Returning this morning again, to the book of acts. If you have your acts journal, if you don’t have your acts journal, either way, you can turn to the book of acts. Uh, the acts journal is something, uh, many of us use it’s place take notes, but it also has the acts scripture there. Um, And we have those at the hub.
If you’d like to get one, if you’re a guest with us, uh, we have those free for those as part of the gift bag we give to new folks, but we’re looking at the book of acts and we’ve been looking at storylines here in acts chapter eight through 12, which is a section section of the book of acts where the church has grown from just a confines of Jerusalem.
And now has moved out into Judea and Samaria, the surrounding provinces and as they’ve done. So it’s like a, a, a TV series. It’s basically picking up different storylines, the storyline of Philip, and then the storyline of Peter, and then the storyline of Paul and, and keeps going back and forth as you’re, you’re following these guys.
And last week, and today we’re, we’re seeing the storyline in the end of chapter nine. And here in chapter 10 of Peter, this passage is a transforming moment in the life. Of not only the church, but humanity. It is a moment when an officer of the Roman army is going to be converted to the Christian faith.
No one of a pagan background, no one outside of those of a Jewish affiliated background has embraced Jesus Christ this moment. Nobody was sure they even were allowed without becoming a Jew first, but this guy does, and it is an event continually referenced in the rest of the book of act as a acts, as a salient transforming moment in the history of the church, it was not only a momentous conversion.
It was a model conversion. We learn from it. What being converted to Christian faith actually involves. Now I just want to pick up, you may be here and, and. Not particularly an insider and Christian stuff. And, and, and, and, but you’re the, ah, the, that word conversion converted. I mean, this is my whole problem with Christian stuff.
You’re trying to convert you. I, I get it. I hear it. And I’m gonna ask you to just hang with me, cuz I’m gonna try to define what I mean by it and what I think the scriptures mean by it because Jesus used the word conversion and the conversion experience in Luke chapter 18, excuse me, mark chapter 18, verse three, even though on our ES ver version, it is translated in a different way, but here’s, here’s a word.
It says this truly. I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of God. The word turn in the king James version was unless you be converted, uh, Converted means to turn. And when we talk about conversion, we’re talking about a dramatic change. You are completely turned around.
So you might ask, well, why didn’t you title your sermon? When the holy spirit turns a person, because I thought I would have to spend more time explaining what that meant then converted, but the IDF, if turn LUS better for you every time you hear me say converted, flip it and say, oh, turn, turn, turn. That’s what it means.
Completely turned around a radical transformation takes place here in acts chapter 10. It doesn’t do away with who the person is, but it does give the individual an entirely new life direction. It’s what happens always with a conversion to Jesus. And in this passage, we’re gonna read about this guy that was converted.
And then we’re going to, we’re gonna look at four quick principles. That conversions always have in common. I’m gonna read fast because I’m gonna read, uh, through this entire passage, it’s a monster, but it’s a story that is, I don’t, I didn’t know where to not read it. So here we go. Acts 10 it’s Caesars.
There was a man named Cornelius, the Centura of what was known as the Italian cohort, a developed man who feared God with all his household, gave Al generously to the people and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day, he saw clearly in a vision and angel of God, come in and say to him, Cornelius.
And he stared at him in terror and said, what is it Lord? And he said to him, your prayers and your arms have ascended as a Memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a Tanner, whose house is by the sea. When the angels spoke to him, a departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who.
Attended him and having related everything to them, he sent them to JOP. The next day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray, and he became hungry and wanted something to eat. But while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens open and something like a great sheet, descending being let down by its four corners upon the earth in it.
We’re all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, rise, Peter, kill and eat. But Peter said by no means, Lord for, I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice came to him a second time. What God has made clean, do not call common. This happened three times and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Now, while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made an inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering while Peter was pondering the vision, the spirit said to him, behold, three men are looking for you, rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation for, I have sent them.
And Peter went down to the man and said, I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming? And they said, Cornelius is Centurian upright. God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to this house and to hear what you have to say.
So he invited them in to be his guests the next day, he rose and went away with them. And some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day, they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and called them together, called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered Cornelius, met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter lifted him up saying, stand up. I too am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. He said to them, you yourselves know how unlawful it is. For a Jew to associate with, or to visit anyone of another nation. But God has shown me that I, I should not call any person common or unclean.
