Peter: Openness    Acts 11:4-18    July 06, 2008

It seems Simon Peter always spoke out and possessed a boldness in his declarations about Jesus. He did not usually try to hide his feelings or thoughts. I don't find it unusual that he spoke out at Caesarea Philippi or preached on the day of Pentecost. He denied the Lord but received forgiveness from the Lord and the church. This probably made him even more open and bold.

1. Peter: Openness In . . Sharing Testimonies. 11:4-10

A. Sharing In An . . Orderly Manner. 11:4-6
4 Peter began to explain to them in an orderly sequence, saying: 5 "I was in the town of Joppa praying,
and I saw, in a visionary state, an object coming down that resembled a large sheet being lowered from
heaven by its four corners, and it came to me. 6 When I looked closely and considered it, I saw the
four-footed animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.

B. Sharing In An . . Objective Manner. 11:7-10
7 Then I also heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat!' 8 "'No, Lord!' I said. 'For nothing
common or unclean has ever entered my mouth!' 9 But a voice answered from heaven a second time, 'What
God has made clean, you must not call common.' 10 "Now this happened three times, and then everything
was drawn up again into heaven.

        Simon Peter knew he needed to share his testimony in an orderly manner. Some Jews were very cautions about Gentiles becoming Christians. They wanted to include identification with Jewish ritual and tradition. He also gave his testimony in an objective manner. He wanted everyone to know God alone thrust him out on this assignment. We call such assignments "divine appointments." Are you a willing witness? Do you cross the path of persons waiting to hear? Let's all be open to share our faith.

2. Peter: Openness In . . Substantiating Truth. 11:11-15

A. Substantiating Through The . . Spirit. 11:11-12a
11 A that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the
house where we were. 12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them with no doubts at all.

B. Substantiating Through The . . Six Christian Brothers. 11:12b-13
"These six brothers accompanied me, and we went into the man's house. 13 He reported to us how he
had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, 'Send to Joppa, and call for Simon, who is also named

C. Substantiating Through The . . Sovereignty Of God. 11:14-15
14 He will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.' 15 "As I began
to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them, just as on us at the beginning.

        In substantiating the truth of his testimony Simon told of the Spirit using a dream to illustrate Jew and Gentile relationships. Then some men appeared at his door ready to take him to Cornelius' house. In my understanding the six men with him confirmed all Simon Peter said. The bottom line in the substantiating of His testimony is simply expressed in the sovereign acts of God. The report of the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of the Gentiles just as He did at Jerusalem made the supreme substantiation. It is interesting to me that Jesus told His disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the remote parts of the earth. Specific and similar experiences of the Holy Spirit coming down on the believers occurred in Jerusalem (Acts 2), Judea (Acts 10), Samaria (Acts 8), and the remotest parts of the earth (Acts 19). The Spirit gave the ability to speak in other languages in each of these locations. However the more normal experience with the Holy Spirit is reported in the eighth chapter of Romans.

3. Peter: Openness In . . Systematic Theology. 11:16-18

A. Systematic Theology Building Upon The . . Word Of God. 11:16
16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be
baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

B. Systematic Theology Building Upon The . . Work Of God. 11:17
17 Therefore, if God gave them the same gift that He also gave to us when we believed on the Lord
Jesus Christ, how could I possibly hinder God?"

C. Systematic Theology Building Upon The . . Will Of God. 11:18
18 When they heard this they became silent. Then they glorified God, saying, "So God has granted repentance resulting in life to even the Gentiles!"

        To be systematic in you theology you need to build one truth upon another. Simon knew what he witnessed concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit with Cornelius, matched what he experienced on the day of Pentecost.  It was all God's doing on Pentecost, and all God's work with Cornelius. Because this was obviously the will of God to share the Spirit with the Gentiles the naysayers were silenced. Note, no one had to coax these people to receive the Spirit He just came upon them. I have known people who were told to let their arms drop and put their heads back and begin uttering sounds and they would be able to speak in tongues. If it is worked up rather than coming down spontaneously from God it is not God's doing. Simon Peter represents one who remained open to the Lord. Amen? Amen!