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Friday: Further Study – Ministry of Peter — 15 Comments

  1. In the period covered in this week's lesson, the early church changed from being an obscure Jewish sect to being a church with a mission to the whole world. Persecution scattered the believers away from Jerusalem resulting in a new church group in Antioch which focused on inclusive Christianity.

    Application: It is possible to view the Seventh-day Adventist Church as focusing on converting other Christians to our beliefs. Much of our evangelistic effort is centered on convincing other Christians that we've interpreted the Bible correctly. Effectively we are like the early church, who were trying to convince Jews that Christianity was right. What would it take to convince us that we are take the Gospel to the "whole world"? Do we have a mission to the unchurched?

    Here are two points to discuss:

    Peter had the vision of the clean and unclean animals which gave him the challenge to take the gospel to the rest of the world. Do we need something to kick start our thinking about taking the Gospel to secularist non-believers?

    In the early church, those who were convinced and gave their hearts to Jesus were described as filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Could it be that a "latter rain" Holy Spirit would give us the ability to speak about the Gospel in a language that unchurched and post-moderns will understand?

    • Language unchurched and post-moderns can understand? When working among people whose lexicon doesn’t include the word, “sin”, try using the word, “selfishness”. When working among people who don’t know what the Bible is, try introducing it by reading (or asking them to read) the first twenty chapters of Exodus, then asking, “Who or what do you think spoke to Moses from an apparently-burning bush? When working among people who are trying to make themselves “better”, try telling them about a God who can transform us only as we learn to trust him to do so. (Refer to sanctification as being “received” rather than as being “achieved” or “attained”.) When working among people who are disgusted by so-called Christians trying to impose their religious prohibitions on everyone else, try telling them about him who said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Most people who think they have rejected “God” have really only rejected a caricature of him--often because of the doctrine that “God” is roasting “non-believers” in a perpetually-burning “hell”. Try telling them about a God who says, “Vengeance is mine” but who, because his justice can never allow him to inflict more pain on someone than that person has cause pain to others, is represented as putting people out of their misery--and even then only at a time after everyone understands and acknowledges that he is supremely just AND supremely merciful.

  2. 1. Many lessons in the story of Cornelius, both for the church at large and the individual member. While this devout man's prayer was heard and answered, I believe the greater mission here was Peter, the other apostles, and the church. This experience opened the gospel audience to include all people. No divisions in the kingdom of God, as the covenant was first given to Adam, which included the whole human race. The Gospel is for every sinner.

    2. Earthly culture is what we surrender when we receive Christ and His kingdom. The culture of heaven becomes our new guideline as we lay off every false custom and break down every artificial barrier to our fellow man. If these still affect our relations to others, can we consider ourselves converted to Christ? He broke down every barrier didn't He?(see Eph 2)

    4. If we understand the story of Cain and Abel, and the story of the cross, we should understand the nature of this world and it's natural and inevitable hatred of true Godliness, and the results that will too often come from it. God is on His throne and nothing happens without His permission, who sees every tomorrow and the greater good that can come from even acts of injustice. Faithfulness will ensure that "all things work together for good" no matter what the circumstances.

    • Robert, the word 'culture" has various meanings, and we can't be sure about what you mean by "the culture of heaven." So I'm asking you to clarify what you mean. I'll give you a start with definitions of "culture" found at dictinary.com, leaving out the clearly irrelevant meanings:


      • the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
      • that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
      • a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
      • the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
      • Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

      Please share with us what "the culture of heaven" looks like in practical, recognizable terms.

      • Inge, though we had this very discussion about 2 or 3 years ago, the culture of heaven is that which we live by that no longer violates the law of God, and includes non of the earthly "...cultural, social, and political context in which [we] live that breeds the kind of ethnic tension that Christians are not supposed to harbor"(from the question above in the SSQ). Anything that we do not expect to find in heaven, which is earthly, and not from above or endorsed by God's word, is what we do not bring with us into the new life we find in Christ.

        Yes, it can be a broad term, but if you read my comment in relation to the question I am answering from the quarterly, I believe it will be easy to define.

        The Bible has clear guidelines suitable for every region that would teach us how to live in this world while not being of the world. Paul states that Jesus is now "purifying unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works". The world will find them peculiar, while heaven will see them as pure.
        The Holy Spirit will convict us on every valid point if we are seeking to know and follow it with all our heart(Jer 29:13, Ps 119:1-3).

      • Inge, I will give Robert the opertunity to answer. But let me give you a hint, it is taught in the school of heaven.

        • We could also say that it is demonstrated perfectly in the life of Jesus, including the cross. How many Jewish customs did He ignore as He brought the gospel to all people? Any earthly culture/custom that bars the way to Life will be rejected as false by Christ's faithful witnesses.

  3. If we don’t grow, we can’t do the work of God to our full potential. It’s just that simple.
    If you plant an apple tree where there are no other apple trees it will bare very little fruit. But if you plant another apple tree near it, both trees will bare a lot of fruit through cross-pollination. This means the trees are sharing from one another.
    We must keep the fire of the gospel burning until eternity.

    • I love this illustration, Josiah. Thank you, One of the best thoughts I have read for this week's lesson discussion.

  4. Saturday: itinerant - traveling from place to place. Persecution in Jerusalem allowed the gospel to spread.
    Sunday: Witness - It was important for Peter to have experienced the resurrection of Jairus’s daughter and now with confidence he goes and raises Tabitha in the same manner.
    Monday: Food - Brought separation and death. In the vision of Peter, God used the concept of food bring unity.
    Tuesday: He gave - God himself gave the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the gentiles before the water baptism.
    Wednesday: Seek - Seek help, don't try to do it alone. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the COMMON good.
    Thursday: Persecution - If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you”
    Friday: Equipped -Peter 3 1/2 years walked with the Lord. He was prepared with the vision to spread the gospel to the gentiles. If willing God prepares every one of us for his mission. Every trials, every obstacles, every high, every low, and every green pastures are God's workmanship preparing us to work in his vineyard.

  5. Why do we take baptism serious for church members when the spirit of the holy spirit was given to gentiles without baptism.

    • Why does it matter which order they come in? Can we determine when someone has been given the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be "given the Holy Spirit"?

      • Once you've seen it, yes, it can be determined when someone has been given the Holy Spirit. Remember the account of king Saul being given the Spirit?

        "Given the Spirit": through genuine repentance, one no longer allows sin in the life to impede the reception of the Spirit which God, with great longing, gives to all who ask for it in faith.

    • We must take baptism seriously because Jesus was baptized Himself as our example to follow, and He has commanded it as the duty of all who would become His disciples.

      Also, in Acts 19:1-7 we have an example of some who had not received the Holy Spirit until they were baptized into Christ. Following this baptism, they were given the Holy Spirit and gave evidence of it.


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