So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I asked them why you sent for me. And Cornelius said four days ago about this arrow hour. I was praying in my house at the ninth hour and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard. And your arms have been remembered before God send, therefore to Joppa asked for Simon who was called Peter he’s lodging at the house of Simon, a Tanner by the sea.
So I sent for you at once. And you have been kind enough to come now, th therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have commanded by the Lord. So Peter opened his mouth and said, truly, I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right, is acceptable to him as for the word that he sent to Israel preaching.
Good news of peace through Jesus Christ. He’s Lord of all, you yourselves know what happened through all Judith, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism that John proclaimed, how God appointed anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy spirit and with power, he went about doing good and healing. All who were oppressed by the devil for God, was with him.
And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem, they put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him the third day and made him to appear not to all the people, but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses. Who aid and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead to him, all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receive forgiveness through his name. While Peter was saying these things, the holy spirit fell on all who heard the word and the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the holy spirit was poured on even on the Gentiles for, they were hearing them speaking in tongues and ex stolen God, then Peter proclaimed, can anyone withhold water from baptizing?
These people who have received the holy spirit just as we have, and he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. Okay. We’re gonna dive in. There are four D. things that conversions have in common. And this particular passage is a classic example of those four.
Number one conversion comes through God’s initiative and verses one to 29. We see how God has been preparing the way with Peter down. And if, if we can just throw that map up, I’m sorry. I forgot that map just shows where they were. If you look there, you see, um, a city called Joppa. That’s where Peter is 25 miles to the north in Caesarea is where Cornelius is.
Cornelius is having this vision from the angel that is saying, send guys to, to go get Peter. This guy named Sam and Peter he’s 25 miles south in Joppa. At the same time, Peter’s getting this vision about, uh, this, this, this, uh, sheet that’s covered with animals that they weren’t allowed to eat. And, and God is saying, kill these and eat.
And he’s, can’t do that, you know? And he says, don’t you call and clean what I call clean. And Peter’s like, what is all that about? And all of a sudden, these three guys appear at his house and Peter’s starting to make connection. Wait, what’s happening in that vision has something to do with these guys outside.
And God has been preparing him for what’s gonna happen there in Caesarea. The first thing we find is that God, that takes the initiative in conversion in verse 29. Peter says it this way I ask why, why did you send for me? You know, why, why am I here? What’s going on? And Cornelius answer is fascinating.
Cornelius says, well, the angel told me to, to send for a guy named Simon, uh, who was staying at another guy’s name, another guy whose name was Simon, the Tanner, and that he should come. But actually I sent for you because God sent an angel to me. In other words, I sent for you, Peter, because God sent for me all conversions, don’t have an angel showing up, but all conversions turning to Christ come about as God having moved first.
the converted person always comes to see that over their, as a journey with the Lord. And you look back, even if you don’t understand it, right, then you realize how God was after you. You realize, as you look back at your, your, your converting experience to Christ, God’s a work. He sent those people into my life at just the right time to say the right things.
He had certain things happen to me. He had certain things that were happening that caused questions to be raised. In my mind, I had struggles and setbacks that caused me to sense and, and be on a search. As I, I felt a need for something outside of myself. I look back and I see God’s hand was all over this thing God sent for me, God was after me.
It was not some Mo noble Trek I made toward God. Quite frankly, I wanted to live my life on my own. I, I wanted to live with me as the Lord of my life, but I look back and see how God orchestrated these amazing experiences. Some amazing people to draw me towards conversion. CS Lewis says it this way, amiable agnostic will talk cheerfully about man’s search for God.
To me, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat. Jesus said it this way. And John chapter six, he said, he said, no one will come to me, except my father draw him. The word draw is the word that was used of a net that was thrown over the side of a fishing boat. And you dragged in the fish being those fish were not saying, pick me, pick me, pick me.
No, they were dragged. It was God that was moving their hearts, breaking down the resistance, drawing them toward Jesus real conversion results, because God sent for you. You sensed, you needed something in your life that was not there. Things were not as they ought to be. God was at work. The first thing we learn about conversion is that God initiates the process.
Secondly, conversion, conversions, challenge, morality, and religion in verse 30 to 33, the angel says to Cornelius, you are one of the special ones. You pray, you show mercy to others in caring for them. You’re generous with your, your finances in doing that. But the angel does not then say, therefore, you will be blessed.
