Friday, October 14, 2016

Evangelism is Not always Comfortable


 

At our Wednesday prayer over our city, Pastor Allan asked me to bring some messages on Evangelism.  As I meditated on what Bible example I could use, the Holy Spirit spoke to me:  Sharing Jesus with people you don’t know can be uncomfortable, especially if they are different from you in some way.  The Holy Spirit took me to Acts chapter 10.

Today’s lesson will impress on us that God is not a respecter of persons, and that He loves all people regardless of who they are.  God is not a Racist.

At Caesarea (the capital of the Roman province) there was a Gentile man named Cornelius a Centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.  He and all his Italian family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.  

One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”  You must send men to Joppa, for a man named Peter.  He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”

In the mean while, Peter went up on the housetop to pray.  As he prayed he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw a vision.  Heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descended and settled in front of him.  In it were all kinds of strange animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”

This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.  Peter thought to himself, “I have NEVER done anything like that before and it is absolutely NOT Kosher.”  He was very uncomfortable about the vision he had seen.

As we prepare to go out door to door, we might say, “I have never done that before.  Understand that we have been praying for many months preparing the Spiritual atmosphere and God will go before us.  We will actually be working with God, and not by ourselves.

As Peter went downstairs, he wondered what this vision meant, and immediately three Non Jewish visitors arrived at the gate asking for him.  The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them doubting nothing.  The next day, Peter and several Jewish believers went with the Italian men to Caesarea to Cornelius’s home where his large family and many friends were waiting.  Peter found that he was out of his comfort zone. 

Peter said to them, “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.”  Peter asked, “Why have you sent for me?”

Cornelius explained about the Angel visit and being told to send for Peter. 

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

Notice, Peter did not begin to teach about the Law and the Ten Commandments, but his message was about Christ Jesus the Lord.  Peter began to preach how Jesus went about preaching, doing good, and healing the sick, but evil men crucified him, and he was buried in a tomb.  However after three days Jesus was raised from the dead; - - and as Peter preached, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were in the Gentile house and they began to speak with other tongues. 

You can imagine the surprise of Peter and his prejudiced Jewish brethren. They were completely out of their comfort zone and were amazed that God could love these Italian Gentiles.  Their preconceived ideas all needed to be thrown out, because this was a new thing.  God loves everybody. 

As we go out to share Jesus, we must remember that if we feel timid, that God has told us to be bold.  Our primary message is: Jesus came to save men and women and give them a better life now; and eternal life in heaven.  We may meet people that we are uncomfortable being around, but if God has sent you; know you are in the “right place.”

Remember on the day of Pentecost (Act 2))  Peter, BOLDLY standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

"And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions.  Your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.  And I will show wonders in the heavens above and it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." 
 
God always has a comfort zone, and when you move with God you will be in His will.

 



2 comments:

  1. It seems that the Lord is always stretching us, and taking us out of any comfort zone we may have built. And yet, when He does that, it is always incredible when we look back and see how He has led and helped us to do what needed to be done. Appreciate your post today, have a lovely weekend!

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  2. Obviously, you are a special friend at your church, and a good way of sharing the Word of God and the way the Bible can be spread around to touch into the hearts re: our Lord in the Bible. Bless you!

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