God has an incredible plan for each and every one of us, but it often doesn’t involve comfort. The world tells us to settle down and get comfortable, but God calls us to constant growth and learning. Join Pastor Cal Jernigan as he looks at Peter’s journey of discomfort in the Bible. See how God can use discomfort to grow us and enrich our lives in ways comfort never can.
Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)
God has an incredible plan for each and every one of us, but it often doesn’t involve comfort. The world tells us to settle down and get comfortable, but God calls us to constant growth and learning. Join Pastor Cal Jernigan as he looks at Peter’s journey of discomfort in the Bible. See how God can use discomfort to grow us and enrich our lives in ways comfort never can.
Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to you. Welcome to you. Whichever campus you're on, however you're experiencing this. If you happen to be online, welcome to you, wherever you are. In fact, I can see right here. Uh, Tyson welcome from North Carolina, Sonya from Oregon and whoever you are from wherever around the world, wherever.
[00:00:18] Thanks for being a part of us. I am so glad that you're with us and I'm excited for what we're going to talk about today. Now, before we get to the message though, I want to go back and I want to comment on what Pastor Tyler just talked about. I want to just say a couple of things that I just want to share my heart about this.
[00:00:33] Obviously, this, these are difficult days to be alive. It's kind of hard to know how to navigate our way through all of this, but let me just, uh, let me just share some thoughts with you. Okay. Um, we, as a church are determined to do something that's really, really hard to do. And what we're determined to do is we want to
[00:00:53] love people the way God's called us to love people. I would love to say that we're just always really good at that as a church or as the Church, the capital C Church, but truthfully, uh, we probably disappoint God in some ways, because we don't really take him as seriously as we should. Now. Obviously Jesus said very, very clearly a new command I give you that you love one another.
[00:01:18] And so for us as a church, what we've kind of took on as a mantra, Is that we got to Love Beyond. We've got to Love Beyond. Love Beyond means, most of us are comfortable, loving to a certain degree. I'll go that far. And we call that the line or the limit. I'll love up to that degree. I will not love beyond. I will love up to, but not beyond.
[00:01:39] And God goes, that's not good enough. I need you to love beyond. And so we've got to learn how to love even when it's uncomfortable. And I believe with all my heart that if we would take, take Jesus at his word on this, we would transform the world. I really believe that. I just want to say this cause I, I just feel the need to say this.
[00:01:57] I have no idea what it feels like to be a person of color. I, I just don't. What I do is I sit down with people of color and I listen and I go, I, yeah, I don't. It's not, not my experience. I hear you. I also have no idea what it's like to be a person in law enforcement. I, I'm not, that's not what I do. I don't know what it means to kiss my wife goodbye, and my kids goodbye in the morning, knowing that I might not see them.
[00:02:26] I don't know what that feels like. But I'll sit down with people in law enforcement and I'll go, yeah, I heard. So somewhere church, what we gotta do is we've got to figure out how to love beyond your, our understanding of our own experiences and go, you know what, we're going to do, what Jesus said. And as I already revealed, I truly believe that's the only thing that's going to change this broken world that we're living in.
[00:02:52] So church let's do that. Let's just figure it out. Let's just be real. And, uh, we'll mess up. We'll make mistakes, but, um, by seeking God and obeying God, I believe we can make a difference. Amen. Anyone with me. All right. Okay. So today, buckle up. Hey, put your seatbelt on. All right. We're gonna move. All right. I don't want to throw you out of the car.
[00:03:15] All right. We're gonna hit some curbs here. Okay. So we're in a series right now. We're calling it From Now On. And the idea of from now on was the catchphrase from society, obviously from the movie, the greatest showman. From now on. And w w we said is Easter changed everything. So from now on. Uh, what was, isn't going to be, what used to be isn't what's going to be alright.
[00:03:35] And so we're talking about this and I don't know about you, but one of the things that I just think is really cool is whenever you see a before and after picture of something, you know, when you saw it, and I mean, if it's legit and it's real, like, let me show you a couple of pictures. I want to show you like a Datsun 240Z.
[00:03:51] This is the same car. Okay. Nice. Just absolutely cool. You could restore a car. That's what it was. This is what it became. A before and after, and you go, wow, that's just awesome. Sometimes it's like, this is, this is hard to believe. This is a building New York City that was simply power washed on one side and not on the other.
[00:04:09] It's hard to believe that under all that gook and soot beautiful building underneath there. All right. A before and after. Sometimes, uh, what you can do is you can see something that a craftsman was able to do. Let me show you this. This is the same chair, uh, before and after in the hands of somebody who knows what they're doing.
