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james423

Lesson 5 - Peter and the Gentiles

Overall Question: What changed about Peter's relationship with the Gentiles?

Memory Text: Acts 2:38-39 Common English Bible 38 Peter replied, "Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites."

 

Sunday – Peter at Pentecost

Acts 2:5-21 God’s Word to the Nations “5 ¶ Devout Jewish men from every nation were living in Jerusalem. 6 They gathered when they heard the wind. Each person was startled to recognize his own dialect when the disciples spoke. 7 Stunned and amazed, the people in the crowd said, "All of these men who are speaking are Galileans. 8 Why do we hear them speaking in our native dialects? 9 We’re Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. We’re people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the country near Cyrene in Libya. We’re Jewish people, converts to Judaism, and visitors from Rome, 11 Crete, and Arabia. We hear these men in our own languages as they tell about the miracles that God has done." 12 All of these devout men were stunned and puzzled. They asked each other, "What can this mean?" 13 Others said jokingly, "They’re drunk on sweet wine." 14 ¶ Then Peter stood up with the eleven apostles. In a loud voice he said to them, "Men of Judea and everyone living in Jerusalem! You must understand this, so pay attention to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning. 16 Rather, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about: 17 ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will speak what God has revealed. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. 18 In those days I will pour my Spirit on my servants, on both men and women. They will speak what God has revealed. 19 I will work miracles in the sky and give signs on the earth: blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. 20 The sun will become dark, and the moon will become as red as blood before the terrifying day of the Lord comes. 21 Then whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

 

Monday – The Conversion of Cornelius, Part 1

Acts 10:1-8 Common English Bible 1 There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Company. 2 He and his whole household were pious, Gentile God-worshippers. He gave generously to those in need among the Jewish people and prayed to God constantly. 3 One day at nearly three o’clock in the afternoon, he clearly saw an angel from God in a vision. The angel came to him and said, "Cornelius!" 4 Startled, he stared at the angel and replied, "What is it, Lord?" The angel said, "Your prayers and your compassionate acts are like a memorial offering to God. 5 Send messengers to Joppa at once and summon a certain Simon, the one known as Peter. 6 He is a guest of Simon the tanner, whose house is near the seacoast." 7 When the angel who was speaking to him had gone, Cornelius summoned two of his household servants along with a pious soldier from his personal staff. 8 He explained everything to them, then sent them to Joppa. 9 At noon on the following day, as their journey brought them close to the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat. While others were preparing the meal, he had a visionary experience.

Acts 10:23-48 New English Translation 23 So Peter invited them in and entertained them as guests. On the next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 The following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting anxiously for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 So when Peter came in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter helped him up, saying, “Stand up. I too am a mere mortal.” 27 Peter continued talking with him as he went in, and he found many people gathered together. 28 He said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile, yet God has shown me that I should call no person defiled or ritually unclean. 29 Therefore when you sent for me, I came without any objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock in the afternoon, I was praying in my house, and suddenly a man in shining clothing stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your acts of charity have been remembered before God. 32 Therefore send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. This man is staying as a guest in the house of Simon the tanner, by the sea.’ 33 Therefore I sent for you at once, and you were kind enough to come. So now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to say to us.” 34 Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, 35 but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all) – 37 you know what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to warn them that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 About him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days.

 

Tuesday – The Conversion of Cornelius, Part 2

Acts 10:33 God’s Word to the Nations “So I sent for you immediately. Thank you for coming. All of us are here now in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has ordered you to say."”

Acts 11:14 New English Translation who will speak a message to you by which you and your entire household will be saved.

Romans 2:14-16 New Century Version 14 (Those who are not Jews do not have the law, but when they freely do what the law commands, they are the law for themselves. This is true even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands. And they show this by their consciences. Sometimes their thoughts tell them they did wrong, and sometimes their thoughts tell them they did right.) 16 All these things will happen on the day when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge people’s secret thoughts. The Good News that I preach says this.

 

Wednesday – Peter’s Vision

Acts 10:9-22 New Century Version 9 About noon the next day as they came near Joppa, Peter was going up to the roof to pray. 10 He was hungry and wanted to eat, but while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. 11 He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a big sheet being lowered to earth by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. 13 Then a voice said to Peter, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.” 15 But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them unholy!” 16 This happened three times, and at once the sheet was taken back to heaven. 17 While Peter was wondering what this vision meant, the men Cornelius sent had found Simon’s house and were standing at the gate. 18 They asked, “Is Simon Peter staying here?” 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Listen, three men are looking for you. 20 Get up and go downstairs. Go with them without doubting, because I have sent them to you.”  21 So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. Why did you come here?” 22 They said, “A holy angel spoke to Cornelius, an army officer and a good man; he worships God. All the people respect him. The angel told Cornelius to ask you to come to his house so that he can hear what you have to say.”

