Peter was challenged by the Spirit. He had kept all the food laws. Now he was told to rise and eat. We should learn to listen to the Lord more and more. Do we hear God? (Acts 10:9-17, Leviticus 11:1-4)
Speaker(s): Pastor Kim Shibley, Pastor Muhib Khalfalla
Sermon # 11607
6:30 PM on 1/6/2019
You’re a loving church. Always warm. It makes it easy for us. This is an introduction and at the end, we’ll pray for the offering. I love the Bible. It’s amazing. Amen. The more we read the Bible, the more we discover God. We are standing in awe.
At the end of the Bible, the Promisor gives promises to help us escape the corruption in the world. When we study the Greek in that verse, what helped us escape is not so much the promises but the Promisor. I love the commitment of God. He has a commitment towards man. Many know I love the book of Genesis. I read Genesis and it was the beginning of a journey for me. I love this book. It’s amazing. I got to get back to it. At the end of the Bible, we have the commitment of God. The Promisor helping us escape corruption. We study it in Greek and see the grammar. It’s about the Promisor. I went back to Genesis and discovered God had a commitment from the beginning.
Ge 2:8, “good” means established. He established man in the garden. The emphasis is on the place, the garden.
Ge 2:15, the word PUT means he gave him peace. This transition of God putting Adam in the garden was a peaceful transition. He established him and gave him peace. KEEP – to take care of the garden, to discern evil and recognize it and keep it outside the garden. The word in the Hebrew has a military sense to it. God equipped Adam from the beginning to discern evil.
It’s the same word used in Ge. 3:24 when he told the angels to guard the way to the tree. That tells me if God is telling Adam to keep the garden, he equipped him for it. He looked at Adam as a capable being. Many scholars have this thought that the failure of Adam and Eve happened when Adam failed to discern the evil of the serpent in the garden. The failure happened when Adam failed to discern the evil even though he was equipped to discern it. God kept his commitment to man. I made you and formed you in my image. I’m going to give you a promise and another promise and another. I’ll look at the potential you have in Christ.
Ge. 18 shall I hide from Abraham my plans?
vs. 18. God is saying regardless of the failures and disappointments, I have known him. Everyone in Christ has this potential. God is looking at the potential not the failure. God is not condemning Adam even though the language tells us he was able to discern the evil of the serpents. I have known him. He’s not saying Abraham lied. He’s saying he is capable in me. At the end of the Bible, the Apostle Peter is reminding us we are partakers of the divine nature. Our hope is on the Promisor and not the promises. We are looking up for the Promisor. God is longing for relationship with us. We see the consistency of God. He had this commitment toward us. It’s amazing actually. Amen.
Acts 10:9-17, It’s good to be here with you tonight. In 2007, I remember going to visit the country of China where Lucy is from and others as well. It was awesome. I don’t think anything I ate in China was kosher. I remember going to the market in Beijing and seeing all kinds of things unusual to me. To those who were there, they weren’t but to me, they were. Instead of selling chicken kabobs, there were on the stick all kinds of insects. Some people like insects. My son used to. One was a shish kabob of scorpions. I didn’t eat them. I ate something on the street one time with Oliver and we both got sick.
If I were to title this message, we could call it God’s curve ball… we see Peter and God throws him a curve ball in this situation. It seems because of this, it was turned upside down. Peter had seen a lot of things in his life. Jesus changed Peter’s life. His life was completely turned upside down. He had three years with Jesus. He had seen the crucifixion and the resurrection. He went from being a fisher to a fisher of men. Then came the ascension and Pentecost and the birth and rapid growth of the church. Peter himself had become a healer. He was a changed man. It was amazing what had happened to him. This guy was unbelievable. The best preacher ever. He led 5,000 people to Christ just like that.
He was such an amazing guy. So well renowned that in Acts 5:15 they believed if only his shadow came across them, they would be healed. Certainly this man could heal.
In Acts 3, Peter and John healed the blind beggar. Their lives were threatened because of that.
