Acts 10:17-23 - Go Without Misgivings
Welcome to our Bible Study. We are studying Spiritual Applications from Acts. Our current series has to do with the breakthrough of the gospel among the Gentiles. Today's message, based on Acts 10:17-23, is the third in a series of seven. The title of my message is "Go Without Misgivings."
As Luke tells this gripping story, it is clear that God intervened in breaking the Gentile barrier. Nothing less that God's intervention in leading the apostle Peter would suffice. Ancient prejudices had to be overcome. The fact that the gospel was for all men had to be established. From this story, we can learn much about the leadership of the Spirit in our lives.
1. Peter Was Deeply Perplexed
While Peter was praying at the home of Simon the tanner, he had a vision (Acts 10:9-16) concerning eating animals, crawling creatures, and birds. The Jews considered many of these to be unclean and unholy. However, a voice told Peter to "kill and eat." When Peter objected, the voice said to Peter, (Acts 10:15) "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."
This message directly opposed all of Peter's past thinking. Although the voice repeatedly spoke to Peter, he was perplexed as to what the vision might mean. While Peter was in this perplexed state of mind, three messengers sent by Cornelius arrived in Joppa, asked for directions to the home of Simon, and appeared at his gate. They called out, asking whether Peter was staying there.
No doubt, we all identify with Peter's position. We have been confronted with a problem and have been puzzled or perplexed about what to do. As we try to think things through, we seek to know the will of God. God knows this, and He will help us find our way
2. The Holy Spirit Spoke To Peter
Then, the Spirit spoke to Peter. Earlier in this story, an angel spoke to Cornelius. Next a voice from heaven spoke to Peter. Now, the Holy Spirit tells Peter precisely what to do. So this was the third supernatural message. In Acts, a voice from heaven, angelic messengers, and the leading of the Holy Spirit all convey God's will with power and authority.
As we consider what we should do, God leads us. In Proverbs 16:9 we read, "The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord direct his steps." The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways -- through the Word, through others, and through circumstances. In addition, the Holy Spirit speaks inwardly to us. As we walk with the Lord, we learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit.
3. Go Without Misgivings
The Spirit told Peter that the three men sent by Cornelius were looking for him. Moreover, the Spirit said he was to get up, go downstairs, and "accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself." He was not to have a divided mind nor was he to waver. This called for an unfettered obedience which takes no time to worry over probable consequences.
Peter was perplexed but the Spirit resolved his concern. It was the Spirit Himself who had sent these men to Him. The apostles acted submissively to the desire of the Spirit. They sometimes did not know what the results of their action would be, or how to justify it intellectually, but they were certain they were directed of the Spirit.
4. Count The Cost, And Obey
Peter did not act thoughtlessly. He simply obeyed the voice of the Spirit. As Roland Allen, the well-known missionary strategist, pointed out, the apostles simply put the "source" of their action above the "consequences."
How are we to apply this to our lives? Clearly, there are times when we must count the cost. Speaking about the cost of discipleship, Jesus asked the multitudes (Luke 14:28-29): "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?" Many times in life, we must weigh the cost of our actions. It is prudent to do so.
However, when we know the Spirit is leading, we must obey. We must obey regardless of the cost. The Spirit has weighed all consequences before He speaks! When Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit had revealed the cost. The apostle would suffer, but his response was (Acts 21:13) "'I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'"
Peter acted without hesitation because the Spirit had spoken to him. He went down to the men and told them that he was the person they were looking for. At this point he still did not know why he was being approached, so Peter asked Acts 10:21), "What is the reason for which you have come?" The messengers then explained (Acts 10:22) that Cornelius "was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come in his house and hear a message from you." Peter invited them in and gave them lodging. The next day Peter went with them "without misgivings."
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