You’ve earned this Cornelius. No. What the angel says is therefore you need to be converted and there’s a guy that’s gonna help you be converted towards Jesus Christ. Something happens. The same thing happened to Nicodemus this great guy in John chapter three, a man of integrity, a man of devotion, a man of humility, a teachable man.
As a matter of fact, he says to Jesus, uh, as he meets him at his, his place at night and he says, Jesus, we know rabbi. We know you’re a man sent from. You’re a prophet sent from God and Jesus, doesn’t say to Nicodemus Nicodemus. That’s awesome. Yeah. You just need a little touching up here and there Spiritu.
No. He says Nicodemus, you need to be born again. You need to have your life. Absolutely. Have a new beginning, a new starting point in me. You need to start the whole thing over. Now. You may say, I, I understand where, why somebody, you know, that’s absolutely thrown their life into the gutter. Uh, I understand where somebody, you know, who’s just ravaged with life and is broken.
Of course, you know, I get, they need, they need this, this turning, this, this, this revolutionary transformation, this, this whole life being turned around. But I mean, come on. I, my life’s okay. I mean, I’m not, I’m not that screwed up. I haven’t made that many desperately bad choices.
But the call to radical conversion is actually a call to a radical restart. Amen. Why is it needed? Why, why do we need it? Well, there’s two, two options. Be both because, or based on the fact that we have a determined pre predisposition to make ourselves God and the Lord of our own lives. We do that in one of two ways.
One is we choose to break all the moral loss. We basically say, I’m gonna live my own life. I’m gonna do my own thing. Uh, I’m gonna be God. Uh, we don’t say that, but we live that. Uh, I’m gonna, I don’t, I’m not really gonna try to live in conformity with commandments of God. Maybe there’s a God. Maybe there’s not.
I mean, probably there is, but, but I I’ve got a lot of life to live and I’m gonna take this thing by the tail. That’s one way people are, are our God. But there’s a second way. It is by trying to keep all the moral loss, either as a Pharisee or in the spiritual sense, or, or just as a perfectionist who are people that absolutely find it a very difficult way to live, cuz they’re constantly being beat up because they don’t measure up.
The reality is either one is saying, I can do this. I’m gonna do my thing. I’m gonna be God, or I’m gonna do God’s thing, but I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna measure up. I’m gonna get this thing all together. I’m gonna, I’m gonna range my life. The problem is there is no, there, there is a barrier to the true conversion experience.
As long as we have that predisposition, that this is about us because conversion. Is a challenge to religion and morality. I’m gonna quote CS Lewis one more time in my favorite book or one of my two favorite books that he’s written. And some people don’t like it, cuz it’s an allegory and it’s kind of odd.
It’s great divorce. It’s a, it’s a, it’s not a cheese. It is not his theology. He’s just envisioning this thing. And he’s saying, imagine that in heaven, people can go there and they go in a ghostlike form and they present what they’re really basing their eternal destiny on. And it’s fascinating in, in the descriptions of human character, but there’s one guy that shows that up and I’m just gonna mainly just give my own summary of it.
But basically this guy comes and this guy basically comes and he basically says, I’m look. Uh, and he’s talking to the angel there and he’s saying, I, I’m a simple guy just doing my best to live a good life, to be kind to others, to, to show integrity, to follow the good rule. And as far as heaven goes, I, I just want my rights, what I deserve.
And the angel immediately responds, oh, that is really the worst thing. And then he, and the guy’s a little offended and, and he said, look, I’m not asking for anyone’s bleeding charity to which the angel immediately responds. Oh, then do do, do ask for that bleeding charity. The picture is conversion does not begin until you understand the difference between being born again and being good conversion is to a person that says.
I don’t have the capacity to measure up and I’ve been trying to be God myself. I’m trying to make it a conversion challenges, religion, and morality. The third thing that’s true of a conversion is conversions. Come through the message of the gospel. If you look at verse 34 to 44, it culminates in verse 44, where peop Peter speaks his words.
And while he’s finishing, the holy spirit comes, the holy spirit is not a force is not a wind or a power. He’s a person he came and he is a living intelligent, emotional volition person who comes to a converting heart. Good in the context of belief in the gospel and Peter is talking to this good man, moral man in many ways, devout man, Cornelius.