In Acts 10 is when the curve ball comes. Look what happens when we look at this passage. He was waiting for them to make lunch, a kosher lunch by the way, something they could eat. They became very hungry and they wanted to eat. He fell into a trance. For Peter, this was shocking. Think about it. If you’ve ever been in an orthodox Jewish culture and more so with Peter, this was incredibly important. Obeying God was very important and this was a simple way he could obey God and know he was a good Jew by not eating things prohibited. He was good at it. It says he never ate such a thing. He saw heaven open up like a great sheet. All kinds of stuff on it: scorpion, bugs, jumbo shrimp. All kinds of four footed animals and creeping things, bugs. Rise Peter. Kill and eat. What? This is shocking! How could you say this, God? Peter said, no way. Not so, Lord. Not so. I have never eaten anything common or unclean. I don’t think Peter was lying to God. He had never eaten anything common or unclean. This was an ordinance you could keep. If you were careful enough, you could obey the law in that sense. This happened three times. You must not call common what God has cleansed.
Peter is referring to Lev. 11:1. What can’t a Jew eat? Like today? Any animal hasn’t been slaughtered in a kosher way. We think of pork, but did you know that Jews can’t eat horses? No horse meat. No McDonald’s! No. Can’t eat blood. No blood sausage for the French inclined around here or shell fish or lobster or shrimp or oysters or clams. The Inner Harbor is out of business and down in Annapolis as well. And certain types of wines.
Lev. 11:2-4 You can’t eat camels or rock hyrax. I don’t know what that was. No swine. All kinds of things you can’t eat. You can’t eat fish without scales. Peter saw all of this. This is so you get a feel for what Peter was going through. This was really important to him to maintain this discipline he has maintained his entire life. A sheet is coming down from heaven and there is a voice. Peter, kill and eat all the things you have never eaten before. He’s no novice to miracles. He’s seen healings.
Jesus did healings when he was with him as well… he saw people raised from the dead and Jesus’ Transfiguration in Mt. 17, the resurrection of Jesus, the post resurrection appearances and coming of the H.S. When it came to miracles, Peter was no skeptic. I believe in miracles, baby. You want to send a napkin and have someone pray over it for $5? Send it to Peter! In this one case, it intrigues me that in this one case after Peter has seen everything, – this is the guy that denied the Lord and saw Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah. This is the guy who experienced all kinds of crazy stuff.
Peter, kill and eat. No way, Lord. Don’t even try to get me to do it. He wouldn’t do it. No, no, no. I’m not going to do it. I disagree with you, God. He’s horrified. I have never and I will never do that thing. That’s how deeply engrained it is from his youth. That’s where the curve ball is. That’s where it’s difficult for him. Once again, this is the voice of God. What God has cleansed, you must not call common. Peter needed to learn how to hear from God in this way.
Call it what you wish, I mean, I know it’s football season, but I couldn’t think of a football metaphor to go with this, so I had to go with baseball, right? And the Red Socks did win the World Series this year, pastor. I thought I’d let you know. …call it what you want.
It’s something new. It’s something shocking. Something unexpected. Peter would have been very happy to wait for the 12 o’clock meal. Not to go through this ordeal. What should I do? How should I do this? When we received Christ as our Savior, we began to listen to God. We began to learn how to listen to God.
