Sermon Reflections from The Unintended Pass | Alex Hardt | April 23, 2023
I can really identify with the title of Pastor Alex’s sermon- The Unintended Pass. From our scripture reading in Acts 10 and 11, we see that Peter was unaware of his need to change his thinking so that God could use him to pass on the gospel to the Gentiles. Prior to this vision and change of thinking, the Jewish believers felt that Gentiles that accepted Christ as their savior needed to also adopt the Jewish faith and customs. It never occurred to them that belief in Jesus would override the need to follow the feasts, sacrifices and holy days. They did not get the scope of what God had planned. Isn’t that just like us? We have such narrow vision about things sometimes that we miss how broad, deep and wide God’s plan truly is!
Peter was quick to accept the change- considering he had been born and raised not eating with uncircumcised people, believers or not, and keeping himself set apart from the worldly world. By the third repeat of the vision, Peter had gotten the message. It was providential that the men immediately knocked on his door and asked him to come to Cornelius’ home. If he had had time to think about it, he might have thought he was dreaming or that the vision did not happen. But, the knock came immediately and so Peter went as instructed by the angel without a second thought.
At Cornelius’ home, the vision was confirmed by what Cornelius had experienced. I love Peter’s remarks in Acts 10:34-35 “Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Peter got the message from God that the Gentiles were to be welcomed into God’s family as equals. They were not second class believers as the Holy Spirit ushered them into God’s family by indwelling them dramatically just as he had done earlier for Peter and the disciples. Acts 10:44 “ While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” Peter had it confirmed by the Holy Spirit that God’s love is wide enough for all and God is impartial. God’s love surpasses human comprehension. Peter was caught unaware of the scope of God’s love but was quick to embrace it for all believers.
How about you? Do you think God shows favoritism to one group over another? Romans 2:10 “For God does not show favoritism.” James 2: 1-3 specifically reminds us of how we are to treat our brothers and sisters equally. “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” Outward appearances, difference in beliefs, etc. should not cause us to treat others differently. God’s love is wide enough for all and is beyond our human thinking. God’s blessings are not for us to judge or withhold. We are to seek to show God’s love in a non-judgmental way and to seek to bless others by loving them. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, he said in Mark 12:31-32 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Pastor Alex ended his message with the truth of Romans 10:13 “ for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” No matter who you are, how much you make, what you do in life, what family you come from…. All people are equal before God. Jesus is the only way, John 14:6 ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He alone brought us into His family though faith in His work on the cross. John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?
So… who do you need to tell about Jesus? The door is open and Jesus has his arms open wide beckoning us to bring others to Him. Let the truth of our memory verse sink in this week as you seek to talk with others about Jesus. 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” Be prepared to talk about Jesus but in a gentle and kind way- loving others into the kingdom.
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