as good as you and I have done. Not so good and all kinds of pieces of their story help us find the Messiah, but that doesn't change the reality. God says, I'm holy. You are to be holy and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. This is so deeply ingrained in who peter is. He has leviticus. Odds are deuteronomy and probably the rest of the Torah committed to memory. He understands that God has set him apart and made him different. He understands that God is doing something unique with the nation of Israel that he isn't doing with any other nation that has ever or will ever exist,
and in that moment when the sheet comes down and he sees all of these animals that God has called unclean and he has forbidden Jewish people to touch, let alone eat. In that moment, Peter says, surely not lowered. What is being undone in Peter Right now?
What is being dismantled in his theology? His understanding of God is powerful. The voice speaks up again in that moment and says this. The voice spoke to him a second time and the voice says, of course, this is the voice of God. Do not call anything impure that God has made clean. Do not call anything impure or unclean, that God has made clean. Do not do that, Peter and this vision of the sheet and the animals while Peter's on the rooftop, somebody cooking lunch, he's in a trance. It happens three times. Do you get the impression that Peter is hardheaded? Do you identify with Peter? Do you? Does God have to do things for you three times before you get it? For me, it's like five or six. So if you're like that, you're in good company because with Peter it happens three times. Right?
And this is how many times Peter denied Jesus before he realized I'm doing the thing Jesus said, I will do. This is how many times p Jesus had to sort of reinstate peter. Invite him back into the fold, and now in this moment this thing happens three times so that Peter won't forget it. Of course he's a little hardheaded, but that makes him committed. Passionate. So three times. And while he is wondering about this vision and what it means and what in the world God is doing, there are some men that come from a town called cesarea interrupting his vision. If somebody calls up from downstairs and says, Hey, there's some men here to see you. And the Holy Spirit says to Peter, hey, these men are friendly. They're not going to look friendly. They, you know the Roman, but they're friendly. So go with them. And so that's exactly what Peter does. So Peter and some friends from Joppa, other disciples, they go with these Roman centurions and whoever else was sent, they go back to Cesarea and they make this, oh, about 40 mile journey. And along the way Peter is thinking about God, what are you doing? What's happening? What are you up to? So Peter, the entourage, they get there to this place where cornelius lives, Cornelia says, invited all kinds of people as well. It's a, it's quite a gathering of Jews and gentiles and people that you would not normally find even in the same vicinity.
It's a picture of what the church should look like.
Peter Walks into coordinator, uses home, Cornelius falls down on his face and humility and Peter says, get up, get up. What are you doing? I'm only a man. I'm only a man. Peter then looks at the crowd. This is what Peter says. He said to them, you are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or even visit a gentile. This is who peter is. This is what he thinks. This is what he understands, and a couple of days before Peter's on a roof, he gets a vision. Things are changing fast in Peter's world, in his mind and his heart, and then he says this, if you're going to memorize a verse from acts 10, memorize this one. If you're gonna, write one down. Write down this one. If you could put something on a car to remind you what happened in acts chapter 10.
Use this first, but God has shown me that I should not call what's the next word, impure or unclean, but God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean, and remember they didn't have the new testament. They didn't have the letters, the books, the book of acts is being written as this thing is occurring. This is a a seismic shift for anyone who is Jewish or gentile and it applies to us today and this, this will prove to be a massive struggle for the church all throughout the book of acts. This becomes a place of friction. What happens now that we're inviting gentiles into the church? What if it's true that not anyone is impure or unclean? How did they come to Jesus? Now, what's required and you will see is the book of acts unfolds, that this creates incredible difficulty for the disciples and the early church and it's not just then, it's today to some of you have walked into churches before and you brought your center self into the deal and you've wondered why you don't feel welcome or why what's happened or why is the church dividing or why is the church struggling?
This struggle is as real today as it was in the first century. This struggle is a shift to understand what about sin? What about grace? What about God's holiness and how to all of these pieces fit together and doesn't it count for something the way we live and how we behave? Of course it does. Paul says, should I send that grace would increase? No, no, no, no. Don't get it backwards. All of this is the struggle that exists with the Jews and the gentiles and even us in our culture today. The reason it's so difficult is because we know some things to be true and we make some mistakes in logic along the way. Let me give you an example. This is why it's a struggle. We know this to be true. The first idea that God is holy. God is holy. God is unlike anything that you know about or understand.
God is separate. His ways are higher than our ways. We can barely even comprehend this idea as a concept. Let alone understand how it's applied. He is sovereign. He is pure. He is blameless. There is no shadow in him. He doesn't change his mind. He is not found in him. Any sin, any deceit, any temptation. He is perfect and pure and holy. God is holy. Can I get an amen right on. He is holy and the scriptures make it very clear. God is holy. We should be holding and it's true. It's in leviticus. It's intuitive. Ranomi. Peter brings it into the new testament. It's not an old testament idea. It is true for all people all times in all places. God is holy. We should be holding. We are made in his image and God, before sin entered the world. We experienced a piece of this fellowship and holiness. Sin Entered the world that doesn't change the requirement. We are to be holy. Why? Why are we to be holy? Well, because God is holy and because holy
is better, it is better.