And he says, let me tell you about Jesus. Let me tell you, first of all, in verses 2037 to 39, let me tell you about his life and ministry lived a perfect life and service to God. And man, let me tell you about his crucifixion. You’ve heard about it. 39. Jesus took the curse for sinners on the cross. He died in our place.
He died as a substitute. Cornelius. He did it for us. He did it apparently for you. We weren’t sure about that, but we’re finding out right now. The third thing he was resurrected in verse 40 and 41 resurrection of Jesus declared the cross, worked that it was effective in providing forgiveness. for sinners.
And then in verse 42 and 43, he has authority to be the judge of humankind. Everyone will answer to him. Every knee will bow in this life. Many people will bow the knee to Jesus Christ by embracing him as savior and Lord and receiving forgiveness for their sins. But he says, other than that, those who do not bow the knee in this life will bow the knee one day before him as the judge, as they will have re refuse to acknowledge in this world, their sin and failed to embrace Jesus atoning work to give forgiveness.
The spirit was poured out on these Romans, as they heard and embraced the gospel. The fourth thing we find about conversion is it involves the transforming work of the holy spirit in verse 44 to 48. It says outrageous 45 and 46. And the believers from among the circumcised to had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the holy spirit was poured out, even on the Gentiles for, they were hearing them speaking in tongues and exalt extolling or praising God.
These two marks showed the, the guys from Jerusalem, the Jews that these people were genuinely converted to Christ. Number one, they’re speaking in tongues. Number two, they were praising God praising. God showed their change of allegiance. You cherish what you praise, right? I mean, we chin to, to, to praise the things that are most precious to us, we speak well of them.
Everyone on earth is as is, is ascribing to something. The ultimate thing that we adore and. it is your emotional oxygen. It can be, uh, respect or love from people. It can be your independence, your ability to influence. Um, it could, it could be just your security, your comfort. Tim Keller gives a wonderful illustration about what conversion actually is in speaking to this thing that is our emotional energy or our whatever is central in our lives.
He talks about a guy. I was just reading about this again. This week, I’d heard this story before, but he Keller was telling the story when he was in a Christian group at a secular college university, that was a guy that was notorious on campus for sleeping with every girl that he could possibly bed and one day.
And, and he was good. Looking guy had a lot of charisma. He’s just a, this was his thing. And he showed up at their, their group and everybody was like, what in the world? And, and. and the guy came and he talked to Tim and another one of the leaders and he said, uh, I have received Jesus Christ as my savior.
And I wanna be a part of your group. Well, they were ecstatic and he got into Bible studies. But the interesting thing they found was every Bible study, he was in every group that he was in. He had to dominate. He totally had to be the, be the final word. He didn’t know a lot, but he still wanted to act like any.
And he debated, and it just every single situation and it just caused conflict and ranker in the group. And eventually after a lengthy period of time and number of different incidents where they talked to him and tried to process this, people were hurt. Finally, he just, he just left the group and moved on something else.
It was very confusing to the leaders of the group, including Tim Keller and Tim Keller said it wasn’t until a couple of years later, I was reading a book, the secular psychiatrist, a secular psychologist, um, Albert Alder who was, who had written the book. Um, let me just get the right name. Um, Alfred LER, individual psychology.
And in the book, Adler is saying that everyone has one thing, one individual drive without which their life was not worth living. He mentions three power approval and comfort. Now that is a fascinating description because that’s exactly what the Bible says. In first, John chapter two, it talks about three things that rules the world system that believers ha have, have been delivered from, but also can, can be driven by and they are in different words, but they’re exactly the same thing.
Power. Approval and comfort. It’s striking. If you read the temptation of Jesus, read those three temptations and see if you can’t fit one of them to power. One of them, a temptation to approval. And one of them a temptation to comfort Adler in this case was absolutely right. And as Tim Keller reflected on it, he realized an Adler describes power slash control.
He says, this guy was dominated by the, the, the, the central reality in his life was control. He had to control, he had to have power and he did it over women. And then when he moved from that, he, he did it over, over Bible studies. It was a, and he made this statement. Here’s here’s color statement. I read the book and looked back at the guy and knew it was power for that guy.
Sex was replaced by being in control of discussions. Being able to run things irreligion was replaced by religion. Immorality was replaced by morality, but he was not converted. He had not replaced the central motivation of his life. You see, when we are converted, our allegiance changes. The central most dominating reality in our life is love.
