And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. —Peter, Acts 11:12
God welcomes all people in Christ.
This Sunday at South Durham Church, we’re going to look at the story of Peter and Cornelius in the book of Acts. It’s the story of the kingdom of God expanding to include non-Jewish people. It’s the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham to bless all nations through him (Genesis 12:1-2).
It is a story of Peter laying aside his cultural prejudices and preferences to be open to the movement of God.
In this episode in Peter’s life, the Holy Spirit taught him that God welcomes all people in Christ. Peter was to go with Cornelius’ men, making no distinction between Jew and Gentile.
Peter preached Christ. Cornelius and his family and friends, who were not Israelites, believed the message. And God welcomed them into his family, pouring out his Holy Spirit.
We’ll hear the whole story Sunday. My question to you now is this: do you feel welcome before God in Christ? Because if you are in Christ by faith, you are.
Yes, God is utterly holy (Isaiah 6:3). Yes, he dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). But, in Christ, we have access with confidence to the throne of grace (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16).
That access is available to anyone and everyone through faith in Christ.
You don’t have to be from somewhere important (or unimportant) to be a part of God’s global, eternal family. You don’t have to move anywhere to get in. You don’t have to speak a certain language, have any particular skin color, or have a certain amount of money. In fact, it’s hardest for the rich to get in (Matthew 19:24).
The way into the family of God is simple trust in Christ—his life, death, and resurrection for us—and the way is open to all.
Do you know that you are welcome in God’s presence? Do you sense welcome when you go to God in prayer?
Read Acts 10:1–11:18 to prepare for Sunday. Pray for the Lord to grow us in thankfulness to him for welcoming us in Christ.
I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday.