Wednesday: Confrontation in Antioch
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Some time after Paul’s consultation in Jerusalem, Peter made a visit to Antioch in Syria, the location of the first Gentile church and the base of Paul’s missionary activities described in Acts. While there, Peter ate freely with the Gentile Christians, but when a group of Jewish Christians arrived from James, Peter — fearful of what they would think — changed his behavior entirely.

Confrontation

Image © Jeff Preston Goodsalt.com

Why should Peter have known better? Compare Gal. 2:11-13 and Acts 10:28What does his action tell us about just how powerfully ingrained culture and tradition can be in our lives?

Some have mistakenly assumed that Peter and the other Jews with him had ceased following the Old Testament laws about clean and unclean food. This, however, does not seem to be the case. If Peter and all the Jewish Christians had abandoned the Jewish food laws, a major uproar in the church certainly would have followed. If so, there would surely be some record of it, but there is not. It is more likely that the issue was about table-fellowship with Gentiles. Because many Jews saw Gentiles as unclean, it was a practice among some to avoid social contact with Gentiles as much as possible.

Peter had struggled with this issue himself, and it was only a vision from God that helped him to see it clearly. Peter said to Cornelius, the Roman centurion, after he entered his house, “ ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean’ ” (Acts 10:28, ESV). Although he knew better, he was so afraid of offending his own countrymen that he reverted back to his old ways. That’s, apparently, how strong the pull of culture and tradition was in Peter’s life.

Paul, though, called Peter’s actions exactly what they were: the Greek word he used in Galatians 2:13 is hypocrisy. Even Barnabas, he said, was “carried away with their hypocrisy” (NKJV). Strong words from one man of God to another.

Why is it so easy to be a hypocrite? (Isn’t it, perhaps, that we tend to blind ourselves to our own faults while eagerly looking for faults in others?) What kind of hypocrisy do you find in your own life? More important, how can you recognize it and then root it out?
Amen!(38)

Comments

Wednesday: Confrontation in Antioch — 16 Comments

  1. This is my quick thought in partial answer to today's thought questions. It is easy for us to play the hypocrite because we tend to trust in ourselves that we are good, and don't exercise true humility and faith in Jesus Christ and his righteousness alone. Also, we are bold to confront others about their own alleged unrighteousness, but cowardly when it comes to confronting our own sinfulness and self-righteousness.

    Amen!(23)
  2. We have to take by faith that the clean and unclean meat vision given to Peter is none other than one of Christ most powerful parables of the Jew and Gentile issue, otherwise we go down a path of perdition. The vision clearly points out that it is a hypocrisy to believe that Jews are set above Gentiles. Go back to Isaiah's time, even way back then the Lord tried to instruct the Isrealites that Gentiles were welcome. Isaiah 56:7.

    Amen!(15)
  3. To me this seems to a direct message in our SS lesson for us here in the US to look at ourselves on the race issue in both the church and otherwise. We must look ourselves in the face and ask, "Do I think I am better than any other human?" "Do I treat others as I would treat my family member?" We often say there will be division until Jesus comes, but does that mean you have to contribute to that fact? My prayer for all my brothers and sisters is that we will do as Jesus did when it came to relationships.

    Amen!(30)
    • You really "hit the nail on the head there Ms. Speed!
      As it is apparent, very much almost all American-born individuals have a superiority complex towards themselves, and an inferiority complex towards others.
      This, especially-as You said-when they perceive that some else is "not their equals"-shame to say that, that stuff is taught.
      Because I'll get frowned at-first time a go-upon simply showing my face at most places i've been. Thus, especially in the past 12+years i've lived up here in the 1000 islands region!
      And I mean, I'm serious, 99.999% of these places I've only been to ONLY once!
      so can totally relate to what they're saying!

      And You may be right, that it may be a race issue taught them, by those whom were responsible to them!
      Or it may be just the usual case of "bad people, being just that"!
      Because, "I come from the school" (to borrow my wife's expression) that, I was not raised with a "racial eye", if that is the case!, as we say back home!
      And that I enlist to a personal universal viewpoint that, the only people groups whom would have the "right" to be racially discriminating, or bigoted or whatever it's called, are aliens from outer space!
      and as silly as that may sound, please so think on the fact that, The CREATOR made a point of of saying so, by placing them on separate planets from us.
      Because I believe, The LORD. Foresaw that it would really be an issue, that us and other planetAry species would have a hard time getting along on the basis of how different we are and look!
      my Indian Grandma (assimilated), did not raise a kid with a "racial eye"

      Amen!(3)
    • Those who have an arrogant or racist attitude/mind set have never had or have forgotten their "come to Jesus" experience.