Forgot. It becomes the central motivation without it. We have not really been transformed by the gospel and the work of the spirit in our lives. We just had the global leadership summit, uh, Friday, Thursday, and Friday was fantastic. I’m sorry if you missed it, uh, looking forward to you next time. But one of the speakers was Andy Stanley and Andy Stanley made a statement as soon as he said it.
And I was writing notes anyway, but as soon as he said, I, I wrote it and I boxed it in. Cause I thought that is going into my sermon this Sunday, because it was perfect. Here’s what he said. He was talking about the Christians in Antioch. And he said this, you know, the believers in Antioch were first called Christians Christ ones, Christ followers.
And he made this statement, which I completely agree with. He says those who believed on Jesus Christ were called Christians at Antioch. They were partisans of a new king. They were not changing religions. They were changing allegiance. That’s it? That’s what happens when you embrace Jesus Christ. When you are turned, you have given up the Lordship of your life.
You have given up the, the, the, the devotion to all these say no Christ is central Christ is my ultimate allegiance. The other reality that we see in these individuals that demonstrates a genuine conversion is they experienced full acceptance. It’s manifested by speaking in tongues, the holy spirit came on them just as he did in on the Jews in acts chapter two on the day of Pentecost.
A as I’ve mentioned, I don’t believe this is a, a demonstrable thing that is affirming faith today, but I think it is just, it was used there to authenticate first, the Jews had their Pentecost, the Samaritans who were, who were hybrid Jews, had their Pentecost in chapter eight. And now the, the, the rest of the world, the Gentiles are having their Pentecost here in acts chapter 10.
Everyone heard them speak in their own languages, just like an X two. The, the sense is that God wanted to say, as the spirit comes upon and the church is being built, there is no language. more appropriate to speak the truth of the gospel than any other. Christianity says. Every language, every culture are acceptable places from which we can worship and love God.
The holy Spirit’s job is to come into a culture and reoriented toward the centrality of God in their lives. When Peter walked into Cornelius house, here’s what he says. You know, it is unlawful for me to be here now, actually the word lawful, there is not the word Naas, which is the normal word for law.
Like the mosaic law. He is saying it, it it’s culturally not acceptable. It’s taboo, you know, for we Jews, this is not said in scripture, it’s taboo for us to be in a Gentile house, but here I am, I’m not allowed. I’ve been drilled into my life that I, I can’t go into a Gentiles house that I can’t eat with.
I’m only here because the angel told me to be here and he walks into a Gentile Pentecost as a result. And God had to hit him over the head with the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ to do it. All right. Let me just throw some quick shoes to this. As we close. What does this all mean to us? This model conversion?
Well, one thing we need to take an honest look at what we’re counting on to be clean. What are you counting on to be acceptable to God? What are you counting on to have relationship with God? What are you counting on for heaven? Is it being good? Is it being moral? Is it being devote? Is it being religious?
Cornelius was all of that. Nicodemus was all of that. The apostle Paul before he was the apostle. Paul was all of that, but they needed the turning they needed to by grace receive God’s spirit that comes when a person embraced Jesus Christ as savior. What are you counting on to be clean before God?
Secondly, take an honest look at how you perceive others. We have our own taboos, our own biases. This text is very personal to me. It is personal to me because, because because of this text, I married the girl I fell in love with. Okay. That was my way of getting it to listen to my story.
I was in college, my last year of high, couple of years of high school. And my first year of college, I was as godless immoral you name it, check. That was me. I went to a Christian school out in Indiana. I went there because my parents would only pay for a Christian school and it was the farthest away school I knew of at the time.
So I went there and got a free ride. I lived godlessly. My freshman year was at the very end of my freshman year. God just broke me. And I laid on the floor of my dorm room. Just cried out to God, to forgive me and take my life. And I came and that summer, God just poured into my life. And I went back to college and I got to college my second year.
And completely by the grace of God, he had just transformed the direction of my life in every way. Um, and a few, a couple of months into school, I met a little blonde, cute little blonde girl. And, um, she blew my mind because she had spent her whole high school years wholeheartedly loving. I’d never met anybody like her.
And as gorgeous as she was, the inside beauty was even more overwhelming to me. Unfortunately, girls have fathers and, um, and her dad was professor at the school. He actually was the chairman of the biology department. Mercifully had that year, moved up north permanently to, he was running a, a biological field station up north.
