Acts Chapter Eleven
Read Acts 11:1-18
v1. “AND THE APOSTLES AND
BRETHREN THAT WERE IN
travels fast, bad news and gossip a lot faster.
The Jews at
v2. “AND WHEN PETER WAS COME UP TO
those of the circumcision that were at
Acts 10:45 “AND THEY OF THE CIRCUMCISION WHICH BELIEVED WERE ASTONISHED, AS MANY AS CAME WITH PETER, BECAUSE THAT ON THE GENTILES ALSO WAS POURED OUT THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.”
Galatians “FOR BEFORE THAT CERTAIN CAME FROM JAMES, HE DID EAT WITH THE GENTILES: BUT WHEN THEY WERE COME, HE WITHDREW AND SEPARATED HIMSELF, FEARING THEM WHICH WERE OF THE CIRCUMCISION.”
v3. “SAYING, THOU WENTEST IN TO MEN UNCIRCUMCISED, AND DIDST EAT WITH THEM.”
Peter understood the result of his actions when he went into Cornelius’ house didn’t he? But the old traditions and prejudices die hard or not at all in many cases.
Acts 10:28 “AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, YE KNOW HOW THAT IT IS AN UNLAWFUL THING FOR A MAN THAT IS A JEW TO KEEP COMPANY, OR COME INTO ONE OF ANOTHER NATION, BUT GOD HATH SHOWED ME THAT I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN.”
But God’s messenger had just appeared unto him in a trance and, at that time at least, he understood the God didn’t make such distinctions.
v4. “BUT PETER REHEARSED the matter FROM THE BEGINNING, AND EXPOUNDED it BY ORDER UNTO THEM, SAYING,”
What is meant by him rehearsing and expounding on this subject? He told them all that happened, in detail, starting at the beginning and then taking them through it in order as things happened. Why do you think that this event was considered so important that it is recorded twice in consecutive chapters? It is to highlight, underscore, emphasize that God considers all men to be equal in value. All mankind was created in the image of God and Jesus Christ (Genesis -27).
v5. “I WAS IN THE CITY OF JOPPA PRAYING: AND IN A TRANCE I SAW A VISION, A CERTAIN VESSEL DESCEND, AS IT HAD BEEN A GREAT SHEET, LET DOWN FROM HEAVEN BY FOUR CORNERS; AND IT CAME EVEN TO ME:”
Peter starts to tell his story. He was in Joppa, on the rooftop as we studied earlier, praying and in a trance when a vessel, like a sheet held up at the four corners was let down from heaven and it came even with him.
v6. “UPON THE WHICH WHEN I HAD FASTENED MINE EYES, I CONSIDERED, AND SAW FOURFOOTED BEASTS OF THE EARTH, AND WILD BEASTS AND CREEPING THINGS, AND FOWLS OF THE AIR.”
It has all these animals on it, both domestic and wild, creeping things and fowls of the air or those that fly; both those that were approved under the Mosaic Law and those that were forbidden.
v7. “AND I HEARD A VOICE SAYING UNTO ME, PETER: SLAY AND EAT.”
As you will remember from our earlier study, Peter is hungry, even to the point of being famished. The messenger tells him to rise, slay and eat of those animals, fowls and creeping things including those that, under the Mosaic Law, were unclean and forbidden.
v8. “BUT I SAID, NOT SO, LORD: FOR NOTHING COMMON OR UNCLEAN HATH AT ANY TIME ENTERED INTO MY MOUTH.”
Peter tells them that he refused the offering, even though he knew it came from the Lord. He upheld the Jewish tradition, followed the Jewish law as taught by those of the circumcision to the point of even refusing God’s invitation.
v9. “BUT THE VOICE ANSWERED ME AGAIN FROM HEAVEN, WHAT GOD HATH CLEANSED, that CALL NOT THOU COMMON.”
Peter’s refusal gets God to admonish him, correct him, convey to him that he needs to change his thinking. He is not to call anything common or unclean that God has prepared.
v10. “AND THIS WAS DONE THREE TIMES: AND ALL WERE DRAWN UP AGAIN UNTO HEAVEN.”
Three times Peter was offered the contents of the vessel that appears as a sheet drawn up by the four corners. Three times he refuses to do as God’s messenger instructs him.
v11. “AND, BEHOLD, IMMEDIATELY THERE WERE THREE
MEN ALREADY COME UNTO THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS, SENT FROM
relates the close relationship between the offering by God of those animals to
eat that were considered common or unclean and the arrival of the Gentile
v12. “AND THE SPIRIT BADE ME GO WITH THEM, NOTHING DOUBTING. MOREOVER THESE SIX BRETHREN ACCOMPANIED ME, AND WE ENTERED INTO THE MAN’S HOUSE.”
