Lessons From Peter and Cornelius, Part Two
- Friday, October 10, 2003
In last week’s “Lessons From Peter and Cornelius” we looked at the powerful story of these two men—opposites in every way but one—and two of the four important lessons we can learn from them. Namely:
- Don’t think too highly of yourself. (And remember whom you serve.)
- Prayer plows the field and opens the road.
This week we will finish with the final two lessons:
- When you witness, talk about what you know.
- Allow for the work of the Holy Spirit
Talk About What You Know
"I would witness to those around me," a woman said to me once. "Co-workers, friends, neighbors...but I just don't know what to say."
"That's easy enough," I answered. "Just tell what you know."
"But, I'm not a preacher," she argued.
Again I answered, "Just tell what you know."
We writers often hear the same thing: write about what you know...and if you don't know anything about what you write: research! It's pretty much the same formula when it comes to witnessing. When you read the story of Peter and Cornelius, you'll see that Peter's words to Cornelius and his household are pretty basic.
You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:36-43)
While none of us were literally there with Jesus, Peter, and the remaining Twelve, we have the Word of God and all of history pointing to this epic event. Even our calendar is based on the life of Jesus. BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini-in the year of our Lord). We do not mark time according to Buddha, Mohammed, or Confucius. History agrees that a man named Jesus came to earth. An empty tomb marks His departure. Over five hundred witnesses claimed to have seen Him after His crucifixion. He fulfilled literally every single one of over seven hundred promises concerning the Messiah.
Now, then. WHAT has He does for you? It's not necessary to tell Peter's story or Paul's or even Cornelius's. What is YOUR story? How has Jesus impacted YOUR life?
Tell what you know.
If you want to know more, study the Word.
And remember to live your life in such a way as to reflect what you believe. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read.
Allow For the Work of the Holy Spirit
What happened next...well, this part of the story excites me every time I read it.
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)
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