[00:04:30] It's amazing. And then I want to show you this picture. This is the coolest, one of all. You got to stare at this to understand what you're looking at. That is the side of a building. It is painted. The top is painted into the bottom. And the fact that you could just do this, that there's that much creativity available, that there's that much transformation available.
[00:04:51] And so the reason we're talking about all of these things, as we're, we're trying to explain it from now on. If that resurrection hadn't happened, then as it always had been and always will be, but this thing is it's so transformational, what Jesus did in rising from the dead. It took us from what was to what could be.
[00:05:10] And that's what we're talking about. So each of the weeks in this series, that's what we've been wrestling with. The Easter message was how you can move from, from despair to actually having hope, hope, wins over despair because of the resurrection. The second week of the series, we talked about the fact that, you know, you, you can be absolutely unfazed by what happened at the resurrection, or you can be amazed.
[00:05:34] Amazed is over unfazed. You start to understand what happened. You start going well, last week we talked about courage over cowardice. It's really easy to be a coward. It's really easy to be overwhelmed, but to have courage the transformation the transformation that God wants to do in our lives is to take us from fearful people into powerfully guided people with this, with his leading. Today, I'm going to talk about something that's not going to make sense.
[00:06:02] But trust me, it will. I want to talk about response over regret, response over regret. I know it's kind of goofy words. You don't tie them together. What I want to explain to you is this is that if you'll do what God says, you'll never regret doing it. If you'll respond, you'll never regret. Response over regret.
[00:06:25] And so here's the deal. Let's pull out our Bibles. We're going to jump into Acts chapter 10. We're going to get there in just a moment. And I want to show you how this, what is possible in God is just overwhelming. And so Acts chapter 10, just find that in your Bible. While you're going there? Let me, let me explain that the whole idea from now on now, listen carefully or
[00:06:49] I'm going to lose you. So, if you read your Bible, Matthew Mark, Luke, and John are the four biographies of the life of Jesus. And then you get to the end of each of them and you get to the resurrection, the crucifixion, the, the Easter story ends four gospels, Matthew, mark, Luke, and John. Four stories,
[00:07:06] biographies of Jesus. The next, the sequel, the next volume is the book of Acts. So, all we're doing is looking at what was before the resurrection and what was after the resurrection. So we're going into the book of Acts in each of these, each of these messages have been built on showing you a picture of how it changes when you have a resurrection.
[00:07:30] And like last week, Danielle talked about the fact that. You know, courage over cowardice and she referenced Peter. And I want to do just to get us there. Cause I want to show you Peter again today, but I want to show you what happened. I want to actually read it to you. So you're going to be an Acts 10, I'm going to bring these passages up on the screen,
[00:07:48] you can follow along. Let me show you what I'm talking about. Matthew chapter 26 before the resurrection. This is how we found Peter. All right. Now, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard and a servant girl came up to him. You also were with Jesus of Galilee. She said, but he denied it before them all. I don't know what you're talking about.
[00:08:08] He said. And then he went out to the gateway where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, this fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth. He denied it again, with an oath, I swear to God, I wasn't there. I don't know the man. After a little, while those standing outside there went, up to Peter and said, surely you are one of them, your accent gives you away.
[00:08:30] Then he began to call down curses and he swore to them, I don't know the man. Now I'm not going to call down curses and tell you, he said, but you can get the idea. He's like emphatic I don't know the man. This is a coward who was being pressed by too little girls and he caves. Now, the resurrection happened in the book of Acts the sequel in chapter four, he's hauled before what's called the Sanhedrin, the high court of Israel.
[00:08:59] Imagine the Supreme Court of the United States. He is taken there and they've put some demands on him. And let me show you the difference. From now on, courage. Alright, so Acts four. Then they called them in again, he and John and commanded them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus at all. But Peter and John replied, which is right in God's eyes to listen to you or to him, to Jesus, you be the judges.
[00:09:28] As for us, we cannot help speaking about that, which we have seen and heard. That is a transformed a life. That is a different guy is, I mean, you're not shutting me up. You're not intimidating. You're not backing me down. And this is the most powerful court in Israel that this trying to get them to be quiet. How does this happen? And here's what I want you to wrestle with people, please wrestle with this.
[00:09:51] Do you think this is just for the Bible that lives can change that much, but it's gotta be in the Bible. If you're not in the Bible in the Bible times, ain't going to happen. I think that's a huge mistake. I think the transformation and Peter, it's the same sort of thing God wants to do you in you and in me, and it's doable, but there's some stuff that has to happen.