And you know this is true. Holy is better
to make a holy choice not I don't. I'm not talking about acting holy. We can all act holy, right? And so you know people that it's all they do is act holy. Sometimes I act holy. Maybe sometimes you act totally. That's what we're talking about. We're talking about actually being, holding, being holy. I mean, when we sin, it really messes things up. When we engage in any kind of sin, whether it's some sort of deceit in our heart or our lies are cheating or some sort of anything that is not representative who god made us to be, everything gets a little messed up. When pride works its way into our heart selfsufficiency, when we don't understand what it means to love well or were unkind someplace and now we got to go back and apologize. We got to own it. We embarrassed the church. Whatever it is that we're doing, holy is better, and you don't even have to be a follower of Jesus to know and believe this.
Everybody you know believes this. Talk to anyone who is messed up their life by making some choice that was selfish and they will. They'll tell you, maybe they won't use these words, but they'll tell you, holy is better. And so we believe these things to be true. They are self evident in life. They're part of the natural created order. It's true. God is holy. We should be holy and holy is so much better, and so we automatically sometimes some of us jumped to a fourth conclusion. That's illogical and is this, I'm better than you. I looks awful on the screen, doesn't. I mean nobody would even actually say that out loud and we don't say it out loud. We just think it and we believe it and we don't mean to. We end up there by accident, but we believe these things that God is holy and and we should be holy, and the reason we should is because God is holy and the truth is this. God wants what's best for us because holy is better. And then when we lived this way and make these choices, we come to the conclusion that, well, I, you know, I'm better than you.
I mean, how could peter not think this a little bit, right? I mean, we don't want to give them a pass, but let's try to understand it. How could he not think this? I mean, he's part of the chosen nation. God has picked him, goddess selected him, and he's made choices and decisions that so many people that mess their lives up by failing, tempted all those kinds of things in Peter's chosen the narrow path. How could he not think just a little bit, even if he never said it, I'm a little better than most of you, and when you read the New Testament, you'll find out. Peter struggles with this the rest of his life, even after he understands what happens in acts chapter 10, he finds himself showing favoritism to people who are just like him. Why? Because there's a part of him that still thinks you know, Jewish is a little better just a little bit, but the truth is this. While these first three are true, this one is not. It's not true. We know it's not true, but it can feel true, doesn't it? Come on. All you gotta do is think back to the last time that you prompt your self esteem up on somebody else's failure. The last time you thought, Ugh, I'm so glad I'm not them,
and it's an insidious thing.
Let me tell you why it's not true. If you can let this kind of sink in theologically than you'll be further along than most people. Here's the reason why it's not true. My holiness doesn't belong to me. It doesn't. I know, I know you made the choice. I know I know your friends sand and you didn't. I know, I know you didn't go down the path. You can't imagine doing the thing that they did, even still your holiness. Does it belong to you? And My holiness doesn't belong to me at all. Here's how Paul says in Philippians three, he says it this way for his sake, for the sake of Jesus, I have suffered the loss of all things. Paul just got done giving his Jewish resume and it is impressive. It's better than yours, loss of all things, and I count all of these accomplishments as rubbish, as refuse.
Why? He says this, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him only Jesus, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law. Paul saying there is a righteousness and it belongs to me. It happens when I obey the law and it's not really a righteousness at all because when I obey the law, I still stay in condemned. You know why? Because nobody can keep the law perfectly. So where does my righteousness come from? He says this, but that which comes through faith in Christ, only by believing in Jesus. It is the righteousness. Where's it from? Where's it from? From God. That depends on faith. So what's he saying? My holiness doesn't belong to me. It's true. God is holy. It's true. We should be holy. It's true that holy is better, but it's not true that I am better
because my holiness doesn't belong to me. Now, the idea that we are somehow better than other people, no matter who you are, it's the original sin and that's why it's in your DNA. It's a part of how we are and to overcome it, ah, it's just a such an insidious idea and it's an easy trap to fall into and it's easy to be convinced that your choices have led you to the wonderful life that you have, but that's not what's going on. And in fact right now some of you are even arguing with you and in my, in your head, you're thinking, you know, that's kind of true. It's kind of not true.
