Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

God's Instruction to the Church XXXIII

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God's Instruction to the Church

Jesus had walked, talked and demonstrated to His disciples the principles of the kingdom of Heaven. But, like us, they didn't learn the lessons too well because of generations of thinking and practicing. The Jews still considered themselves superior to other nations because of their ancestry. They were children of Abraham.
The Jewish Christians that left Judea and moved to other parts of the Roman empire because of persecution preached only to Jews who had left Judea before Christ. Jesus had given His commission to the disciples to preach the gospel to everyone in the whole world.
There was a Centurion living at Caesarea, a good man, believing in God and helping people. One day in the afternoon He saw a vision, an angel. He was afraid and said, “What is it Lord?”
The angel said, “Your prayers have been heard by God. Now, send men to Juppa and ask for one called Peter. He is staying with a tanner close by the sea. He will come to tell you what you ought to do.”
The next day the Centurion sent two servants and a soldier to call Peter.
Peter was going through the country and he was staying for a bit in Juppa with Simon, a tanner. He was this day, on the house top just before lunch time. He suddenly felt very hungry and fell into a trance. Peter saw in a vision a sheet held up by all four corners being let down and in it all kinds of four footed wild beasts, creeping things and fowls. A voice said, “Arise Peter. Kill and eat.” Peter said, “Not so Lord for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
Through Moses, God had given the children of Israel lessons on healthful living. One was the use of meat. God told them to eat flesh that came only from natural vegetarian animals, birds and fish. Animals butchered were to be well bled and we were not to eat blood or fat. (just good health principles) The creatures not to be eaten were called unclean.
The voice said, “What I have cleansed call not common or unclean.”
The scene was repeated three times, then taken back up to Heaven. Peter did not know what this all meant. After the vision, a voice told Peter there was someone at the door looking for him and to go with them without question. Peter answered the door and there were men sent from the Centurion.
They all stayed for the night. In the morning, Peter, with six other men went with the men to Caesarea.
The next morning, as he was expecting Peter, the Centurion called together his friends and kinsmen to hear the word the Lord had for them.
When Peter and the rest arrived at the house where the people were gathered, Cornelius met him and the people at his house. Peter asked them if they knew that the Jewish law made it unlawful for a Jew to keep company with those of another nation? Then continued by saying, “But God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
The vision had nothing to do with what we should eat but the Jews looked upon those of other nations as not much above animals. God used this method to teach Peter how God saw other people. That everyone is accepted by God to become members of His family and have eternal life through Jesus.
Peter told the assembled ones the good news of Jesus, the Creator, Himself coming to live as a person among people. That He partook of their life so they could see God's love and concern for them. He told them of Jesus' death, resurrection, ascension and promise of returning one day to take them to Heaven.
They accepted Jesus as their Friend and Savior. They were baptized and became part of the church. They asked Peter to stay a few days, which he did.
What beautiful things Peter had to share with them about Jesus. Peter told the other apostles and church leaders of his experience. A new vision came into the church of God's love for all people, all classes included.
What a wonderful day when Jesus takes His people to Heaven. People of all classes, colours, ethnic backgrounds and all have one common story to tell. How Jesus loved them and drew them into His circle of friends by His death, forgiveness and deliverance from the snares of Satan.
If you are in need of deliverance from problems, take Jesus at His word. He said, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Our Friend Jesus never fails.

Next week: Jesus' Special Call