[00:10:10] So I'm going to ask you a simple question. Okay. It's a simple, it's a deep, simple question. All right, here it is. I'm gonna put it on the screen. What difference will God make in your life? What difference will God make in your life? Well, I don't know. What difference will God make it in your life. And you want to know the correct answer.
[00:10:29] You ready for it? Here comes. No more than you'll allow. I gotta let that soak for just a moment. No more than you'll know, more than I'll allow. Why is it that somebody comes to Jesus and their entire world is flipped upside down for the good and somebody else says I kinda sorta believe in Jesus and not much happens.
[00:10:50] Is God different? Did God do something over here that he didn't do over here? Was God more favorable to them and not to them? No. God wired this thing so that you have a say in how it's going to go. And then that might bother you. But let me explain it to you this way. God never kidnapped you. God never broke into your house.
[00:11:13] God never held you hostage. God never took you as a slave against your will. That's what you've got to understand. God offers you something. He invites you into something you can say yes. Or you can say, no, you want to go on a ride. Do you not want to go? Do you want to go on an adventure? Do you want to just, you want to live an exciting life?
[00:11:32] You want to live a boring life. This is what we're going to find here in Acts chapter 10. And you've got to understand that it's just incredible. Now I want to say to you differently. Let me ask you to please understand I'm talking to you. Okay. I'm locking eyes with all of you everywhere. That's so many eyes.
[00:11:49] All right. Okay. Do you want to grow? Do you want to grow? How much do you want to grow? Yeah, of course we stand. Of course. I want to grow. Have you, have you thought much about this? How are you going to grow? Is growth just accidental? Is it just incidental? Is it just automatic? You graduated high school, most likely there's someone on do, uh, you know, uh, Get an undergrad degree, others went on to get a grad degree or more, whatever.
[00:12:23] When, when did you decide you, you had it all that you needed. When did you stop growing? I'm not talking about physical. I'm talking about spiritually, emotionally, mentally. How much are you like the, you that was 10 years ago you. What's happened in the last decade. How much do you want to grow? I want to say this change is inevitable.
[00:12:47] Change is coming folks. We've every week we talk about this every week. I don't know what I'm going to have to get up next week and say about what happened in the world this next week. I don't know. It's the world's changeing. It's inevitable. It's changing. But growth for you and me. That's optional. I can see exactly the same person through the rest of my life.
[00:13:05] That that's what I choose. God will, gave me the will. I can do that. You can do that. You don't have to change it all. You can be you the same you for the next 30 years, if God gives you that long. But do you want to be the same you, cause I can tell you five things. I can preach a sermon on each of these five things.
[00:13:21] Let me tell you five things about growth. Growth is number one, threatening. Growth is threatening. You have to be somebody you've never been, which makes it number two risky. I don't know how to live that per I don't never been that person. I don't know how to live that kind of life. That's that's threatening to me.
[00:13:39] It's it's risky. That's what if I followed God and I did what he wanted me to do, then what would happen? Where would I end up third? It's uncomfortable. Just as you went through growing pains, when you went through puberty, there's growing pains that come with transformation, it doesn't come with ease.
[00:14:00] It's uncomfortable. Can you say you were wrong? Could you say you, you didn't know. Can you say I misunderstood? I didn't grasp. Can you say those things? Cause you're going to have to. The fourth thing I can tell you about growth is it's preventable. It's not inevitable. It's preventable. Change is inevitable growth can be prevented.
[00:14:17] You can stay who you are, but why would you want to? And fifth and obviously growth is transformational. Now let me ask you the question again. How much difference has God gonna make in your life? How much difference? Please look at me. How much difference do you want him to make in your life? That's the real question.
[00:14:40] It's not a limit on him. It's a limit on you and me. How much different do you want God to make you, or you just going to be content to be who you are for the rest of your life? Here's the big idea that I'm going to try it in the next few minutes to kind of illustrate. Resolving to obey. God never ends in regret.
[00:15:03] We've resolving is when you make your mind, would you decide you plot a course, you're going, this is where I'm going. When you decide to obey God, you'll never get there. If you hadn't have done what you did. And I know this to be true, I just know this to be true. Here's the other truth. You're never going to disobey God and win.
[00:15:20] And I've learned that personally. You're never going to do what God said not to do. And come out ahead. God has for you, not against you. He is trying to help you. Not hurt you. You're not trying to limit you such a free. But I disobey, because I think there's a better way. I don't think he knew. I think he didn't understand.
