Week of April 20
Operating in Holy Spirit Power
Are you one of the thousands of people who have been praying for worldwide revival? Many Christians desire to see a great harvest of souls, but the idea may seem daunting. So many sin barriers, cultural barriers, and faith barriers would need to be torn down. Read Acts 10 and discover how God broke through these barriers to spread the Gospel to every corner of the world. What He did then, He can do again.
In this story, we see the Holy Spirit accomplishing things man never could. God brings about a memorable conversion by preparing the hearts of an unbeliever and a witness. What happens next is spectacular.
As a Roman centurion, Cornelius had 100 men reporting to him. He had heard of Yahweh, God of the Jews, and respected Him enough to donate to the church. Still, Cornelius was not a committed believer. That changed one afternoon when an angel of the Lord appeared to Cornelius. Acts 10:4-5 states, “The angel answered, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter.”
The angel in shining clothes appearing inside his house had Cornelius’ attention, and he obeyed.
Simultaneously, God was preparing Peter’s heart to witness to Cornelius. God had to change Peter’s view of Romans and all Gentiles, a belief system developed over a lifetime of teaching from his parents, his church, and his community. God effectively transformed Peter’s thinking through a vision. God portrayed food that the Jews had always considered as unclean as an analogy to the Gentiles, who were considered even more unclean. No Jew would have ever invited a Gentile into his house nor enter a Gentile home. Yet, the voice in the vision said to Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Verse 15.
At the Spirit’s direction, Peter soon finds himself traveling to Cornelius’ home. Not only had the hearts of Cornelius and Peter been prepared, “the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message” (v.44) and many were saved as a result. The move of the Spirit was so great that Peter said, "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35). This was a world-changing, history-making statement. The Jewish believers were astonished and began to baptize the believing, formerly untouchable Gentiles.
And that is how God took Christianity from being a narrow sect within the Jewish religion to a worldwide religion that breaks down prejudice and unites people in Christ. Christians do not just show tolerance to others, they love all people because God created them and loves them Himself.
You can have confidence that if God has a calling for you, even if it is to go into territory that is unfamiliar to you, He will go ahead of you. Not only will He prepare your heart for your mission, He will prepare others to receive what you offer.
Pray that God will reveal to you what He wants you to do for Him. Ask Him to prepare the hearts of those you can witness to and invite into the kingdom. God’s heart was inclined to Cornelius because of his prayers and his generosity. Ask God to help you pray the prayers and give the gifts that will be most pleasing to Him.
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