      They are in the 2 Cor 10:12 foolish mode.
      "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

      One has more mature people skills if they..."Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." Phil 2:3

      Humility comes from having a self assessment based on God's perspective..."Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." Rom 12:3

      This way of thinking is the result of those who are born again & have their mind renewed Rom 12:2

      Amen!(4)
  4. Dear brethren, I ask all of you to look at the diversity in your church this Sabbath. Is the racial diversity in your church the same as the surrounding communities? If not, there's something wrong. We, the church, are here to evangelize, and meet the needs of the surrounding communities (and not to just fellowship with our own. However, there's nothing wrong with fellowship.) This is what Paul is saying in Galatians 3:28. Don't look at them as being different (in nationality or gender, or freedom status), just look at them as a child(ren) of God, part of the lost sheep of God.

    How can a diverse community feel welcomed in our churches? And yes, my church does have a lot of diversity. However, we have our problems too; the biggest problem we are facing in our church today is reaching the Youth and Youth Adults (those 18 to 35). There must be a methodology to show this demographic that they are welcomed to participate in our churches too!

    Amen!(6)
  5. Cornelius today represents the people of other denominations, who [some of] us Adventists look down unto and think that they are sinners. But today lesson reminds us that God loves them and our duty is to show them love and goodness of God and warned of judging others. May God help us.

    Amen!(3)
    • The same could be said about un-churched people. I remember in a forum discussion like this one, a respondent said words to the effect that if people do not believe in the Bible it is not worth talking to them. I thought that was a bit extreme, but then I noticed how often we avoid putting ourselves in social situations with unbelievers. We even quote Bible texts to support our antagonism. Isn't the Gospel commission about going into all the world. We may need to think about setting our own house in order so that we attract un-churched folk to Jesus as well.

      Amen!(7)
  6. I think that one way that our churches can become inclusive is to build inclusion into our worship services. I've been in some settings where certain worship expressions were welcomed but others stigmatized and/or anathematized. But if we truly believe in the principle of agape love, we will not force worship participants into one worship style or preference over another. Some have sadly left church services (never to return) because they were singled out for worshipping God in a manner that was "different" from the "norm." I've learned to appreciate and enjoy all forms of worship that honor sound biblical and theological principles of worship and lead to the highest adoration and praise to God our Father and Jesus Christ his Son.

    Amen!(5)
    • Agape Love is absolutely an element that would eradicate all that is not of God in us for God is Love-see 1 John 4:8. Reading 1 Corinthians 13 each day will help us develop this agape love.

      Amen!(1)
      • Reading 1 Cor 13 is easy. Putting it into practice is the work of a lifetime. Agape love is much more than a cute little phrase. We need to experience it.

        Amen!(5)
        • I believe by be holding we become changed,it is my understanding however that most Adventists do not read this Chapter daily as they do also other portions of scripture.

          "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." - see Hebrews 4:12

          Paul in penning 1 Corinthians 13 had attained such loftier attainements and under inspiration of the Spirit of God,I therefore believe that in a world were to love is easily forgotten the daily reading of 1 Corinthians 13 is the only solution to become more loving and get Agape Love and this places me in a better place everyday.

          I also believe as weak as I am wrestling with practice of behavior rectification is not my business,my only business and practice is to read earnestly daily as the Holy Spirit guides and accomplishes a greater purpose in me thereby making me more loving.

          I guess you see the significance of just reading 1 Corinthians 13 each day

          Amen!(0)
  7. The pull of Culture is not an easy force that we may causally deal with,this is a real thing embedded into The depths of character and can only be dealt with a genuine acquaintance with Christ.I think this is what Paul did,Paul was never slack from the Damascus road,he dug dipper into the Lord of Faith that he had met on the Damascus road till he achieved that which the church needs most today-a genuine acquaintance with Jesus-one that comes through an experiential knowledge of Christ-one that can only be achieved through daily Bible Study,Prayer and meditation upon the word of God combined.It may seem strange for once to learn that in the Antioch confrontation Peter had actually feigned a part but this is also obvious for Paul at a certain stage of His Spiritual Life till he said, "that I may know HIM"-this was so important for Paul and must be very significant for us today.Let's help reform our Church from the inside.We need significant time spend with Lord and partaking of His divine nature daily-see 2 Peter 1:4

    Amen!(4)
  8. Verse 14 deals with compelling the Gentiles to live like Jews. That is the real issue Paul had with Peter. Whether Christian Jews continued to follow their traditions is of less importance than suggesting that Gentiles should do so as well. Paul goes on to remind Peter of the Gospel--righteousness by faith not works of the law. That is the primary reason for the confrontation.

    Amen!(1)

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