[00:15:37] I think it was not kind. I think he was holding down or holding out. These are the things that go through our head guys. If sin were the way to bless you, God would cut you loose to go sin, but that's not the way to bless, resolving to obey God. I'm going to do what God said. You'll never be sorry. Never ends in regret now let's get to Acts chapter 10.
[00:16:00] Okay. Okay. Everybody. Look at me. Look at me. Caveat. Okay, here we go. We're going to read the entire 10th chapter of the book of Acts in church today. Okay. You wet your pants just now. Okay. Relax. Okay. Yeah. I see you. All right. You're squirming. We're going to go through this so fast, but here's what I need from you.
[00:16:20] Okay. I need grace. To understand what I'm doing and I need your attention because I'm going to move. This thing is going to move so fast, but it's going to move in 3 like like stages. Okay. Or three little chapters, if you would. Three little scenes, but I'm telling you, you want to follow this with this one is you can learn so much.
[00:16:38] This is absolutely one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I love this chapter. I love what it represents. So you guys got to hang on. Okay. So again, I've already asked you to buckle up now, tighten it. Cause we're going to haul. All right. So Acts chapter 10. I'm going to introduce you to a couple of people.
[00:16:54] Never want to introduce you to a guy named Cornelius. Cornelius is where we're going to begin. All right. So we're going to be Acts chapter 10 begin with verse 1. At Cesarea. I gotta stop. I gotta stop right there at Cesarea. Cesarea is one of, two of my absolute favorite places in Israel. I just gotta stop here as Cesarea is just above it's just North of Tel Aviv.
[00:17:16] You go to Israel with us. We're going to fly into Tel Aviv. The first stop. I just, the first stop on any trip. I mean, we're going to Cesarea. Cesarea is a port city just directly North of Tel Aviv. It's beautiful. It's on the Mediterranean. I mean, that's literally, I've spent hours just sitting there, staring out of the Mediterranean.
[00:17:32] I love Cesarea. So the scene that we're going to get in Acts 10 happens right there in Cesarea. At Cesarea. There was a man named Cornelius, a Centurion in what was known as the Italian regiment, the stop. So this is a Roman soldier stationed in this place. All right. And he's a part of a regiment. They just identify the Italian regiment. He, and all his family.
[00:18:00] He and all of his family were devout and God fearing. He gave generously to those in need and he prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon, he had a vision. He distinctly saw 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.
[00:18:29] And bring back a man named Simon who was 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 he had that had happened and he sent them to Joppa.
[00:18:47] Now listen. So Cesarea is above Tel Aviv. Joppa is now below Tel-Aviv. Joppa, it's called Java now, but Java is about a mile, a half, a mile, four miles. It's a little, it's a village it's directly South of Tel Aviv. So this is like a 30 mile job that they're going to have to do. Okay. Joppa is where Jonah set, sail that's Joppa.
[00:19:11] And so you start with, this is like, this is the real place. Okay. So Cesarea is up here. Joppa is down here. This guy gets this vision. Now let me point out a couple of things. Don't miss this. The first thing you find out about Cornelius is he's God-fearing. Okay, now this is going to be weird when you think it through he's God-fearing. How do we know
[00:19:30] he's God fearing. He's a believer. How do we know? Because he gave any prayed, you catch it and he said it, you give generously and you pray frequently. Second thing I would tell you, he's a leader, he's a leader of men. He's a Centurion, which means he has a hundred men. So they would divide the regimens up into these divisions of a hundred.
[00:19:48] He's a leader of a hundred men. The third thing he is he's he's, he's a leader of his family. And his entire family were devout and God-fearing did you catch it? So this is, this is, this was crazy because the fourth thing I'm going to tell you is he's an occupier of the land. Now you got to stop. You got to understand this.
[00:20:12] This gets important. He is an occupier. He is a Roman Centurion. Rome conquered Israel. Israel is having it is literally occupied by Rome as the power. The last thing these people want is Rome. Any of the Roman Empire they're subject to the Roman Empire. This is one of those guys. And if you're starting to think, you're going to start to understand a couple of pieces of this.
[00:20:38] You're going to go, well, this is going to get kind of weird. You see Peter who you're going to meet in just a moment, had every reason to resent, to reject, to hate, to fear. He had every reason to want nothing to do with this guy named Cornelius, who is up there. Now stop for just a moment and think this through.
[00:21:01] Peter thinks God is only on his side. Think deep. We got God, God is the God of Israel. This is a Roman occupying Centurion, who's praying to our God, stop it. That's our God. That's not your God. And the God of which there was one of one listens to the prayers of this Roman. Have you ever thought that God might be working in people that you don't think God would have anything to do with?
