Acts 10-11 is an interesting story. Peter sees a vision of unclean animals (meaning animals that God had instructed his people not to eat in the Law). Peter was told by the Lord to get up, kill, and eat. He refused because he had always obeyed these laws. After the vision Peter finds out that some folks just showed up looking for him because God told them to come find him. He goes with them to a house of a Gentile and brings the Gospel to those outside of the Jewish nation. God is doing strange things in this portion of the book of Acts.
God breaks wide open the grace, love, and hope found in Jesus. Much of the prejudice and issue that Peter had to deal with were man made addition to the Laws of God while other sentiments were the misunderstanding of the Law. The Law was intended to set aside a holy people to God, but they became a way for the People of God to feel like they deserved that place with God…which they did not. The chosen people of God had always been intended to be a blessing to every nation…to all peoples. Yet they had chosen to simply be a blessing to themselves.
Unfortunately we still struggle to breakdown similar traditions in our lives today. We can get so caught up in what God has told us to do that we totally fail to be who God has called us to be. Faith becomes routine and meaningless.
So here are the main points from Sunday…
Lives that honor God are truth-focused not tradition-filled.
One of the saddest issues in Christianity today is that the world sees it through the lives of many people who simply honor the traditions of the faith but do not honor the truth it is based on. That is why they have such a low opinion and terrible understanding of the Gospel and Jesus. Please note that this is not a truth against having some traditions. We have some in our family like me cooking muffins every Sunday. It is church day and my kids know it is special because I make it so. But don’t just have a Sunday church attendance tradition in your life. Live a truth filled life that includes a Sunday tradition.
When we practice tradition without presenting the truth we set a trap.
We trap ourselves and those who come behind us. Statistically it is more likely that a child that does not hear about Jesus in their home will grow up to be a faithful follower of Christ than a child that grows up in a home of a lukewarm person professing a false version of Christianity.
Remember the practices of your life will always speak louder than the proclomations of your mouth.
Tradition breaking is typically seen as truth abandoning, initially.
When I began a church that was more modern in its strategy and music, I found out that some heard that I was liberal. Which, if you are around me long, you will know is pretty ridiculous. But people confused tradition with theology. An old song sung does not make for a conservative message preached.
So those are some lessons from this part of the narrative of the early church. It is a great story found in the book of Acts. I encourage you to read it all in one sitting. The story comes together but the reading takes some time.