In the first part of Chapter 11 we read that Peter, who was a Jew, and an Apostle of Christ, was in Joppa when he had the vision about the sheet with the unclean animals being dropped down. As a Jew there were animals he was not permitted to eat as they were considered ceremonially unclean. Now, without the context of the surrounding scriptures one might assume that this section of scripture is about making all foods acceptable to eat, although it is true that we can eat anything as long as we give thanks for it, this section of scripture should not be used as a prooftext for that truth. We would cite Mark 7, and 1 Corinthians 10 for that support.
This section of scripture is actually, about the gentiles. As of this time they were not considered by the Apostles when the gospel was preached. In this vision Peter was being prepared to preach the gospel to even the gentiles. We know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means to that end. We also know that people cannot know it unless someone comes to them to preach it. This notion was confirmed to Peter when the men sent to him by the Roman Cornelius arrived.
In verse 14 we read, “and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.” This is in regard to Peter and what he will say to the gentile household. Notice what happens? he will speak words… by which you will be saved… For everyone who is a fan of friendship evangelism read that over and over again.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It must be preached with words. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 1:16-17. It is the means God has ordained by which to save the elect.
“14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 10:14-17. You’ll notice that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit after they came to faith for it says in verse 17 that they believed first. “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” You’ll also notice that it is God Himself who gives them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not imparted by a Priest or any man. He is not imparted by a ceremony, or some tradition. Those He indwells, He indwells by the will of the Father. In verse 18 we also see that the repentance that leads to life is granted by God according to His will, and the work of Christ on the cross as expressed in the gospel that was preached to them. “When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
The Word of God is truly wonderful. When we know it, and are informed by it, we can make decisions that are faithful to God. We are called to do what is right as Christians. Preaching the gospel of Christ is our mission. Repent and believe!
Peter Reports at Jerusalem
1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me, 6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’ 10 This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky. 11 And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; 14 and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (NASB Strong’s) Acts 11:1-18