[00:21:35] Oh, it's easy for us to say. I know somebody would have nothing to do with God. Do you think God might not have anything to do with some people. Like you don't like them so much. The last thought Peter would ever have is that God would do something in a Roman soldier. Although through scripture, you see God doing things in Roman soldiers and you start going, what's going on.
[00:21:53] I'll never forget something that happened in my life. My wife, Lisa will attest to this. My very first youth ministry, the very first kid, this is all the way back in my life. The very first kid I met in my very first youth ministry was a young man named Tim. I loved Tim. Tim was like a miracle. Tim came to faith in Jesus and he was lit up and he was on fire and it was just one of the most coolest kids.
[00:22:16] I thought all kids would be like that. And I didn't understand what a gift Tim was to me as a pastor. Tim was so on fire. And so he was bringing his friends and then we got, he started to tell me about this one friend of his named Jim and he's going, yeah Jim. There's no hope for Jim. He was just go. You just got to understand Jim, just too hard and hid Jim's too far gone.
[00:22:38] Tim's a lot. Or Jim is a lost cause you don't know what Jim's into. He's into all kinds of stuff. God could never reach Jim. Well, you're probably going to guess where the story is going to go. Jim came to faith in Jesus. It was from the very beginning of my ministry. I saw I got to do this. Like it's like, you're going to pay attention.
[00:22:57] Watch you. See nobody thought God couldn't get through to Jim. Jim came to faith in Jesus, Tim baptized to Jim. Jim then went as a missionary overseas. That's impossible. That can't happen. There's no way he's too far gone. Could God be doing something in a Cornelius that you know, that you work with, that you, part of your family, maybe you go, there's no way God's had anything to do with that will never come. Well,
[00:23:28] that's what's happening here. All right. Now let's go down. Okay. So you met Cornelius or actually got it. What's going on up there and by the way, he's gotta be wealthy because he's got two attendants and he sends a soldier. He's got some means. He's somebody. Peter's nobody. Peter shacking up at some guy's house.
[00:23:46] He's just hanging out there. Simon, the Tanner who happens to live in Joppa gave him a place to stay. But let me, let me show you about Peter. So go down to verse nine. Again, we're going to go fast. Here we go. About noon. The following day, as they were on their journey. Again understand what's going on.
[00:24:06] Cornealius has a vision go to Joppa and get that guy named Peter. So he sends those guys down. So they're on their way now while they're on their way, that's what you got. And I say, well, they're on their way. Um, approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. Does he know they're coming? Not a chance.
[00:24:22] He became hungry and wanted something to eat. And while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. What have you ever been so hungry? You could like hallucinate. Yeah. So he's on the roof and I don't know what he saw. He saw something that tripped something he saw, maybe the awning now pay attention, maybe the awning, the cloth awning.
[00:24:45] And I have that, or maybe he was looking out over the ocean because Joppa is on this Mediterranean, just down from Cesarea. Maybe it's watching the ships go by in the wind catching the sails. And he was just kind of fixated on the sails I don't know, but something, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven open.
[00:25:00] And something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. It's a huge sheet. And then a voice told them, get up Peter kill and eat. Surely not Lord. Peter replied. I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.
[00:25:25] 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 heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and they stopped by the gate.
[00:25:43] They call that asking of Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision the Spirit said to him, Okay. Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up, go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them. For I have sent them. What? Peter went down and said to the men I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come? The men replied well, we've come from Cornelius, a Centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man who is respected by all the Jewish people. A Holy angel told them to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say. Then Peter invited them in, into the house to be as guests.
[00:26:25] Now let's just stop. It was just stop. Pay attention. So God is doing something crazy in Cornelius's life, up there. And got us doing something crazy in Peter's life down here. Neither have a clue about the other. They have no idea. God is preparing Cornelius. God is preparing Peter. Peter has this vision.
[00:26:46] And now you can maybe see why the sails on the ocean, or maybe the thing flopping up there on the wind, the awning. And he saw this thing. Now, if you're not catching what's going on, here's what you got to realize. The sheet comes down, has got all kinds of animals. Reptiles, birds got all of that in there.
[00:27:02] And the voice says kill and eat. And Peter's response was surely not Lord, no chance, no way. No how. I have never, if you're confused, Leviticus 11. Leviticus 11 talks about the foods you can eat and the foods you can't eat. And if you're thinking, think Jews and think pigs, that's all you need. So all of a sudden this pig is in the sheet, pig in a blanket, right.
