Many of what Peter said in Acts 10 is repeated in Acts 11; this means that some truths are extremely important. In Jerusalem, Peter once again explained the vision he had seen in Joppa to the circumcised believers. Peter also told them how, in Caesarea, he had seen Gentiles being filled by the Holy Spirit; it was just like how the Holy Spirit had once descended upon them. This reminded Peter of what Jesus had taught and entrusted to us while He was in this world. He showed them that God bestows grace upon Gentiles as well; He allows them to repent and receive salvation.
The Jews have always thought that they are the chosen people of God. They believe they are God’s children and are separated from the rest of the peoples because they have kept the commands and instructions from God, they practice circumcision, and they keep the Sabbath. They consider all peoples, expect themselves, unholy. However, God said to Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Jesus Christ shed His blood for all peoples, not merely for the Jews. So, no one can abolish God’s salvation for of men’s traditions.
Oftentimes, we would ignore God’s absolute truth and insist on some principles. What we must hold fast is “Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins.” As for whether we should sing new or old hymns in church, whether we should be standing or seated during worships, whether we should clap our hands, whether we should raise our hands, whether we should speak in tongues, and so on, all these do not matter! Paul said that he spoke in tongues more than any other people, but he did not uphold speaking in tongues. Instead, he told us, “I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1Co 14:19). He also said, “I know nothing … except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1Co 2:2).
Many people are afraid of a lot of things; they are afraid of their wives, of their bosses, of being poor, of being sick, and of death. There are so many things they fear, but God is not one of them. We need to know that we have all things once we have God, and we lose everything once we lose God. Even if we own everything is the world, we have nothing if we do not have God. Once we have the most important thing, all other things do not matter anymore. Therefore, we should save as many people as we can in the name of Jesus. It is Christians’ calling and mission to spread the gospel. We attend services and trainings, and we hold group meetings, yet we do not do these to train a group of saints but to save one more soul for Jesus.
We are in trouble if we do not spread God’s gospel. Stop comforting ourselves by saying that we do not put emphasis on quantity but quality; this is an offence to God. God wants us to “be [His] witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). God does not “[want] anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2Pe 3:9). Hence, quantity does matter! We need to save as many people as we can by spreading the name and salvation of Jesus.
Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2Ti 4:7). Paul didn’t say he have won the fight, because to fight is our duty, but victory and defeat are all in God’s hands. Also, it doesn’t matter if we run fast or slow, but we need to finish the race. What we need to persist is to keep running until we meet God. We ought to be able to say we’ve kept the faith, not we’ve once kept the faith. God will bestow sufficient grace upon us to help us in keeping the faith, but God will never lower His standard; God will not yield in order to please men. Therefore, let us love the words of God and work hard to spread them so that we can win the crown of righteousness bestowed by God.
Message by Elder Yeh / Summary and response by Jim Lin