Episode #100. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 11 together. Peter defends the Gentile conversions, believers are first called Christians in Antioch, and famine relief is started for Jerusalem.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #100. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 11 together: Peter defends the Gentile conversions; believers are first called Christians in Antioch; and famine relief is started for Jerusalem.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So, refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
One hundred episodes?! We’ve been together every day for 100 days. It sounds like a lot and yet it has gone by so fast. What do you think? Did you think you would make it this far? I hope you know what a big deal this is. I pray these 100 days have so habituated your routine that you can’t go a day without reading His word.
In an article called, How Your Habits Show and Shape Your Heart, by David Mathis, one paragraph in particular caught my eye. “When all is said and done, our hope is not to be a skilled Bible reader, practiced prayer, and faithful churchman, but to be the one who “understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jer. 9:23–24 ESV). So our heartbeat in the habits we develop for hearing every word, speaking every prayer, and participating in every act of fellowship is, ‘Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD’ (Hos. 6:3 ESV).” This is my prayer for you.
Congratulations on your excellent accomplishment. I would love to hear your comments on Facebook, Instagram, and at Lifting Her Voice.
Acts Chapter 11
Gentile Salvation Defended
The apostles and the brothers and sisters who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” Peter began to explain to them step by step, “I was in the town of Joppa praying, and I saw, in a trance, an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it came to me. When I looked closely and considered it, I saw the four-footed animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. I also heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’
“‘No, Lord!’ I said. ‘For nothing impure or ritually unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a voice answered from heaven a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call impure.’ “Now this happened three times, and everything was drawn up again into heaven. At that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to accompany them with no doubts at all. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we went into the man’s house.
It’s The Same Gift
He reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa, and call for Simon, who is also named Peter. He will speak a message to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’ “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them, just as on us at the beginning. I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If, then, God gave them the same gift that he also gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I possibly hinder God?” When they heard this they became silent. And they glorified God, saying, “So then, God has given repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles.”
The Church in Antioch
Now those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. News about them reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord. Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine throughout the Roman world. This took place during the reign of Claudius. Each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers and sisters who lived in Judea. They did this, sending it to the elders by means of Barnabas and Saul.
When reading chapter 11, you can’t help but be impressed by the sheer numbers that were coming to Christ. Any of you who have gone on short-term mission trips know that still happens today. Indeed, though, God thru the Holy Spirit was doing an awesome work to change hearts in those early years after Jesus’ resurrection. I praise God that they answered the call because you and I are beneficiaries of their obedience. I was reminded by my friend, Bob, who preached in my pastor’s absence this week, that we all have a calling.
So, whether you are called to be a Billy Graham who changed the hearts of millions or a Sunday school teacher like me who, thru God’s Grace, witnesses to one heart at a time, the angels still rejoice and there will be receivers of grace all the same. I also noticed a connection in my heart to those in Antioch who were first called Christians. That is a long, familial history that encourages me, and I hope it does the same for you. We will come back to the famine relief drive on which Barnabas and Paul set out, many times as we read Paul’s letters.
Let’s pray so we can get started on the next 100 chapters! Father God, thank You for the perseverance You have given to those who are celebrating reading the first 100 of 260 chapters in Your New Testament. You promised, Lord, that Your Word would not go out without accomplishing Your purpose. Thank You, Lord, that You want us to know You. And You provided the perfect vehicle for doing that…the Bible. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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