This morning I was reading in Acts 11. Throughout this passage I continually see God’s grace and faithfulness that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone! I see Peter gently teaching the others and us, through his vision on Simon’s rooftop, (Acts 10:9-16), that we are no longer bound by the law but covered by grace. The Jewish believers in Jerusalem criticized Peter for going into the house of Gentiles and eating with them, which previously had been forbidden by the Law.
I see God mobilizing his children, through the initial scattering of them, to spread the good news so that none should perish but ALL come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ.
But, but, my favorite verses in this entire passage are the very last two. Verses 29 and 30.
The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:29,30.
The reason the disciples were sending whatever help they could was because the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Agabus about a severe famine that would overtake the entire Roman world. Not only did the disciples want to help other believers in the Body of Christ, they believed the prophet! Hmm, they believed the prophet, this is not a novel idea, but it is research for another blog on another day.
The mission statement for our faith family is extending true life to our community, which requires each of us to take a personal inventory of our heart and motives of how we will use what God has blessed us with and trust him to provide. Vv. 29 and 30 above is a picture of extending true life within the Body of Christ. No one needed to fundraise to go on a mission trip and no one needed to come home on furlough only to arrange numerous speaking engagements in the hope of raising money to go back and continue to spread the good news of the gospel to their host country. The Body knew of a need and simply filled it because they trusted God.
Precious One, what would it look like if the Body of Christ began to operate more closely to how the Body did in the book of Acts?!