GET ACQUAINTED: If you could be a missionary anywhere in the world, where would you go and what people group would you want to minister to? Where would you not want to go and why?
SCRIPTURE: (Acts 10:23-11:18 )
Open your time together with prayer.
NOTE: This is only a guide! Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.
“When Peter was told, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” God was confronting Peter’s prejudice. Peter had bound all the peoples of the world, except for his own race, into one loathsome bundle. God used a vision to bring a radical change in the attitude of the leading apostle of the early church, and it is a good thing he did. Otherwise, Christianity would have been reduced to a narrow sect of Judaism, and you and I would have never heard the Good News. Those whom we reject and scorn will also be excluded from Christ—as far as our Christian outreach and ministry is concerned.
Mahatma Gandhi shares in his autobiography that, during his student days in England, he was deeply touched by reading the Gospels and seriously considered becoming a convert to Christianity, which seemed to offer a real solution to the caste system that divided the people of India. One Sunday he attended church services and decided to ask the minister for enlightenment on salvation and other doctrines. But when Gandhi entered the sanctuary, the ushers refused to give him a seat and suggested that he go elsewhere to worship with his own.
Peter’s attitude suffered a decisive blow in two areas: his unfortunate racial prejudice and his resistance to change.” -Excerpt From: R. Kent Hughes. “Acts.” Apple Books.
- “And he said to them, ‘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 )Why do you think God chose Peter to be the first to go to the Gentiles? Would any other disciples have been successful in both Caesarea and Jerusalem? Why or why not?
- How do you explain the change in attitudes in (Acts 11:2-18 )? How does this story relate to Acts 1:8 ?
- How can the principle of God bestowing His Spirit on non-Jews affect the way you treat unacceptable people you meet?
- How have you been criticized for breaking cultural, religious, or denominational traditions? What did you feel was at stake?
- The lesson of Acts 10:34-35 and Acts 11:18 was not easily learned, even by Peter (see Galatians 2:11-14 ). What might have happened if the early church ignored this principle?
Personal Application and Commitment: Consider the make up of your church (ethnically, socially, politically, age-wise, etc.) Are there some people who would just assume that your church is not for them? Are there some forms or practices you could change to remove those barriers? How would you feel about making these changes? How will you start making those changes?