The unexpected adventure of eating with strangers

13/08/11 7:34 PM

Acts 10

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.  He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.  One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision.  He distinctly say an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear.  “What is it Lord?” he asked.  The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.  Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.  He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”  When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.  He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.  About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city,  Peter went up on the roof to pray.  He became hungary and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.  He saw heaven opened and contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.  Then a voice told him, “Get up Peter.  Kill and eat.”  “Surely not Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.  While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.    They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.  While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you.  So get up and go downstairs.  Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”  Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one your looking for.  Why have you come?” The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion.  He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is repected by all the Jewish people.  A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.  The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.  The following day he arrived in Caesarea.  Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.  As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.  But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only human myself.”  While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.  He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associaate with gentiles or visit them.  But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection.  May I ask you why you sent for me?”  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy-Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water.  They have recieved the Holy Spirit just as we have.”  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

What happens when we coss cultural boundaries?

Our picture of God’s goodness and bigness is expanded.

Luke 10:1-9

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go!  I am sending out like lambs among wolves.  Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.  “When you enter a house, first say ‘Peace to this house.’  If the head of the house loves peace, your peace will rest o whatevere they give you, for workers deserve their wages.  Do not move around from house to house.  “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘ The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

What does it take to ‘eat what is set before you’?

1. Stubbornly resolve to see the good.

2. Especially avoid starting with disagreements.

3. Give and take.

How do we get started?

1. Choose people group to pray for

a. .. and listen for guidence from God.

2. Do something now

3. Take seriously any signs of hospitality.

4. Bless your new friends at every opportunity.

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