When we are Christians of vintage, been around for a long time – I remember getting saved. I was at a wedding. For four years God worked on me. My friends in high school would take me to meetings. I even said the prayer because I knew I wouldn’t get out of that place unless I said the prayer. I said to a girl, if I say the prayer, can I go home? This is torture. I’ll say anything. I didn’t know God was working on me. I didn’t know how to hear from God then. P. Stratus spoke about unconditional love. I heard from God and received Christ. I knew if I raised my hand, my life would change and it did. It was unexpected. It wasn’t something I thought about, hearing from God. I didn’t know it was going to happen after it happened. I’m in the church…I remember this is 1979 I’m taking a year off between high school and college and going to UMass. I’m ready to go to orientation. I saw Vince. N. put $20 in the offering. What? $20? That’s a lot. You can get 10 lunches for $20. It’s a few years back. That was 40 years ago. Man, you’re old P. Scibelli! I didn’t expect to see that. I thought, do I have to do that? I remember and P. Scibelli will remember, when sitting in church I did not expect to see the pastors look behind me and turn around and it’s my mother. She’s not coming to church. She’s coming to take me by the ear and pull me out of church! You know what else was not expected? My dad kicked me out of the house because I refused to go to UMass. I went to Stevens School of the Bible. That’s amazing. I didn’t expect that. You’re going to live an hour away? Get out of my house. Wait until three years later when I tell them I’m moving to France. It happened over and over again. I wanted to move here to Baltimore after 6 years in Springfield and I remember that guy is so disappointed in me. And he was. I was number six of six. I really learned how to do bad things easy. I had five brothers and sisters to learn from. They were good teachers at doing bad stuff. They would have been happy if I stayed the way I was, carousing and having fun. I had this perspective my dad was always upset with me about everything. I ruined a few holidays at my house. I tell my kids don’t make big announcements on holidays. My sister announced her engagement on Christmas to an Irishman. That Christmas was over! Everyone scattered. I called from France in 1979 and said put dad on the phone. What a stupid guy I was. Dad, I’m getting married to Casey. Apparently, I didn’t know what happened but apparently Thanksgiving was over, too! Sorry, guys! My dad told me years later I had it all wrong. I was the only one who said no to him. I was the only one that said, no, I got to do this dad. I think I was hearing from God.
Things that are unexpected. I want to read you a story: “When the telegraph was the fastest means of long distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code Operator answering an ad in the newspaper. He went to the address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, noisy office. In the background, a telegraph clacked away. A sign on the reception counter instructed to job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man completed his form and sat down with seven other applicants. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the inner office and walked right in. The other applicants perked up wondering what was going on. Why had this man been so bold? They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They took more than a little satisfaction in assuming the young man that went into the office would be reprimanded for the presumption and summarily disqualified for the job. Within a few minutes, the young man emerged from the office escorted by the interviewer who announced to the other applicants, Gentlemen. Thank you very much for coming but the job has been filled by this young man. The other applicants began to grumble. Then one spoke up saying, wait a minute! I don’t understand something. He was the last one to come in and we never even got a chance to be interviewed yet he got the job. That’s not fair! The employer said I’m sorry but all the time you were sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse code. If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.”
I think about that. Am I hearing God? Is there Morse code going on? Am I hearing what he is saying to me? You think of Peter. You think of his situation. In a sense we understand. You’ve never eaten that stuff. Didn’t God speak through burning bush? He also spoke through a donkey. A big fish swallowed Jonah. I think that was a message from God. People were visited by angels. There was a very bright star. More so than anything there was a risen Savior. Peter should have known that. What message is God sending me? Peter should have asked himself. He was only told by God three times before he said yes. And then he had some messengers come and reinforce the message, of course. Maybe for me it was twenty five times. Maybe it was a thousand times. Some people never respond to what God has to say. Isn’t that something? Never! Some people never do anything. Some people get saved and that’s it. Praise the Lord! Whatever! I don’t even know. Maybe they never even get saved. Peter was very reluctant to obey God, right? God lowered the sheet three times so that Peter would get the message but he still didn’t get the message. God was doing something behind the scenes, right, with Cornelius. Cornelius had the pre-vision. Cornelius sent his people to go and get Peter. That’s what God said to do. That’s what the angel said to do. When the Cornelius crowd showed up, everything changed. That’s when he knew God was speaking. That God wanted to tell him something. No Lord. No Lord. No Lord. That’s what Peter said. No, no, no.
