Acts 11: The despised become the blessing! Despite evidence to the contrary, God is in control! Those who bless God’s people are blessed! Truth came with Grace. Law vs Grace

Acts 11

Gentiles are receiving the Word of God.
Another territory of the enemy is falling into the hands of the kingdom of God from the kingdom of darkness.

The enemy counterattacks using one of his favorite tools – the law that came with Moses as opposed to the new covenant of Grace and Truth that came with Jesus Christ…(John 1:17)…i.e. the Truth (a higher / upgraded / new covenant truth, or a fulfillment of the law through Christ) that comes with Grace (getting what I don’t deserve, being made the righteousness of God in Christ) because it is paid for by the finished work of the Cross (penalty of the law has been borne / paid for us by Christ).

In other words…

The Truth of the Law is now fulfilled for us through the Grace of Christ??

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…(Romans 8:1)

…For Christ is the end of the law in order to bring righteousness to all who believe…(Romans 10:4)

As it is said, The Law demands, But Grace Supplies!!

The covenant of the Blood of the Lamb comes with Grace and Truth in Jesus Christ because the law demands that we do something in order to receive from God but Grace supplies all we need to be the righteousness of God without demanding any works from us to qualify for it….for it is by grace through faith that we receive the free gift of salvation, and not by works / self effort of any kind that we may boast about…( Ephesians 2:8-9).

In accepting the Love of God ( Jesus Christ, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…John 3:16), we obtain mercy ( not getting what we deserve, the wages of our sin) and find grace ( getting what we don’t deserve, being made the righteousness of God in Christ).

Mercy (not getting what we deserve, the wages of our sin…) is released & obtained through the power of the Cross ( Covered / washed by the Blood of the Lamb ) and the power of the Resurrection (obtaining new life of/through the Holy Spirit),…

….for when the Kindness & Love of God appears ( in Christ Jesus) we obtain mercy through accepting the power of the Cross to deal with our sin ( we die to sin) and the power of the resurrection to breath new life into us…(Titus 3:4-5) – basically being born again in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, accepting the Amazing Love of God, triggers the Amazing Mercy of God and allows the Amazing Grace of God to work in our lives.

The Amazing Love, Amazing Mercy, Amazing Grace of God is better explained in Romans 6:1-14

 

On the other hand…

The enemy loves the law because he is the accuser of the brethren… (Revelation 12:10 ) and knows the ins and out of the law to keep us captive. The law was to just act as a guardian / school master to show us that we indeed need a savior who will supply all we need (by grace ,free unmerited favor) through faith…. (Galatians 3:24 ).

Indeed, knowing the truth of Grace renders the enemy’s accusations against us null and void because one can use the finished sacrifice of the Blood of the Lamb as payment ( court bond / bail / fine) to be set free from the wages of sin / transgression. The enemy would therefore have to let us go because it is all done / finished / paid for… (John 19:28-30 ).

There is now no more condemnation for those in Christ Jesus…For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law of sin and death… (Romans 8:1-2 ).

It is therefore in the interest of the enemy to keep us ignorant of the truth of Grace so that we remain under the law where he has the upper hand. There is nothing that can pay for the wages of our sin other than the Blood of the Lamb.

So the enemy would want us to perish for lack of knowledge… ( Hosea 4:6) …

…or as Isaiah puts it…we may be taken to exile for our lack of understanding, those of us who are considered great and honored will starve and the common man will die of thirst…(Isaiah 5:13)…

…and try our luck in trying to argue for ourselves out of our transgressions and ultimately try paying for the wages of our sin. Unfortunately for those of us who fall into the trap of self justification , the wages of sin is nothing but death.

Jesus Christ shed His Blood for the salvation of all men who accept the free gift by grace through faith.

 

Vs 2 – the accusations begin against Peter using the law.

Law Vs Grace

Peter explains… With the basic conclusion… Do not call anything unclean if God has made it clean. This happened 3 times signifying it importance – a matter shall be established by two or more witnesses- confirmations???… (2 Corinthians 13:1, Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16)….

…or is it the Spirit, the Water & the Blood in Christ Jesus that testify and are in agreement…with the testimony of God greater than human testimony???…(1 John 5:6-9)

Indeed, Man shall not live on bread alone but by every Word from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).

God’s Word is above Jewish laws!? He made the law through His Word and His Word can change the law??

