Sermon Summary (8/11/19) “Peter: The Rest of the Story” (Acts (selected verses))
Peter traveled with Jesus for three years, but his ministry continued for 34 more! Half a lifetime. He became the Rock that Jesus predicted; he performed miracles; he raised the dead; he built up the church in Rome; and he was part of the hinge-point of the Christian faith as we will see today.
Last week, we saw Peter forgiven on the Lakeshore. This week he receives the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Church’s birthday with the other disciples. But more than that, Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit and acted on that power. Standing on the day of Pentecost, Peter says, “Men of Judea...let this be known to you, and listen to what I have to say….36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
What Power! And with that power, Peter and John go up to the Temple to pray and meet a lame man on the way. “Silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and walk.” When thrown in prison and then told to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, they say, “ “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 20 for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Being told not to speak in the name of Jesus is like a grandmother being told she can’t show pictures of her grandchild. She cannot keep from doing it!
After telling the church what had happened to them, the church not only prayed “grant your servants to speak your word with boldness.” When was the last time we prayed for boldness?
As the result of boldness, Peter travels towards the Mediterranean, to first Lydda, where he heals a paralyzed man, then with his reputation preceding him, he is called to Joppa where he revives Tabatha.
While in Joppa, begins the story that would be the hinge-point of Christianity. An angel appears to a gentile, a Roman Centurion named Cornelius in Caesarea, telling him to send messengers to the house of Simon, a tanner, in Joppa where Peter is staying. At the same time, Peter has a vision of a sheet lowered to him filled with unclean animals and a voice saying, “Peter, get up, kill and eat.” Peter says, “No, Lord, you know I have never eaten anything unclean.” The voice said, “What God has made clean, you must not profane.”
Peter goes to Cornelius’ house, tells them the good news and the Holy Spirt comes upon the gentiles in Cornelius’ house. Peter realizes that the voice saying “What God has made clean, you must not profane” was not about animals but people. The Good News of Jesus Christ is intended not just for the Jews, but for the whole world!