Explore the Bible study: Accepting

9:19 PM

While Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) was the most significant movement of God for the church, there was another Pentecost-type experience that was equally significant. It was when God opened the eyes of the Jews to the clear message that the gospel was for everyone who would believe - both Jews and Gentiles! The ground was truly level at the foot of the cross! This is the focus of Explore the Study Bible study: Accepting.

When you read Acts 10:1-48, keep in mind that God demonstrated that the same gospel, same power, same Holy Spirit, same work that was experienced by the Jews at Pentecost could and should take place among the Gentiles as well.

Here are some ideas you might find helpful when guiding your discussion:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.

Opening Discussion
  • Do you spend more time on your front porch or in your backyard?
  • Do you have a privacy fence around your backyard?
  • Would you say that you are more isolated from your neighbors than you were while growing up?
  • Why are we more isolated from our neighbors and others?
  • Would we consider our desire for isolation as a protective barrier?
The Point: Barriers, walls, or fences are usually created for protection or privacy, but what it leads to is isolation. And in that isolation we begin to form views and opinions about those outside that hinder us from being witnesses. We might build barriers around our homes, but language, religion, skin color, education, and social standing are other barriers that lead to isolation. Acts 1:8 could only be fulfilled by a group that was willing to move beyond barriers. Otherwise, they would become isolated and the cause of Christ would eventually die. This wasn’t God’s design or expectation for the church. If they didn’t overcome barriers, then you or I would not be a part of God’s Kingdom today!

LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

Acts 10:9-16
  • What was Peter’s response to God? (“No, Lord”; Peter had a habit of telling God “no” – see Mt. 16:22, John 13:8)
  • How many times did God repeat the command?
  • Can you recall other times when God had to speak to Peter in this manner? (See John 21:16-17)
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most important, how would you rate the importance of what God was trying to teach Peter?
  • Peter had just experienced the raising of Tabitha from the dead, and now he is saying no to God. She was unclean as a person who had been dead; yet Peter took her by the hand (Acts 9:41). With this in mind, why was it so difficult for Peter to obey God at this point?
  • What did God mean when He said, “What God has made clean, you must not call common”? (In Old Testament thinking, there was the holy and the common. The holy was made common when it came into contact with something common, and could only be made holy again through a ritual cleansing. God had pronounced what was common as clean.)
Acts 10:17-43 (Expanded verses from the ETB Outline)
  • How did Peter’s attitude toward the Gentiles change ? What actions demonstrate this?
  • How did he treat the Gentile crowd?
  • What elements of the gospel did Peter present?
  • What would have happened if he had come to them with an arrogant heart?
Acts 10:44-46a
  • How is this similar to Pentecost (See Acts 2:1-4)? What message would this communicate to the believing Jews who were present?
Acts 10:46b-48
  • What actions did Peter take? Why was it important that he stay and help them in this way?
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • What personal barriers that have been taught to you, prevent you from witnessing to people who are different from you?
  • Can you identify walls or barriers that prevent you from fellowshipping with true believers who might be different from you?
  • What actions can you take to remove these walls and barriers?
  • What barriers in our church keep us from being witnesses to people in our community?
  • Take the initiative to expand your relationships at church and through your group. Reach out to those who may feel excluded.
The shift by Jewish Christians to accept Gentile believers was difficult. Peter’s experience helped to convince many, but the issue would resurface again in the future. God was tearing down the walls that separated Jewish and Gentile believers, and the message was clear: the gospel was to be taken to all people and “everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43).


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