And if you're like Peter or me and you grew up in a works based church, then you know that old habits die hard. In fact, peter would say they must be crucified. And this is true. Here's how Paul says it in another place in Philippians, he says this, work out your neighbor salvation with fear and trembling. So have you know scripture enough to know that's not what it says, but that is exactly what we do. It reminds me of what Philippians, he said one time when he said this, Christians get very angry toward other Christians who sin differently than they do. I'm just going to leave that there for a second because if it didn't in you should read it again. It's supposed to staying. So what does Paul really say in Philippians Two? He says this, work out. Who? Salvation. Yours. Mine. I work out mine. I work out my salvation. How do I do it? Why deal with fear and trembling? Because God is to be respected. For it is God who is at work in us. It is God who is at work in us. It is God who is at work. It's not my own moral compass. God adjust my moral compass. It's not my own. My holiness comes only from the death of Jesus. It is not my wisdom. My wisdom is folly. God's wisdom is perfect. It doesn't belong to me.
Not only does my holiness not belong to me. Paul goes on to say, it's God who is at work both to will and to work for his good pleasure. You. He's saying, I don't even want to do what's right, but God changes what I want. I don't even want to do what's right. God changes my will and then when I do follow his will and I do something that is good and something results from it, it's him that works this out. In other words, not only does God changed my heart, he produces the actions. It's all him. Every bit of it is him, and so my holiness does not belong to me. This. This is why Peter looks at this little gathering in coordinator uses home and he says, but God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or an clean, and so in those few days, Cornelius and Peter Missile Gathering assessory, a god changes the rules. That's what he does. He changes all the rules and so what it looked like before were these groups of people who were in and out, and this is what it looks like maybe for some of us, if we're not perfect in our love, and when God gave these visions and brought Peter Cornelius's house, he did one very simple thing. You just erased the line. That's what he did.
God has shown us that we should not call anyone impure or unclean. It's what he does and Peter's perspective didn't change overnight and neither will hours. This is why God wants us to walk with him every day so that we can learn how to love. Well, there are many one other statements in the New Testament, all of them flow from what Jesus said in John Chapter Thirteen when he said this, by this all people will know that you are my disciples if you attend church one out of four weekends. No, no, no, no. If you have correct doctrine, if you believe the right things, if you give 10 percent of your money away, no, no. Lots of things are important. One thing stands above the rest. If you love one another, this is who Jesus is. It's who he's called us to be.
These are a cards on the table. Some of you will remember in our church when we have a on a couple occasions but wouldn't crosses throughout this room and we've invited you. Many of you have done this to go and pick up a car just like this, and write your sin on the card and pin it to the cross as a representation of who you were and who God has called you to be. The last time we did this as a church, a couple of years ago, after each service, I went by every cross and pulled off every one of the cards and I've read through every one of them and these cards have stayed in my office since that day, and these cards are representation to me, the body of Christ and understanding of who we are and understanding of who I am and an understanding of who you are and they represent Romans eight one. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. May this be a place where people who write things like this on a card, anger, divorced, critical, judgmental, self hatred, lust, jealous, glutton drinker, condescending, and that's one card,
weak, passive failure. Unfaithful. I'm a sinner. It is haunted me for years. Jealous, anger, selfish, demanding, controlling, vindictive, bad mother, ugly, broken alone, not good enough, sinner failure, self-righteous one car made this always be a place where those who are looking for wholeness and healing can show up because God has erased the line. Got Two questions for you to think about and pray about right now. She was bow your heads, close your eyes. Let's do this. Or there's some in the room that if there was a card available right now, they would fill it with a list of sins longer than the ones I just read. So if that's you right now, just confess it to God. If you've never surrendered your life to Jesus, you can do it right now in this moment. Ask Him for forgiveness. Call Him Lord, confess infested to him. Seek him right now, and Lord, we confess we are sinners in need of a savior, every one of us,
and we claim this promise of Romans eight. There is now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ is John and writes the first John, and if we confess our sins, you are faithful and just you purify us from all unrighteousness. So right now would you just be a recipient of that love and mercy and grace. Just let it wash over you. Some of you are courageous enough to pray this next with me, Lord, if there's anyone in my life that needs to be shown, the love and mercy that I had withheld, that I've kept outside the circle, bring their name to mind right now and may you give me the courage to lay down my pride, to lay down my self sufficiency, to lay down whatever is in the way and express love and mercy and grace to them or who is it that we have kept outside of the circle? Who is it that needs your love? Who is it that we have called impure and unclean, that needs to know that they are loved so deeply by a god who knows their name and desires to walk with them? So just give God a moment just to bring a name, a person, a family member, a coworker to mind.
Would you just be just contemplating these two questions? I might ask our prayer partners to go ahead, move into place, and this is my hope and my prayer that as we sing in worship or the next moment or two, that you will not allow this moment to pass, that you allow God's love to overwhelm you and new and fresh ways and that you will allow God to speak to you about the people in your life that you need to show love and compassion to and may the sun go down on this day without you obey God's direction in your life, to stay on with us. Keep praying, but we continue to worship. If you have any needs that you want to connect with a prayer partner while we sing, while we worship, just make your way out and connect with these faithful people that would love to pray with you.
This series focuses on teachings from Acts.