True Repentance

When they had heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.” Acts 11:18

Previously introduced to Peter in a vision of a sheet being let down with formerly unclean animals, God has moved Peter into the sure understanding that Jesus opens the Way to the Heavenly Father for anyone who believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Peter, who has seen Jesus heal folks without discrimination, who met the woman at Jacob’s well and she evangelized her hometown for Jesus’ sake, and who has seen many instances of outsiders give their hearts to Jesus is convinced of His open Way.

Now the Jewish believers are silenced, deep in thought as they wrap their hearts and minds around this monumental action of God.

And they respond in the most earthshaking way. They don’t say, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles salvation.” Don’t say He has given, “… saving Grace.” Nor do they say, “… New Birth.” And they do not say God has given, “… Holy Spirit’s transformation.” They say God has given, “… the repentance that leads to life.” An awesome expression rarely used today. Eloquent. True repentance moves one out of spiritual death into the believer’s life which leads to ever lasting life. True repentance that leads to life!

And I Began To Speak

And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as It had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He had said, ‘John Baptized with water, but you will be Baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” Acts 11:15-17

The apostles and the believers in Judea heard that the Gentiles accepted Christ, so when Simon Peter goes to Jerusalem they ask him, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” They do not ask this question angrily. They simply want to know how a good Jewish Christian can eat Gentile food and be in community with Gentiles.

Peter answers mildly as to how this came about, with six believers (men or women) accompanying him to Cornelius’ home after an Angel told Cornelius to send for Simon called Peter who ‘will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be Saved.’ v. 14 Saved with full Christian salvation in this world and in the world to come.

Peter’s emphasis is on ‘when we believed’ in v. 17, for it is not whether they are circumcised but it is that they believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit falls into believer’s hearts. Just as this our Communion Table is open, as are our hearts, to any age person who believes. Who are we to hinder God? For only God gives the repentance that leads to Life in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Call No Person Common

In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called. He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God. One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” Acts 10:1-3

Devout man of God but not of the Jewish faith, Cornelius (in Caesarea) meets a vision of an angel of God who tells him to send messengers to Joppa asking Peter to come. Joppa is where Tabitha has been raised from the dead. At noon the next day Peter is praying on a Joppa rooftop where he falls into a trance and sees ritually impure animals, reptiles, and birds lowered to him in something like a large sheet.

Three times a Voice tells Peter to take and eat. Peter has never eaten these and at first refuses but then realizes it is the Lord when spoken three times. He sees the will of God on this important point. Nothing but what is pure can come down from heaven and this makes an important impression on Peter.

When Cornelius’ men appear and request that he go to Joppa with them he accepts. During this, Cornelius does not engage in business but stays with this intention that Peter is to come. Now, Peter speaks sparingly to the men. He does not reveal the whole vision that the Lord has revealed to him. Peter states, “… God has shown me to call no person common or unclean.” Nor we. Christ is available to all.

What Christ Has Accomplished

For I will not venture to speak anything other than what Christ has accomplished.  Romans 15:18

Set your mind on Christ Resurrected as He orchestrates your life.  Christ is positive magnatism, not dull focus on worldly things which introduces negativity and anguish.  Paul is gives you an example.  Apostle Paul points to the dissension between the two groups in his Church (those who took opposing sides about what to eat, drink and the Sabbath) as a dull focus.  

Christ is alive and blessing us.  He aligns your understanding as to what He is doing in God’s will daily as you tune with Him thru prayer, alert living, and heartfelt loving like Jesus.  Speak of Him, careful not to defile.  ‘But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.’ (Matthew 15:18)

Speaking anything other than what Christ has and is accomplishing may be deemed false testimony.

We Are Sure

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? …nor anything in all creation will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ.  Romans 8:35-39

Sure of your faith, out of which you may have total confidence in Christ Resurrected that no one or no thing is able to separate you from Christ’s love for you and this is the same for everyone who believes on Him.  Christ is closer than your dearest friend, known in beauty and awe, showing you what you have never seen before as you witness and live constant gratitude.

Hesitate not to grope in the darkness but move with motivation following His leading Light of faithful correction making what is wrong right.  Unselfish thoughts direct the confident depth of your heart, soul, mind which frees you to embrace more of life.  Truth in Christ through Scripture and the Holy Spirit enables you to assist others’ lives with the One who is Lord of all.

Christ has saved us.  Never forget this: nothing can separaate us from Christ.

Why The Water?

All of us who were Baptized were Baptized into His death.  Romans 6:3

Such a change in a person as after the person is Baptized, and that includes infants.  I believe in infant Baptism, more because what I have witnessed as a Pastor and because of the Scriptural directive.   Why important?  During Baptism there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that washes the soul clean and aligns the heart for oneness with Jesus Christ.

Jesus went to the Cross to die knowing that He was providing an open way– for anyone who believes in Him to be linked directly to the Creator and Heavenly Father in holiness; this is salvation and when you publically give yourself to Him that act of faith is blessed.  Combined with this is Baptism; through which you receive the full anointing of the Holy Spirit which is Jesus’ Presence within you.

If you have not been Baptized or have a child who is not Baptized do it as soon as possible.  You come alive with Christ’s Presence within you when Baptized.  Have you already been Baptized and have forgotten the power in the holiness of Christ that is available for you to use?  Put your faith into action in any situation as the Holy Spirit is in readiness with power, potential, and possibilities.

God Does What He Promises

God was able to do what He had promised.  Romans 4:21

God promises that He’ll give you abundant life in Jesus Christ and you can trust that what God promises God will do.  

One of the first promises in the Bible was given to a couple who did not have children and were in their 90’s.  Abraham and Sara believed God would fulfill the Promise: , “I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.”  Genesis 17:1-2.   This couple lived faith and obedience.  God did what He promised.

Like Abraham and Sara, your right living is expected by God.  A measure of a Christian is his or her word, the promises made and kept.  When you make a promise then hold to it.  With the Lord’s help, when you say your are going to do something then do it.  Follow through with faith and stand firm in believing.   God does what He promises and so do we.