Acts 11:1-10 New Living Translation “1 ¶ Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2 But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. 3 “You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said. 4 Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5 “I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6 When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of small animals, wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7 And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ 8 “ ‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’ 9 “But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10 This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven.”

 

Thursday – The Jerusalem Decree

Acts 15:1-35 Contemporary English Version 1 Some people came from Judea and started teaching the Lord's followers that they could not be saved, unless they were circumcised as Moses had taught. 2 This caused trouble, and Paul and Barnabas argued with them about this teaching. So it was decided to send Paul and Barnabas and a few others to Jerusalem to discuss this problem with the apostles and the church leaders. 3 The men who were sent by the church went through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling how the Gentiles had turned to God. This news made the Lord's followers very happy. 4 When the men arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, including the apostles and the leaders. They told them everything God had helped them do. 5 But some Pharisees had become followers of the Lord. They stood up and said, “Gentiles who have faith in the Lord must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and church leaders met to discuss this problem about Gentiles. 7 They had talked it over for a long time, when Peter got up and said: My friends, you know that God decided long ago to let me be the one from your group to preach the good news to the Gentiles. God did this so they would hear and obey him. 8 He knows what is in everyone's heart. And he showed he had chosen the Gentiles, when he gave them the Holy Spirit, just as he had given his Spirit to us. 9 God treated them in the same way that he treated us. They put their faith in him, and he made their hearts pure. 10 Now why are you trying to make God angry by placing a heavy burden on these followers? This burden was too heavy for us or our ancestors. 11 But we believe that we will be saved by the gift of undeserved grace from our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the Gentiles are. 12 Everyone kept quiet and listened as Barnabas and Paul told how God had given them the power to work a lot of miracles and wonders for the Gentiles.13 After they had finished speaking, James said: My friends, listen to me! 14 Simon Peter has told how God first came to the Gentiles and made some of them his own people. 15 This agrees with what the prophets wrote, 16 “I, the Lord, will return and rebuild David's fallen house. I will build it from its ruins and set it up again. 17 Then other nations will turn to me and be my chosen ones. I, the Lord, say this. 18 I promised it long ago.” 19 And so, my friends, I don't think we should place burdens on the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 We should simply write and tell them not to eat anything that has been offered to idols. They should be told not to eat the meat of any animal that has been strangled or that still has blood in it. They must also not commit any terrible sexual sins. 21 We must remember that the Law of Moses has been preached in city after city for many years, and every Sabbath it is read in our synagogues. 22 The apostles, the leaders, and all the church members decided to send some men to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Silas and Judas Barsabbas, who were two leaders of the Lord's followers. 23 They wrote a letter that said: We apostles and leaders send friendly greetings to all of you Gentiles who are followers of the Lord in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. 24 We have heard that some people from here have terribly upset you by what they said. But we did not send them! 25 So we met together and decided to choose some men and to send them to you along with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. 26 These men have risked their lives for our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We are also sending Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things that we are writing. 28 The Holy Spirit has shown us that we should not place any extra burden on you. 29 But you should not eat anything offered to idols. You should not eat any meat that still has the blood in it or any meat of any animal that has been strangled. You must also not commit any terrible sexual sins. If you follow these instructions, you will do well. We send our best wishes. 30 The four men left Jerusalem and went to Antioch. Then they called the church members together and gave them the letter. 31 When the letter was read, everyone was pleased and greatly encouraged. 32 Judas and Silas were prophets, and they spoke a long time, encouraging and helping the Lord's followers. 33 The men from Jerusalem stayed on in Antioch for a while. And when they left to return to the ones who had sent them, the followers wished them well. 34-35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached about the Lord.

Acts 15:1 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY The query may be raised as to why the Lord did not anticipate such questions as this during His ministry on earth. He did not deal with it specifically, but did lay general emphasis upon true religion as being that of the soul, and not of outward observances. Christ laid a broad foundation, and enunciated principles rather than detailed dogmas. The church was to be led step by step into all truth by the Holy Spirit.

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