Chapter 10 is one of the most important chapters in the entire Book of Acts. It records the opening of the door of faith to the Gentiles. Peter had used the keys of the Kingdom given to him in Matthew 16:19 to open the door of faith to the Jews (Acts 2), and the Samaritans (Acts 8:14). He would now complete his special ministry during this period of transition by opening the door to the Gentiles (see Acts 15:6-11).
In this chapter we learn of the relationship between the believers at Jerusalem and the Gentile believers. We must note that this is not a race prejudice, but rather a misunderstanding of the purposes of God. The Old Testament had pictured an earthly kingdom, with Israel blessing the Gentiles through the reign of the Messiah, but the nation had rejected Christ, and now the Gospel was being presented to the Gentile nation for the first time. Both Jew and Gentile stand condemned and can be saved only through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3 that we must have a personal relationship with Him and be born- again in order to see or enter the Kingdom of heaven.
In the first part of our reading for today we see the church at Jerusalem accepting the Gentiles. In the middle part of chapter 11 we find the church at Jerusalem encouraging the Gentiles; and then, in the latter verses, we even find the church at Jerusalem accepting aid from them. This can be a great lesson to churches throughout our country today. Many of our churches are involved in majoring on the minors who forget that Christ wants His children to work together. When an individual or church loses sight of the calling to reproduce and preach the Gospel, and gets caught up in jealousies, backbiting, and criticizing everyone else's work, there is something drastically wrong with that individual or church. God has given us the Great Commission, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. We can do this individually and collectively, and we who are truly born-again Christians should work together toward this end. Fundamental Baptist Church has been called a soul- winning church and this is what we believe it to be; but we never want to be guilty of being too large or too busy to help a brother in need, or to help another church that is in distress. Fundamental Baptist Church is what she is today because of the financial and spiritual help of God's people. I believe this lesson is clearly given to us in chapter 11. We should, as brothers in Christ, be a definite support and help to our fellow Christians.
Also in today's reading we find that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. The word "Christian" is a world-wide word today, and is grossly misunderstood by many people. Church members are called Christians, and good moral people are called Christians; but God's definition of a Christian is one who has been born-again by the blood of Christ, and has trusted completely in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and is now living a Christ-like life. A Bible Christian is one who is Christ-like, and one who has given his heart and life to serving Christ. Are you that type Christian? Am I that type Christian? This question would bear being asked to every person who proclaims the name of Christ.
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