This talk is about emerging as a transformed people by God’s love, so that we will do everything we can to help each other through this next season.
The Gospel of John acts as something of a love letter from God to His people, a book that has changed more lives than possibly any other book written. It presents Jesus as a man with personal warmth, intimacy, human emotions and relating to people.
The early church didn’t choose the books they wanted to put in the Bible. They eventually recognized the books that God had chosen. Christians had all along been recognizing works that were inspired by the Holy Spirit. These were, as the apostles Paul and Peter had described, “God-breathed” and were treated as scripture as soon as they were read.
I was listening to a TED talk, and became electrified when I heard described five basic, foundational innate conditions all humans are born with, a sort of programming grid upon which morality is written:
Paul worked from the teachings of Jesus. Everything Paul wrote must be sifted through the Gospels, or it won’t read right. Jesus was very clear—a point we have tragically ignored for most of Christendom’s existence—that we are not to rule over anyone within the kingdom.
God’s intent is to restore the earth and its inhabitants, and to reconcile everything to Himself. In keeping with that great mission, Paul sought to bring shalom—peace, wholeness, communion—to the body of Christ by initiating reconciliation between Jewish and Gentile believers.
Apollos had everything you could possibly want to be effective: he had education, talent, skill and experience. But until Apollos had the Holy Spirit, his ministry was not effective.
Peter’s simple, straightforward logic, and God’s obvious affirmation, rendered them speechless. There was no tenable argument, no counterpoint could be made, God had made His desire and will abundantly clear. But this issue was going to crop again and again. Prejudice is hard to get rid of.
Crazily enough, these verses mean exactly the opposite of what you and I have been lead to think.
You know how it feels to be stuck? You can’t see any way out, and you sure wish you could get out. This onramp at the end of Acts chapter 9, leading to Acts chapter 10, is all about breakthroughs, Peter willing to cooperate with God as God began to expand the church and take it in new directions.