So he was not on campus. but he had tentacles everywhere and knew everything. And so, uh, we started dating and word, got to her dad a little bit of who I was and what I was known appropriately by. And my father-in-law had one girl. It was his first of two children and he’s as protective and loving a dad as anybody I have ever known.
And so the first time we met with him, when he came down for homecoming or something, we got together and we had been convicted that we were going to live under his authority, whatever that was. I, I, she had that maturity. I just, it made sense to me and God convicted me. We, well, I’ll, I’m gonna just give you the Rita’s digest version of this basically.
Um, he killed the relationship, then we got, he finally, uh, uh, Uh, whatever the word is. He, he allowed us to get together again in a few months. Um, but then he was troubled and he wrote me a letter. And you know, this is back when you write letters to people and he asked me this question, would you please tell me anything you have ever done in your life, including with a girl.
And I did not. Surprisingly the relationship ended a second time upon reception of my letter. We went on and this went on for a year and a half, and God just kept this fire for each other, even though we were completely a apart at times and back together based on what her dad was feeling. And I was finally invited to go to their house, the spring break of the following year.
It was a big deal to go was very awkward. My father-in-law is a storyteller. The life of the party. He is, he is just li he he’s a people person. Well, it was a solemn dinner table, which even I could tell this is not the way this usually probably is because everybody is looking down and quiet and there’s really only one change that has happened at the table.
So that went on for four days. I mean, her mom, her mom comes to me one day. I think this is okay to take. And she hugs me and say, oh, you’re such a nice boy. I’m so sorry. And, but, uh, it wasn’t going well. My being there, it was very hard for dad. And my second to last morning, I was there. I woke up to see him.
At the side of my bed at the foot of my bed. um, just add to this. I don’t think I should tell that part anyway. I, I, I ju I had reasons to be nervous, you know, is that, what, why is this hand in back of his, why is this hand in back of his back? What’s back there? Um, but he looked at me and he said he, he got emotional and he said, will you forgive me?
And then he said, I’ve been wrong. And he said, I am sorry for, and he just said a few things. And then he actually asked, I climbed outta bed and we knelt down and we prayed together. It was just a, it was a life transforming moment for me. I found out later, as he shared with Marion and I humbly. he said that morning, he had been reading acts 10 and God had said to him, don’t you call unclean what I call clean?
Come here. here’s the unclean. So, so
my father-in-law was a wholehearted follower of Christ. He labored with this. I mean, I’m not saying anything, dad, wouldn’t say dad just went to heaven six months ago, but I would not be uncomfortable the way I’m telling this story. If he were here, he would say I had my own stuff, my own things that I was, I had to hold onto.
He, he was a godly good man. And you can see that by the way, he allowed just the scriptures to change his perspective dramatically. It’s easy to have our own taboos in the way we look at people in the way we evaluate people, but it’s not a bad thing at times. Say, Lord, am I, am I saying they’re unclean?
And that’s not what you’re saying. Am I treating them in a way that you would not treat them? And am I looking at this people group or this individual in a way that you wouldn’t be looking at them? I think it’s worth considering in light of acts, chapter 10. Okay. Last thing. And we got, we gotta go. Some of us to the welcome party.
Take an honest look at what it means. If you are clean, Hey, this, this whole passage is saying to us that God is the one that pursued you and drew you to himself. That God’s the one that made you clean. and he says you you’re accepted in Christ. You’re beloved in Christ. There’s a thousand messages you’re getting every day that are saying other things.
It meant a lot to me when I realized that the Lord declared to my future father-in-law that boy is clean. I didn’t always feel clean. There’s still a lot. I was working on in my life, but he said, no, no, no. I’ve made him clean
in the darkest moments I’ve had in my adult life. Since I’ve been a Christian, since I’ve been a pastor, the thing that I’ve gone back to more than anything else. And I’ve had moments where I’ve walked the back of this property, just crying it out loud to God, is this God I see all the screw ups. I see all I’m not.
I see all this. But you wanted me, you came after me. You chose me to be your son. You enabled me to be your son. What does it mean? If you’re clean, if you belong to Christ, what does it mean? He wanted you, he wants you. He wants to do life with you. He wants to bring you joy. This passage reminds us of the incredible beauty of being converted of having our lives turn toward Jesus and the opportunity to live out of that.
Lord, thank you for this passage. There’s so much more in this passage, but thank you for these simple thoughts. We’ve been able to reflect on today in Jesus name. Amen. Now going peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.