For

The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath …(Mark 2:28)

Jesus is a fulfillment of the law – He has done it all for us. All who believe in Jesus are therefore now made the righteousness of God ( made clean) in Christ Jesus.

# Thank you Jesus that You have presented us to the Father as the righteousness of God in Yourself,
that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the new law that I operate under and that it has negated the law of sin and death,
That the covenant of the Blood of the Lamb is the covenant that I am under and that it negates all other evil covenants, agreements, relationships and initiations knowingly and unknowingly entered into by myself or on my behalf by my parents, bloodline or ancestry or anyone in authority over my life.
I repent for condemning anyone under the law that is associated with sin and death and I pray that the Holy Spirit guide me in fully operating under Grace and Truth that is associated with the law of the Spirit of life. Amen!

Vs 13- The Lord searches the world to find those who have a heart for Him for Him to reveal Himself to them (1 Chronicles 16:9).
An angel was sent to show the gentile believer the way to Salvation – Jesus Christ the only way to the Father and the only way to Salvation.

Peter came to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was confirmed with the Holy Spirit falling on the household.

The privilege of repentance and receiving salvation is made available for all.

Vs 19- there was persecution after Steven’s death.
God can work everything for good for those who love God and are pursuing His purposes.
Steven’s death and persecution of the Church caused the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be spread to other regions and also eventually to the gentiles. What the enemy meant for evil, God turned it for good …(Romans 8:28) and through the death of Steven and the persecution of the Church, a greater harvest for the Church was produced, contrary to the plans of the enemy towards destroying the Church.

That is probably a good example of the Power of the Cross or how to release Resurrection Power into the kingdom.

Christians are called to carry their own cross like Steven, denying themselves their rights and following Jesus ( Matthew 16:24)…

…loving not their life onto the death and overcoming the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony in Christ ( Revelation 12:11),

… Allowing the power of God to work in us and through us by following the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whose finished work of the Cross crushed the head of the serpent (Romans 16:20 ).

Vs 21- the power of the Lord was with them and a large number of gentiles were converted to the Lord.

Is there evidence of God’s blessings in my life or the Church?

Do I or Church leadership encourage believers to remain true to the Lord and His Gospel or have I fallen into the enemy’s trap of compromise and political correctness?

Are the people chosen to lead Church ministry good people, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith or do we choose through a worldly criteria of wealth, power, influence,status in society… ?

God can use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise ( 1 Corinthians 1:27).
Interesting how Saul, who was a persecutor of the Church and was also present at the stoning of Steven would be one of those the Lord uses to teach and preach the Gospel in the areas where the Gospel reached because of persecution of the Church and the death of Steven and indeed initiate the Christian movement.
Wow, indeed God is Almighty and is always in control!

Vs 28- A great famine prophesied on the entire Roman world. The Roman world was at this time persecuting the Church.
I will bless those who bless you -( Israel / God’s people) – and curse those who curse you   ( Genesis 12:3)?

Famine is a representation of spiritual famine ( spiritual poverty) of the place. When the Lord abandons a place or a people ( removes His hedge of protection – like the covering of the Blood of the Lamb at the Passover ) the enemy comes and has access to do what he does best – killing, stealing and destruction.

I vaguely remember a teaching from a bible scholar I heard that correlated the above scripture to the history of nations in relation to how they were either blessed or cursed depending on how they treated the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel. He studied the rise and fall of nations and empires with an interesting conclusion that that scripture held true.

An example I remember was how America became a super power both military and financially because they blessed the Jewish people with finances and militarily and at the same time Russia became a super power militarily only because they blessed the Jewish people militarily. How the nations blessed Israel was in turn how they were blessed. This apparently held true for a number of European countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK and so on…that they became prosperous and sustained it while they were a blessing to the Jewish people and they declined or lost their dominance when the came against the Jewish people.

Vs 29- In the end, the Christians become a blessing to the Jewish people. The believers in Antioch sent relief to their brothers in Judea. The gentiles once despised by the Jews are the same people the Lord uses to bless the Jews and the people that were sent to teach and preach were the ones sent back with the gifts!

The abundant love, mercy and grace of God that endures forever.
The ways of the Lord that are above and beyond what we can think or imagine.
God wins in the end ( He has won already!) , which side will I be on?
I choose life,
I choose blessings,
I choose ( team) Jesus!
Me and my house shall serve the Lord.

Amen & Amen!

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