What do you do when you are accused by your own people, family, friends, or group of something they don't approve of, but feel totally justified and just need a chance to tell your side of the story? What if you have done something totally unacceptable because "God told you."
A pastor of mine, Dr. Gary Pare, once told me that if someone in his congregation came to him and said, "God told me to __________." he would immediately question it and even give a little push back. I asked him why he would do that. Shouldn't a pastor support people in their callings to obedience and submission to God? He then said, " To the degree that they don't back down, regardless of what I say, I know they really have heard from God. It's a test. For me. And for them." They have to be able to explain and support with confidence and passion and Biblical backup.
In my recent reading of Acts 10, a Roman Centurion, Cornelius, seems to have settled into the area with his authority from Rome in tact, but living as a benevolent citizen and part of the community including Jews. The description of him right from the Scripture calls him "A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. "
Acts 10:2 We don't know what has developed in his life to bring him to be like this and still operate with the force that Rome used to control it's empire.
We do know that his lifestyle and heart attitude has gotten God's attention, because Cornelius has a visitation from an "angel of the Lord' who tells him that his prayers and benevolence has been tracked in heaven. He is further told to send for someone named Peter, at Joppa and gets the exact address. Cornelius immediately sends two servants and a soldier to Joppa.
In the meantime, Peter is up on the roof of the house he is staying in by the sea in Joppa and praying about noon. He gets hungry and has asked for lunch. While it's being prepared, he goes into a 'trance'. He sees something floating down towards him from above and it looks like a big sheet. As it gets closer he can see that it is all full of every kind of living creature. I think they must have looked alive and real, because Peter is told by a voice to "Get up. Kill and eat."
Peter is horrified at the suggestion since in the Jewish tradition according to the law of Moses, he is not allowed to eat anything considered "unclean or common". And he has religiously kept that law. So he refuses. This is repeated three times with the statement from the voice, "What God has cleansed, don't call common." The vision ends and Peter is still perplexed over the meaning of it.
As the men Cornelius has sent call at the gate and ask about Peter, he hears another voice. The Holy Spirit says, "Three men are are looking for you. Go down. Go with them. Don't doubt anything. I have sent them." Acts 10: 19 & 20 Naturally, Peter has to ask them what they want and after hearing the report, he invites them in, keeps them overnight and heads out with them the next day. He also takes some of his people with him.
The anticipation by Cornelius is obvious as the house is full of friends and family, and no doubt a few Roman soldiers dutifully standing by, all waiting for Peter. Cornelius actually falls at the feet of Peter in humble devotion like worship. Peter immediatly
One of the biggest turning points in the early church was when the Gentiles were "grafted in" by the work of the Holy Spirit through a divine connection between one of Jesus' disciples and a Roman Centurion. The first character, Peter, has become a major leader in the early church since the day of pentecost, approaching this year on May 29th, 2020 (Hebrew calendar) and May 31 ( Christians celebrated on Sunday). He is doing the rounds of the region as the church is spreading and performing many miracles which is adding to his notoriety in the area. He ends up at a place called Joppa and stays with a tanner in a house by the sea, that has access to the rooftop, which is very common in warm climates. (They don't need sloped roofs for snow to melt off!) Peter is on the roof top around noon praying but thinking about lunch.
However, the story that ends up of the
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