April 22, 2001
Gentiles Receive the Spirit
Acts 10:1 -- 11:18
KEY VERSE: God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. --Acts 10:34,35
Peter learned through his encounter with Cornelius that God sent His Son Jesus to be the Savior of all nations. At first he thought salvation was for the Jews only. Then his eyes were opened. He understood that God does not show favoritism. He saw what Charles Wesley would see centuries later when he explained in more than one of his hymns, "for all, for all, he died!"
In our time no one has said it better than Archbishop William Temple whose words are worth remembering: "If Christ died for any man anywhere, then he died for all men everywhere." Any gospel without a global focus is not worthy of the name.
We read that the Holy Spirit "fell on" the people while Peter was preaching. And for what purpose? That they might begin speaking in strange tongues? Perhaps, but there was a greater reason. It was to help people of different ethnic groups realize that God desired for them all to be brothers and sisters in the family of God, all followers of Jesus Christ.
This is one of the great happenings of our time. Through missions work teams, many American Christians are getting to know Christians in Ecuador, Russia, India, and Papua New Guinea. We are learning that God wants us to give more attention to "Christís Holy Church" than to our denominational differences. We are learning that on the mission field what matters most is that we are Christians, not Baptists or Methodists.
Would to God the day will come when that will be our primary concern at home as well, so that we may work more cooperatively with our brothers and sisters in every church which names Jesus Christ as Lord. May the Lord enlarge our love for fellow Christians, as well as for the lost of the world!