God speaks directly to you. No, no, no. Ever think God wanted you to give up your Friday night? No way! Jeopardy is on and the Wheel of Fortune! Don’t forget the Wheel of Fortune! It’s a one/two punch right there. Your Saturday mornings? Outreach, visitation, serving in the church. What about Bible school? Is there someone here who has never learned the Bible, studied the Bible or never went to a Bible study or learned how to interpret or learned how and what the Bible is saying. Maybe God is telling you to be a missionary to your neighbor. I’ll be a missionary to Africa. That’s easy. Right, pastor? I mean in a sense. No problem. Nobody knows me in Africa. I’ll be a missionary somewhere. Be a missionary is awesome. You don’t have to work anymore. I’ll be a missionary. I’m not saying anything bad about missionaries. They work very hard. God bless missionaries. They are amazing. We got so many of them. How about being a missionary to your next door neighbor who you don’t like and doesn’t like you either. Ever have a neighbor like that? Oh, yeah. Been surrounded by next door neighbors, bad ones. No God. I’m not saying “hi” to my next door neighbor. I’m not going to give them any love whatsoever even though that same love was given me.
God was telling Peter to cast out the old. Look at what I want to tell you.
2 Cor 3:18. We do all walk with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed….of the Lord. Just as by the Spirit of the Lord. I love that thought. I love the idea of being changed into God’s image, of not being me anymore and being allowed to change. God is doing something very special to Peter. He’s setting him free from the Law, his habits, of what he is accustomed to. He’s setting him free to reveal Christ to everybody. At this time, most of the church was still in Jerusalem. Most of the church outside of Jerusalem were still Jews. Circumcision and restricted foods and rules and regulations. Why did God want to get rid of these? Why not make everyone follow these rules? The point is to open it up to everyone. Peter was free to reveal the gospel to everyone. To partake in everything good. He was free. We are free to change our habits. We are free to change our laws in that sense.
It’s hard for us to change sometimes. He wants to call us out of sin to be like Jesus. He wants to renew our life. He wants us to have this incredible freedom like Peter was allowed to have after this. Peter did stumble once or twice in that later on when he was judged by others but that’s not the point.
The point is that he said no to God. I ask myself this: What am I willing to say no to God about? Ever think about that? Is there something in my life, in there something in my life that I would not say yes to God about? I love what we do. I love what I do. I’m so happy to see these amazing people.
I’m so happy God graced me with the ability to go down to the D.C. area, Silver Spring. What if I had not listened to God at the time? What if I hadn’t listened to these great elders that told me to go, that allowed me to plant a church down there? Then I wouldn’t know Sandy. And I wouldn’t know Anissa. And I wouldn’t know people that just came to Christ two months ago, Milta and Jake and their two kids. I would never know a new family that’s coming since three weeks ago. I would not know them, Britany and Oliver. And he is definitely a Patriots fan because they named their son Brady! Amazing! They are very sweet people. I wouldn’t know Oliver and Farshad and Afroos. I wouldn’t know Duane and Marilyn. I wouldn’t know Canden. I could name them on and on.
These were things God did for me because I said yes to him at a moment where it would be easy to say no. I like to do other things during the week. Funny, I don’t like to do those things anymore on the weekend. I was so good at golf. God saved me. I was golfing on Harford road, Clifton Park and I was with the guys. I’m not against golf. We are teeing off. I’m a leftie. Harford road is in front of me. Bam! There goes my ball until it gets high up in the air. It said I like fried chicken! It bounced and rolled up the door at KFC. The starter walks up to me and says while you’re over there, get me a two piece! They had a big laugh on me. I don’t do certain things anymore. Not that golf is bad. Do what you want. I’m saying I’m happy with what I do.
We are happy with what we do because we hear it from God. There might be something in my life and there are things in my life that if God were to bring it in front of my face and say you’ve got to do this. I’d say no, not that. How important is it for us always to obey him when we hear him. To obey him and be changed into his image.
Our New Year’s resolution. There is one good New Year’s resolution and that is be more like him. To listen to him. We have to first listen to him. We have to obey what he says. What is it God wants you to obey? What change needs to be made to move you forward and set you free so you can be all that God wants you to be in this life?
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.