[00:27:31] And God's just kill it and eat it. Now you see the crisis in Peter. Surely not Lord. I have never in my entire life tasted the bacon. Never. I can't. What are you saying to me? God. No, surely not. And then God says what I declare clean, you don't get to declare impure. Well, what I say is good, you can't say is bad.
[00:28:03] And Peter is going, what? This is mind blowing to Peter. Surely not. God has to hit him upside the head three times, which is interesting. How many times did Peter deny Jesus? How many times did Jesus reaffirm Peter on the shore after he denied him? Three. How many times does sheet come down? Three. How many people showed up at his door?
[00:28:29] Three. You're going to find out. We can't show you too. If you keep reading three people join. So there's three from Joppa that go with him. Three. It's like three is the number that God uses to get Peter's attention three. So Peter started to figure out, okay. Three is, I don't know what's going on here, but God's is this weird?
[00:28:46] There's some weird, still weird circumstances or. So, kill and eat all right. Now jump down to verse 23. And again, I've got to go fast. I can show you what happens. So Peter's got to make a decision. Am I going to do this? And follow these guys. I know the spirit said yes, but he also said kill and eat and don't call impure what I call pure.
[00:29:09] So look at verse 23. Next day, Peter started out with him and some of the believers from Joppa went along. Those are the three, the following day. He arrived in Cesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and it called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet and reverence.
[00:29:29] But Peter made him get up, stand up. He said, I'm only a man 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 associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.
[00:29:51] So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me? So, let me just make sure you seal it. So Cornelius has his house packed all of his friends, all of his family everybody's there and they say, we are so anxious to hear what you have to say to us. This is like every preacher's dream. They're actually wanting to be in church.
[00:30:16] You see what's happening. They're like speak. We are so anxious to hear what God's laid on your heart, Peter. And Peter's like going, Oh wow. This is like a fantasy. Um, so Peter's in his mind, he's thinking about the sheet, the sheet, the sheet, this is supposed to change. Something's supposed to change. I'm not what God's declared clean,
[00:30:40] I can't declare unclean. And he goes in and to this incredible audience, he says the worst opening line ever in the history of preaching. Can I read it to you? He said to them, you are all well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with, or visit a Gentile. Now I gotta show you a couple of things that you got to understand.
[00:31:06] Oh, going on here. Peter and Cornelius visit outside. I want you to, you can find the word inside when he came inside. That was after what happened outside. You see Peter shows up and he's going to Cornelius, what's going on, man. And Cornelius is going, man, I got my family. Everybody's in here waiting to hear.
[00:31:24] And Peter's like, got to make a decision. Do I cross? I have never crossed the threshold of a pagan's house is what he's saying. I've never entered a person who doesn't walk with God. Never, ever. I have never. I have always said no. Let me stop right here. Let me ask you a question church. What have you always said no to.
[00:31:45] What are you proud of the nos in your life? I've never, or I have always, I have always turned away whenever I get to the door of a Gentile. Like you I've always said, no, I always turned away. What would it take for God to get you to see something different than you've always seen? This is what's happening and he's got to make a decision. And then he steps inside.
[00:32:10] I'm going for it. God gave me this crazy vision, not to call impure. What God says is clean. I'm going for it. He goes inside. Can I just sum up what he said inside? He said, I just, this is opening line. Ready guys. Hey, good to see you all. I just want to start by saying I don't like you. I don't like any of you.
[00:32:32] I don't like your families. I don't like your country. I don't like your customs. I don't like your mannerisms. I can't stand your food. Don't like your mamas. I don't like anything about, but God told me to be here. What are the odds? You know, what are the odds? So that's how it begins. And he lays it out.
[00:32:53] All right, let me show you what happens. And this will be the last I'll read, and then I'll make a couple of points and we'll call it a day, but go down to verse 34. So Peter begins to speak. Okay, now don't miss what he says. All right. So we asked, he says, may may I ask why you send in for me? Can you help me?
[00:33:13] Yeah. God told us you were going to tell us something really important. So Peter's going okay. On the fly here. Let me preach a sermon. Peter began to speak. I now realize. Don't miss what he said. How true it is that God does not show favoritism. But accepts from every nation, the one who fears him and does what is right.
[00:33:42] God kind of revealed to me, like I got some attitudes that, uh, I grew up with that my mom taught me that are wrong. That God's trying to unteach in me. I got to rethink them, got to relearn. And, uh, I used to hate people who weren't like me, but I'm supposed to realize that God doesn't. It's a really a hard lesson to learn a lot of habit to break here.
