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Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide - 3rd Quarter 2015, Aug 26 2015

Wednesday Aug, 26

Peter’s Vision

As we saw yesterday, by the time Peter made contact with Cornelius, he had a change in attitude regarding the Gentiles that other Jewish believers hadn’t yet understood (see Acts. 10:44, 45). What happened that changed Peter?

Read Acts 10:9-22 and 11:1-10. What do the passages say about how entrenched his wrong attitudes were that it took something like this to open his mind?

Cornelius’s conversation and Peter’s role in the witnessing task were so important for the mission of the church that God communicated in a supernatural way with both the missionary’s eventual host: while an angel visited Cornelius, Peter was given a vision.

Also, Peter stayed in Joppa with a tanner (Acts 9:43; 10: 6, 32), a detail that we don’t want to miss. Tanning and tanners were repulsive to the Jews since they handled dead bodies and used excreta in their processes. Tanneries were not allowed in towns; note that Simon’s was located “by the sea side” (Acts 10:6).

Peter’s stay with a tanner indicated that already, before his vision, he realized that some of his previous attitudes were at cross-purposes with the gospel. Both peter and the family of Cornelius needed to shed come cultural baggage. All people, represented by “all kind so…animals: (NKJV) in Peter’s vision, are God’s children.

Peter’s call to witness to Cornelius implied that, although all people are acceptable to God, not all religions are equally acceptable. Cornelius was already a “religious” man, like nearly everyone else in ancient society. As a soldier he would be acquainted with the worship of Mithra, and as an officer he would have taken part in emperor worship. But these were not acceptable to God.

There is a lesson here today for those who approach non-Christian religions on the basis of equality with Christianity. Although sometimes it is done in a spirit of political correctness, such an attitude leads to a watering-down of the biblical claims of Christian’s uniqueness and finality.

How do we show respect for people whose faith we believe is wrong without giving the impression that we respect those beliefs ourselves? What is the difference between respecting people as opposed to respecting their beliefs?

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