Breaking Down Our Prejudices.

October 29, 2021 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Acts 10:1–33

Today we find ourselves in chapter 10. Although we have seen isolated instances of Gentiles turning to Christ in faith, for the most part, the church is mainly made up of Jews. And though they’d heard the Great Commission, they still thought of salvation as being a strictly Jewish phenomenon. But in Acts 10, God is about to change all this.

2. GOD’S PROVIDENCE (v.17-33)

Peter and the other apostles had heard Jesus give the Great Commission on more than one occasion. Yet up to this time, they were still reaching out primarily to Jews. They probably thought that reaching those in the uttermost parts of the earth referred to Jewish families who were scattered abroad. But to reach out to pagan Gentiles was simply unthinkable!

The story of the gospel spreading beyond Jewish boundaries toward the Gentiles teaches us from the life of Peter that we all have built-in prejudices that God must break down if we are going to be effective in His service. To be prejudiced is to pre-judge someone without sufficient information.

In verse 27, Peter faced a test from God: Would he hold on to his long-held prejudices and not go into Cornelius’s home (a gentile) in case he became defiled, or would he obey God and go in? Peter easily could have thought, “Centurions are Roman soldiers and are wicked, sensual, worldly pagans.” He could have badly misjudged Cornelius. Verse 27 says “And as he talked with him, he went in…” Peter passed the test; he went in.

Because of Peter’s obedience in putting to death his prejudice, the gospel has come to us who otherwise never would have known God. Peter took a decisive but difficult step that has reverberated throughout history.

Even committed Christians, even godly men like Peter, have prejudices. Like Peter, we’re probably blind to those prejudices until the Lord shocks us into seeing them. We all tend to group people by race, gender or occupation, and then we pigeonhole individuals and judge them because they belong to a group. This sin of prejudice must be broken down if we are going to be effective in the Lord’s service.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some common evangelical Christian prejudices?
  2. Church growth advocates argue that the church should target reaching its own kind. Is this biblical? Why/why not?
  3. Should every Christian be seeking to reach those who are culturally different or is this just the gift of some?
  4. What are some of the culturally different groups in our city that the Lord might want us to reach? What should you do?

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