[00:34:06] You know, that message that got sent to the people of Israel announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, you know, that. Do you know what has happened throughout the province of Judea? Beginning in Galilee, after the baptism that John preach and how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power and how he went around doing good and healing, all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
[00:34:29] We are witnesses. As things warming up, we are witnesses of everything he did and the country of the Jews. And in Jerusalem, they killed him by hanging him. On a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen by us who ate and drank with him.
[00:34:48] And after he rose from the dead, he commanded us to preach and he goes on and on and on. Can I tell you what he just did. He preached my Easter message. Okay. I preached his Easter message, but that's where I got it. He's going. Do you understand that from now on. You understand from now on this isn't for a little close group of people called Jews.
[00:35:12] That from now on God is trying to get, you get me to see that you are included, get you to see that you're included. You know, what happens to the rest of the chapter we don't have time, you know what happens, the Spirit of God, descends on all of them. And they're all like going, wow. And what do we do?
[00:35:29] Peter's going get baptized. So they get baptized. And this incredible movement of God takes place, but do you understand what's happening right here? This is the first time an outsider was included inside the new church that Jesus founded. From now on. It's not going to be just about Jewish people. From now on.
[00:35:47] It's going to be about, well, people like you and people like me because you will, you ask what happened right there is when you got invited in. And Peter had to enter the house. He had to put away all of the things he'd been taught. He had to learn something different. Unbelievable. So let me make sure you understand the big idea ready, resolving to obey
[00:36:10] God never ends in regret. Peter's not going, Oh, this is the stupidest thing I've ever done. I'm so sorry. I was here. The church was literally launched out of Cesarea that day. And you and I are in that story. Okay. I've only got a few minutes, but I got through, I'm going to make some applications, please listen.
[00:36:30] Okay. Most important part right now, Want you see some things, okay. Three things I want you to see really, really clearly. And then I'm going to close. Ready. Number one, I want you to see the God moves when we pray. You maybe used to believe this, but you need to be reminded of this. God moves when we pray.
[00:36:45] Cornelius was in Cesarea praying. Peter was in Joppa, praying. God moves when we pray. Number two, I want you to understand that growth always happens outside of your comfort zone. I, if I had an hour, I park on this right here. You know why we don't grow? You want to know why we get stunted because we only want to hear what we already believe.
[00:37:11] It's called confirmation bias. I only want to read, I only want to hear, I only want to exchange ideas with people who agree with all my ideas. The, the truth of the matter is, listen, please listen. You're living in a world that uses algorithms to tell you what you already believe. Confirmation bias.
[00:37:31] They're literally, curated, they're cutting up the news, giving you spoon feeding a spoon feeding you only what you already believe, because they know it because they've watched your algorithms have tracked you. They know what you're paying attention to. Oh, you're the kind of person who likes to hear this kind of news.
[00:37:47] Here have some of this. You want to know why you're not growing because you only believe what you believe. Growth happens when you get out of that. And you go, I can of read stuff from opposing points of view. Not, not, not, not like I'm going to be hostile. No, I'm going to surrender myself. I'm going to hear some points of views that are different.
[00:38:11] I want to understand the nugget of truth that somebody is trying to show me. Folks this is not our culture right now at all. We don't want to read anyone. We don't want to listen to anyone. We don't want to hang out with anyone who thinks different than we think. Growth happens when you do that. And the third and last point, and that's this, the key to growth in your life is submit to God.
[00:38:35] Everything in the story happens so fast. That's what we do go through entire chapter. It goes so fast. Everything goes fast. You know, the one point where it slowed down. Was when Peter started fighting with God. Surely not Lord. Surely not. You realize that's what slows down all progress. Surely not Lord.
[00:38:53] Can I, can I explain something? The word Lord means boss, when you say no Lord, you're saying no boss. That's an oxymoron. If he's your boss, you say yes. Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir, whatever you say, boss. Surely not Lord is the thing that will stop your progress. Where God's trying to move you and you don't want to go. Where God is trying to get you to do what you don't want to do.
[00:39:20] Surely not lord is a great way you hide behind yourself and your past and your excuses and not become the person that God wanted you to become. Surely not Lord. You want me to forgive that person who wronged me? Surely not Lord. You, you want me to go to that person that I wrong and say, I'm sorry. Surely not Lord.
[00:39:42] You want me to end that sinful relationship that I'm hiding? Surely not Lord. You want me to stop watching what I'm watching on my computer? Surely not Lord. You want me to share my faith at work? Surely not Lord. You want me to pray for my enemy? Surely not Lord. You see what's going on here. You want me to love that person?
