All Are Welcome, Here
This is Robert Spears’ sermon from Sunday, April 17, 2016. The scripture Acts 11: 1-18.
In our service we read from the New Revised Standard Version and from The Message, a modern interpretation by Eugene Peterson. We read both with the hope that our understanding will be enriched.
This is from The Message:
1 The news traveled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it - heard that the non-Jewish "outsiders" were now "in." 2 When Peter got back to Jerusalem, some of his old associates, concerned about circumcision, called him on the carpet: 3 "What do you think you're doing rubbing shoulders with that crowd, eating what is prohibited and ruining our good name?" 4 So Peter, starting from the beginning, laid it out for them step-by-step: 5 "Recently I was in the town of Joppa praying. I fell into a trance and saw a vision: Something like a huge blanket, lowered by ropes at its four corners, came down out of heaven and settled on the ground in front of me. 6 Milling around on the blanket were farm animals, wild animals, reptiles, birds - you name it, it was there. Fascinated, I took it all in. 7 "Then I heard a voice: 'Go to it, Peter - kill and eat.' 8 I said, 'Oh, no, Master. I've never so much as tasted food that wasn't kosher.' 9 The voice spoke again: 'If God says it's okay, it's okay.' 10 This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the sky. 11 "Just then three men showed up at the house where I was staying, sent from Caesarea to get me. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them, no questions asked. So I went with them, I and six friends, to the man who had sent for me. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel right in his own house, real as his next-door neighbor, saying, 'Send to Joppa and get Simon, the one they call Peter. 14 He'll tell you something that will save your life - in fact, you and everyone you care for.' 15 "So I started in, talking. Before I'd spoken half a dozen sentences, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us the first time. 16 I remembered Jesus' words: 'John baptized with water; you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 So I ask you: If God gave the same exact gift to them as to us when we believed in the Master Jesus Christ, how could I object to God?" 18 Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. And then, as it sank in, they started praising God. "It's really happened! God has
Both the New Revised Standard Version and The Message can be found here.