We Are Witnesses - Week Five: "You Mean They Get This, Too?

It’s Eastertide (Season of Easter)

We’re going to study the Book of Acts to learn more about the first witnesses of the Resurrection and what we can apply to our own time and place.  

Let me talk about how we pre-judge people too soon. Can I do that?  

You meet someone, and you think you have that someone figured out... and then they do something that blows your mind. 

Ever have that happen to you?  You size someone up, and you think you know them.  You create a back story for them.  You decide whether they were raised by wolves or by really awful parents who taught them how to be horrible.  

You decide they must kick kittens. Or puppies.  Or guinea pigs. 

Their t-shirt says something offensive to you, like "Florida Gators," "Aggies," "Longhorns," or "Kansas City Chiefs." You decide this is a character flaw, and they were probably not hugged enough as children. 

And then you see them do something or hear them say something that blows your created scenario apart. 

You realize they are kind. You see them do something generous. You discover you have things in common with them. You find out they volunteer at a homeless shelter, give blood every month, or once spent three weeks with Mother Theresa.  

It's astonishing, isn't it?  We open our eyes and realize that the same grace we love to say has fallen on us also falls on others. 

We all have a terrible habit of judging others, don’t we? 

Most of us judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions

So what do we do when we discover that there’s more to someone?

Does Spirit have something to do with it? Can the Spirit of God, the Divine Energy in the world, bring us to sight and transformation?  

The story we will read today is about Peter encountering a man who represents everything he’s against. The Spirit changes everything.

Here's what I want us to take away from everything today: 


Let's do a little background on this story: 

Peter has a vision, then gets carted away by Romans (not a good thing)

He goes into the house of Cornelius—a massive step for Peter

As he shares the Gospel, Cornelius’ family has a Spirit moment

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God.

Peter is astonished that the Spirit of God would fall upon these people.

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

“Does anyone see a reason, why they shouldn’t be baptized?”

All of Peter’s preconceived notions went out the window, and his understanding of how the Spirit worked expanded dramatically. 

What Does This Story Teach Us?
  • We don’t have a corner on the market on what the Spirit does or doesn’t
  • We have to cross the threshold with openness to witness the Spirit
  • When we know better, we do better—constant growth. 


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