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Chapter Eleven — Part One: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 11/28/2021

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 11:1-18

1. Contending Jews.
a. Acts 11:1 AMPC — Now the apostles (special messengers) and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard [with astonishment] that the Gentiles (heathen) also had received and accepted and welcomed the Word of God [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God].
b. Acts 11:2 AMPC — So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party [certain Jewish Christians] found fault with him [separating themselves from him in a hostile spirit, opposing and disputing and contending with him],
c. The fact that they expected Peter to be accountable to them proves that Peter was never considered by the early Church to be either a “pope” or the head of the Church.
d. Acts 11:3 AMPC — Saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and [even] eat with them?
e. They were offended by Peter visiting with a Gentile, which was not necessarily a sin nor a violation of God’s laws.
f. Even though their own salvation came by grace through faith, they unfortunately still judged the Gentiles after the flesh instead of the Spirit.
g. They were commanded by Jesus to preach the Gospel to every creature.
h. But they had the same problem that Jonah had with Nineveh.
i. They thought the Gentiles were undeserving of the Lord’s promises or benefits.

2. Peter Explains.
a. Acts 11:4a AMPC — But Peter began [at the beginning] and narrated and explained to them step by step [the whole list of events].
b. Peter takes the time to explain to them exactly what happened, including some additional circumstances.
c. Acts 11:4b-7 AMPC — He said: 5 I was in the town of Joppa praying, and [falling] in a trance I saw a vision of something coming down from heaven, like a huge sheet lowered by the four corners; and it descended until it came to me. 6 Gazing intently and closely at it, I observed in it [a variety of] four-footed animals and wild beasts and reptiles of the earth and birds of the air, 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, Get up, Peter; kill and eat.
d. Acts 11:8-10 AMPC — But I said, No, by no means, Lord; for nothing common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean has ever entered my mouth. 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, do not you defile and profane by regarding or calling it common or unhallowed or unclean. 10 This occurred three times, and then all was drawn up again into heaven.
e. Acts 11:11-12 AMPC — And right then the three men sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house in which we were. 12 And the [Holy] Spirit instructed me to accompany them without [the least] hesitation or misgivings or discrimination. So these six brethren accompanied me also, and we went into the man’s house.
f. Acts 11:13 AMPC — And he related to us how he had seen the angel in his house which stood and said to him, Send men to Joppa and bring Simon who is surnamed Peter.

3. The Message.
a. Acts 11:14 AMPC — He will give and explain to you a message by means of which you and all your household [as well] will be saved [from eternal death].
b. Cornelius and his household could not be saved until they had an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel.
c. Romans 10:13-15a KJV — For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
d. Someone must be commissioned and sent to preach the Gospel.
e. They must obey, they must go, and they must preach to those who need to hear.
f. Those who hear, must believe and call on the Name of the Lord.
g. Whosever calls on His Name will be saved.
h. Both Jews and Gentiles could be, and were, saved by faith, as they called on the Name above all names.

4. The Holy Ghost Falls on Them.
a. Acts 11:15 AMPC — When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning.
b. The Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles exactly the same way as He had fallen on the Jews on the Day of Pentecost!
c. Therefore, the Gentiles must have also experienced the Holy Ghost and fire, received power from on high, and spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
d. Acts 11:16 AMPC — Then I recalled the declaration of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with (be placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit.
e. Jesus is the baptizer in the Holy Ghost and fire.
f. Acts 11:17 AMPC — If then God gave to them the same Gift [equally] as He gave to us when we believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I and what power or authority had I to interfere or hinder or forbid or withstand God?
g. If God, Himself, chose to save the Gentiles and baptize them in the Holy Spirit, then who are we to think we could withstand Him?
h. Acts 11:18 AMPC — When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection. And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection].
i. Later (in Acts 15), Peter again reminds certain Jews that it is by God’s design—not man’s—that the Gentiles should also be accepted into the Kingdom of God by the grace of God and by faith.
j. Acts 15:7b-9 NKJV — Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.