Thursday, May 26, 2005

Strong and shocking words in Acts

David Smith gives a preview this week of his upcoming sermon on Acts 10:1-11:18, the story of Peter, Cornelius, and Peter's vision. David considers it to be perhaps the "strongest and most shocking word in all the book of Acts":

But you'd never know that from the way it has usually been presented. How have you usually heard it taught or preached? In my hearing, I've almost always heard the emphasis placed on one of two points: (1) positively - it's about how Cornelius became a Christian and/or (2) negatively - it's about how the Spirit doesn't typically work in conversions the way he did with Cornelius. . . .
Luke simply does not put the emphasis on either one of those two points! This passage isn't about what someone did to become a Christian initially (though that gets mentioned) nor is it about how God does or doesn't work in conversion. It is about how a long-time Christian was finally converted to an essential aspect of Christ-like living in which he had been in denial! It is about how God confronted a disciple and how that disciple repented of their prejudice. It is about how someone very strong, experienced, respected and mature in Christ still had plenty of growing up left to do, namely in the way others - all sorts of others - are perceived, valued and accepted. It is about the death of pride, the birth of true humility, the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.

I wonder what David's getting at here? Could it be that . . . maybe some Christians today have a little growing up to do? It looks like David's on target here, and it makes me wish I could be in Baytown, Texas, this weekend to hear him preach it.


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