He leaves no doubt. The Holy Spirit gave him direction to go unto the house of Cornelius. These six witnesses from Joppa went with him, so the events he is relating are not just his observations but there are those standing by that can verify and validate what he’s saying.
v13. “AND HE SHOWED US HOW HE HAD SEEN AN ANGEL IN HIS HOUSE, WHICH STOOD AND SAID UNTO HIM, SEND MEN TO JOPPA, AND CALL FOR SIMON, WHOSE SURNAME IS PETER;
He relates how that Cornelius had seen an angel, a messenger from God, who had come to him. This messenger told Cornelius to send to Joppa for Simon Peter.
v14. “WHO SHALL TELL THEE WORDS, WHEREBY THOU AND ALL THY HOUSE SHALL BE SAVED.”
This is new information. In chapter ten we’re told that:
Acts “….WHO, WHEN HE COMETH, SHALL SPEAK UNTO THEE.”
but Peter says when he tells the
Jews about these events that Cornelius would be told “WORDS, WHEREBY THOU AND
ALL THY HOUSE SHALL BE SAVED.” We might
say, no wonder the entire household was gathered along with near friends as
well. Redemption from sin and eternal
salvation is being preached throughout the land but only to the descendants of
v15. “AND AS I BEGAN TO SPEAK, THE HOLY GHOST FELL ON THEM, AS ON US AT THE BEGINNING.”
Peter had no more than begun to speak when Cornelius and his household received the power of the Holy Spirit, “AS ON US (the apostles) AT THE BEGINNING.” What beginning?
Acts 2:4 “AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.”
The day of Pentecost; that beginning. The Holy Spirit fell on these unsaved Gentiles in the same manner as on the apostles at Pentecost. God has shown without any shadow of doubt his acceptance of these people into His kingdom, His family.
v16. “THEN REMEMBERED I THE WORD OF THE LORD, HOW THAT HE SAID, JOHN INDEED BAPITZED WITH WATER; BUT YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST.”
We have this event foretold in prophecy by Joel:
Joel 2:28 “AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS AFTERWARD, that I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT UPON ALL FLESH; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS:”
Again by John the Bapitzer:
Matthew “I INDEED BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER UNTO REPENTANCE: BUT HE THAT COMETH AFTER ME IS MIGHTIER THAN I, WHOSE SHOES I AM NOT WORTHY TO BEAR: HE SHALL BAPITZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND with FIRE.”
And confirmed by Jesus Christ just before Pentecost:
Acts 1:5 “FOR JOHN TRULY BAPITIZED WITH WATER; BUT YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST NOT MANY DAYS HENCE.”
And when the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit the same way
that the apostles had received it in
v17. “FORASMUCH THEN AS GOD GAVE THEM THE LIKE GIFT AS he did UNTO US, WHO BELIEVED ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST; WHAT WAS I THAT I COULD WITHSTAND GOD?”
Peter says, I can’t stand in the way of God. It is God’s will that these people should be accepted into the church. It is God’s will that these people be considered brethren, it is God’s will that they should be baptized for remission of their sins, is it God’s will… He was but the instrument chosen by Jesus to carry out that will. Why? Again, because Peter was given the keys to the kingdom:
Matthew “19And I will give unto thee the keys of the
v18. “WHEN THEY HEARD THESE THINGS, THEY HELD THEIR PEACE, AND GLORIFIED GOD, SAYING, THEN HATH GOD ALSO TO THE GENTILES GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE.”
They recognized and accepted God’s decision in the matter. I would that some of our brethren would show the same kind of spirit today regarding other matters. Paul writes:
Romans 10:12-13 “FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: FOR THE SAME LORD OVER ALL IS RICH UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM. FOR WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.”
What do we mean by the term “CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD”? Seek His favor, obey His commandments, humble yourself before him;
Romans 15:9 “AND THAT THE GENTILES MIGHT GLORIFY GOD FOR his MERCY; AS IT IS WRITTEN, FOR THIS CAUSE I WILL CONFESS TO THEE AMONG THE GENTILES, AND SING UNTO THY NAME.”
It is written! Do we know where? At Psalm of David:
Psalms “THEREFORE WILL I GIVE THANKS UNTO THEE, O LORD, AMONG THE HEATHEN, AND SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME.”
Read Acts 11:19-21
v19. “NOW THEY WHICH WERE SCATTERED ABROAD UPON
THE PERSECUTION THAT AROSE ABOUT STEPHEN TRAVELLED AS FAR AS PHENICE, AND
historian, now goes back to the time that would be represented by chapter
eight. After the death of Stephen and
the lack of Roman reaction, the Jews became bolder in their persecution of
Christians and as a result they were dispersed from
v20. “AND SOME OF THEM WERE MEN OF
Now some of
these men were from
v21. “AND THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS WITH THEM: AND A GREAT NUMBER BELIEVED, AND TURNED UNTO THE LORD.”
