Monday, April 14, 2008

Acts: Peter's Vision, Yes Another One (10:9-11:18)

It seems that Peter went up onto the roof to pray around lunchtime and went into a trance. That hardly seems like an unusual experience. He was hungry, and it was warm. Add to that the fact that his vision was about food, and you can imagine what most people would think. In fact, the only thing that makes this more than low blood sugar is that, when he wakes up, the Spirit tells him exactly what is about to happen.
 
See, the vision was one of God telling Peter to do something deeply offensive to his religious convictions. Right after his vision he is told to do something else just as offensive—go hang with some Gentiles. God was telling Peter that he was about to be used to completely alter the trajectory of the Gospel from what the early believers had expected.
 
How can this experience be translated to today’s evangelical culture? Suppose you had a vision one day of a giant sheet coming down from heaven covered in all those words you used to get your mouth washed out with soap for using, and you heard God saying “take and use!”

“No, Lord! Those words have never crossed my lips! At least not most of them, and some only slipped out from time to time when I hurt myself!”

After seeing that vision, you are asked to move to a culture where the language is harsh and the vocabulary is coarse, even among people who believe. Would you go in sharing the Gospel of God’s grace and let the Spirit change people’s lives? Or would you go in preaching the gospel of evangelical legalism and let those people know there is a special place in hell reserved for people who don’t use acceptable euphemisms like poop or number two?

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