[00:40:06] Who's a different color than me, different race than mine. Surely not Lord. Well, what about you, your life, are you going to live to regret when it's all said and done, and God shows you, he never listened to me. I tried everything. You never would listen. You never learned, you never learned. People's regrets in their life,
[00:40:29] usually have to do with what they didn't do. And you can study this. Most people get hit in their life, what do you regret is what I didn't do. I, I didn't speak up. I didn't make my marriage a priority. I didn't spend time with my family. I didn't say I love you often enough. I didn't give, I didn't invest myself.
[00:40:44] I didn't trust. I didn't argue enough on Facebook. Okay. Now the last one's not in there. Nobody's going to regret, not arguing more on Facebook. All right. Folks, the idea is simply this resolving to obey God never ends in regret. So the last thing I want to say is this right? So I'm gonna, so I'm gonna say two names and you're going to identify with this with one of them, depending on how old you are.
[00:41:06] Monte Hall, some of you are going Monte Hall. Oh, that's, let's make a deal. That's not Monte Hall that's Wayne Brady. So depending on how old you are, Okay. Monte Hall was original Wayne Brady. Right? If you don't know the premise of let's make a deal, let me explain it to you. They would put three doors to three curtains.
[00:41:23] I'll show you a picture. You get the idea. This is the Monte Hall. Let's make a deal. So there's door number one, door number two, door number three. And so you're the contestant you right there. You're the contestant. Okay. Here's what I need you to know. I'm gonna tell you two of the three things that are behind there's a goat and there is a, uh, 2021 Lamborghini.
[00:41:42] Uh, and then there's something else. So, um, pick the curtain, which curtain. She's got to look. There's only three. It's one of the three choices. Which one are you going with?
[00:41:59] I'm going with the one with the Lamborghini, is what she said, of course you are, but you don't know which one you got to pick up. We're really, uh, the game show is going to end here in a minute. We have, there was a clock it's overtime. She's going to go with number two. She's going to go with number two.
[00:42:11] Okay. Uh, she's gonna go with number two. Let me show you what was behind number three. And I'm going to show you a goat, and then I'm gonna ask you the question you wanna change. You wanna change. You want to change. You wanna change your guess? You can stay with two. You don't want number one. Okay. You gonna stay with you gonna stay with two.
[00:42:31] Can I want to explain, listen to a dynamic is happening right now. There's a whole lot. We could talk about this. I'm gonna skip a bunch of it. Here's what you need to understand. If I show you what's behind 2 and it's a stack of hay to go with the goat and then I show you what was behind number three or whichever I'm confused right now, but the other one, and I show you the Lamborghini.
[00:42:48] Do you realize I've just made you miserable for the rest of your life? Do you realize I've done that there was a goat, there was some hay, and there was a Lamborghini you chose poorly. Now, listen, if you don't see it and you don't know it, you're not aware of it. And you're fine. It was like, you promise you. I never saw it.
[00:43:05] If you see what you could have had, this is the point. If you see what you could have had, here's where I'm going to close when you die and you go to heaven, God's going to show you something. He's going to open up his iPad. And he's going to show you. I want to show you a picture. I want to show you a picture and show it.
[00:43:19] He says, I'm gonna show you. So he shows you a picture of your life and you go, Oh, that's my life. Yeah, that's your life. And it was awesome. It was an awesome life. And then you go like it. Yeah. Oh, beautiful. Beautiful. And then he says this, let me show you what you could have had. And he shows you a different life and you look at it and you go, what do you mean I could have had.
[00:43:44] He said, that's the life I wanted to give you. See your life is the before you don't get the after until you resolve to submit it, you see before is going to leave you with regret because God has something he's trying to show you. That's what this is all about. About from now on don't settle. Don't settle for you, your way of leading your life or your way of making the D don't settle for that.
[00:44:14] Go for what God has for you. You will never regret a resolve your heart. I'm going to obey. I got to close. Let's pray. And then Jon will come up here and your campus pastor will come up wherever you are. So God, thank you for the message of this passage. God, thanks for the, just the understanding that we're supposed to change.
[00:44:34] We're supposed to grow. We're supposed to think thoughts we've never thought we're supposed to become more, but we so often just stay as less. God, don't let us get to the end of our life and live with regret of what could have been. God, help us go for whatever it is that you have for us, help us to love beyond the lines, the limits, the boundaries, the world, help us to figure it went out in Jesus name,
[00:44:59] I pray. Amen. Thank you all very much.