Acts 11 Lesson

Sharing The Gospel Is Everyone's Responsibility

“IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME”

Acts Chapter 11 is a powerful chapter that brings to the forefront two important questions about Christianity:

  1. Whose responsibility is it to share the Gospel?
  2. Who are we supposed to share it with?

THE GOSPEL IS SHARED WITH THE GENTILES

Sharing the gospel with the gentiles was a big deal! No longer was the word of God reserved for a Jewish audience only. Now the good news could be shared throughout the world, to both Jews and Gentiles!

As you might imagine, this change invoked quite a reaction from the Jewish people of the time. Luke writes:

  • And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” – Acts 11:2-3.

The way that Peter addressed their concerns is a great model for us to follow even today.

  • But Peter began speaking and proceededto explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me, and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’” – Acts 11:4-9.

Peter took the time to share his testimony and the reasons for his faith, and the audience was receptive to his message. This is the same approach that we can take today. As we share the Gospel with others, we can start by doing the same two things that Peter did:

  1. Share our own personal conversion story,
  2. Highlight the reasons for our faith.

Peter wrote about this responsibility in his first epistle:

  • “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” - 1 Peter 3:15.

THE GOSPEL IS FOR EVERYONE!

As Peter shared his own personal story of faith in Acts 11:4-9, some may have initially thought that he was talking simply about what types of food to eat. Further inspection reveals something much more powerful! Peter was referring to the sharing of the Gospel, and how it was to be shared with all people, everywhere!  Through a series of events, God brought Peter and Cornelius together to make it clear to all of us that the Gospel is to be preached to all people regardless of race, gender, nationality, or location!

Jesus also drove home this point in what is commonly referred to as “The Great Commission.”

  • “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Mathew 28:18-20.

PETER’S APPROACH TO SHARING THE GOSPEL

Peter’s approach to sharing the Gospel is something that we all can learn from. Luke writes that Peter began speaking, “in an orderly sequence.” (Acts 11:4). Peter had learned from the treatment of Stephen, to be careful. People can be sensitive to any change, and a change as big as this could bring about a strong reaction.   You may recall from Acts 7 how the people rose up and argued against Stephen who was sharing the Gospel. Luke writes that Stephen was:

  • “Full of grace and power,” and, “Performing great wonders and signs among the people.” – Acts 7:8.

Stephen would eventually be stoned to death. The jealous leaders of the day were bearing false witness about Stephen saying:

  • “For we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.” – Acts 6:14-15.

People in positions of power generally do not respond well to change. They can see change as a threat to the preferred status and treatment they have come to enjoy and expect. That is why Peter was wise to lay out the message as he did.

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Jesus said, in what is commonly referred to as, “The Great Commission:”

  • “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Mathew 28:18-20.

In breaking down this scripture, pay attention to the following phrases:

  1. "All authority,"
  2. "All nations,"
  3. "Baptizing,"
  4. "Teaching,"
  5. "Obey."

The authority of Jesus knows no limits.  As we reflect on The Great Commission, we need to consider what role we are going to play in sharing the good news of Jesus with the world.  

CONCLUSION

Sharing the Gospel is everyone’s responsibility. Through our words, and through our deeds, we are to live life in such a way that others see our good deeds and glorify God in heaven (Mathew 5:16).

There are no boundaries as to where we can share the Gospel. Today’s technology has opened doors to sharing the Gospel around the globe! We all share the responsibility to teach others about Christ. If we do not know where to begin, we can follow the example of Peter by:

  1. Sharing our own personal conversion stories,
  2. Highlighting the reasons for our faith.

We will end today’s lesson with the following two verses that encourage us all to do our part in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world:

  1. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” -Mark 16:15,
  2. “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal.” - John 4:35-36.

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Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

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