God gave the increase. They preached Jesus, the Word and God provided the numbers. It seems that the power of the Gospel is such that when it is preached to those who are willing to listen it will convert great numbers. What would you suppose is our problem today? We preach the same gospel but we’re not converting great numbers. Has the seed gone bad? Of course not, it’s God’s Word. Are the sowers incompetent? We would rather not think so but at the same time I wonder how much real sowing we’re doing. What other reasons could there be? Is the ground no good, not willing to receive the seed, not taking root when it does, is it like the example found in the parable of the soils? Seed won’t grow on rocks, or if it does grow, it gets choked out in the weeds and briars or just gets started and the devil snatches it away. A major part of the problem is that half baked gospel that the denominations peddle, deceiving people by the thousands and keeping them from hearing or accepting the true word of God.
Read Acts 11:22-27
v22. “THEN TIDINGS OF THESE THINGS CAME UNTO THE
EARS OF THE CHURCH WHICH WAS IN
was established in
v23. “WHO, WHEN HE CAME, AND HAD SEEN THE GRACE OF GOD, WAS GLAD, AND EXHORTED THEM ALL, THAT WITH PURPOSE OF HEART THEY WOULD CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD.”
has been given to all mankind hasn’t it?
The opportunity to obey God, share the blessings of being a child of
God, share the promise of a home in heaven in the hereafter is given to all
mankind regardless of color, race, or national origin. And man thinks he invented integration
doesn’t he? But in reality we are all
one big family that became separated when?
Barnabas goes to
v24. “FOR HE WAS A GOOD MAN, AND FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST AND OF FAITH: AND MUCH PEOPLE WAS ADDED UNTO THE LORD.”
What is a good man?
Psalms 37:23 “THE STEPS OF A good MAN ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD: AND HE DELIGHTETH IN HIS WAY.”
Do we find very many men described in the Bible as a “good man?” Not many, in fact we find these specific words in the King James Version only 13 times. Only two or three of these 13 apply this term to a man, the others are telling us what a good man is.
But this Barnabas was a good man. God calls him a good man through the Holy Spirit so that pretty well tells us what we need to know about the man doesn’t it? But in addition he was full of the Holy Spirit and was more than willing to work in the Lord’s vineyard. Consequently he obviously had a reputation among his brethren as sound and solid in the faith, so one that they could readily send to another region to see about the church there. Knowing that they could trust him without hesitation and that he would do what God wanted him to do.
v25. “THEN DEPARTED BARNABAS TO
remembers Saul. It would seem that he’s
needed for the work at
v26. “AND WHEN HE HAD FOUND HIM, HE BROUGHT HIM TO
Barnabas found Saul he brought him to
Read Acts 11:27-30
v27. “AND IN THESE DAYS CAME PROPHETS FROM
There were prophets in the church during the first century weren’t there?
Ephesians “AND HE GAVE SOME, APOSTLES; AND SOME, PROPHETS; AND SOME, EVANGELISTS; AND SOME, PASTORS AND TEACHERS.”
I Corinthians 12:28 “AND GOD HATH SET SOME IN THE CHURCH, FIRST APOSTLES, SECONDARILY PROPHETS, THIRDLY TEACHERS, AFTER THAT MIRACLES, THEN GIFTS OF HEALINGS, HELPS, GOVERNMENTS, DIVERSITIES OF TONGUES.”
We’re about to hear about one of those prophets but there were others:
Acts 13:1 “NOW THERE WERE IN THE CHURCH THAT WAS AT ANTIOCH CERTAIN PROPHETS AND TEACHERS; AS BARNABAS, AND SIMEON THAT WAS CALLED NIGER, AND LUCIUS OF CYRENE, AND MANAEN, WHICH HAD BEEN BROUGHT UP WITH HEROD THE TETARCH, AND SAUL.”
v28. “AND THERE STOOD UP ONE OF THEM NAMED AGABUS, AND SIGNIFIED BY THE SPIRIT THAT THERE SHOULD BE GREAT DEARTH THROUGHOUT ALL THE WORLD: WHICH CAME TO PASS IN THE DAYS OF CLAUDIUS CAESAR.”
these prophets, not mentioned in Acts
13:1, but here was a man called Agabus who came
Acts “AND AS WE TARRIED there MANY DAYS, THERE CAME DOWN FROM JUDAEA A CERTAIN PROPHET, NAMED AGABUS.”
Yes, we meet him again in
gives us an opportunity to date this portion of the book of Acts with some
degree of accuracy. Claudius Caesar
v29. “THEN THE DISCIPLES, EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO
HIS ABILITY, DETERMINED TO SEND RELIEF UNTO THE BRETHREN WHICH DWELT IN
Paul continued this practice throughout his journeys didn’t he?
Romans “FOR IT HATH PLEASED
This activity lead to the instructions we have concerning our giving didn’t it?
I Corinthians 16:1-2
“NOW CONCERNING THE COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS, AS I
HAVE GIVEN ORDER TO THE CHURCHES OF
v30. “WHICH ALSO THEY DID, AND SENT IT TO THE ELDERS BY THE HANDS OF BARNABAS AND SAUL.”
thing we might note here. This is the
first time in the New Testament that we have the word “elders” mentioned in
relationship to the church. All previous
mention of elders has been in connection with the Jewish religion and the
leadership of the Jews in