PETER’S PERSONAL PERCEPTIONS:
1. Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
This perception regards Peter and Cornelius – Acts 10:1-48.
Begins with the Word! – Acts 9:32
Involves a former scattering! – Acts 8:1
2. Acts 12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
This perception regards Peter and Herod – Acts 12:1-19
Ends with the Worms! – Acts 12:23
Involves a former scattering! – Acts 11:19
The first ended with the glory of God! -Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
The second ended without the glory of God! – Acts 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
The first ends the Jerusalem church’s opposition to Gentile salvation! – Acts 11:1-3, 17, 18.
The second ends with the death of the persecutor of the Jerusalem church! – Acts 12:1-3, 23.
“In Acts 9:32-11:18 – The gospel is released from Jewish Social Isolationism.
In Acts 11:19-12:24 – The gospel is freed from Jewish Administrative Centralism and Political Sacralism.” David Gooding – b.1925. Professor Emeritus Queens University Belfast.
PETER PASSED THROUGHOUT
Acts 9:32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord. 36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. 43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
It is important that we put as much emphasis on the words of our title as they are meant to have. For they point out to us that Peter was an apostle, not a resident pastor! And this comes out when he preaches, and also, even when the Apostle Paul referred to him. When he was preaching in the next chapter he gives his example of ministry as the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice his reference of how the Lord, “went about” doing good. Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
And when the Apostle Paul refers to him, (as “Cephas”), we read the phrase, “lead about.” 1 Corinthians 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
But why is this so important? It is so, due to the understanding that Peter, as an apostle, received direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ, which was to direct the church! And in this particular circuit, Peter receives a very pointed and direct revelation to change the believers from a Judaistic concept of God, to a spiritual understanding of Him, who is Spirit! (John 4:24). For in this journey God was going to revoke the dietary laws which had bound and separated Israel for hundreds of years. And this made quite a difference in the new kingdom of Christ! Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Peter’s present travels shall take him from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), to Lydda, (9:32), to Joppa, (9:38), to Caesarea, (Acts 10:1,7,8,24), then back to Jerusalem (Acts 11:32). But in this journey Peter shall come to proclaim, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (Acts 10:38). And that particular revelation to his soul shall change the administration of the Holy Spirit from “Jewish Social Isolationism” (Prof. Emeritus David Gooding), to the individual believer, be they Jew of Gentile, walking by faith in God!
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. – This then, is a most important trip, not just for Peter, and those of his day, but for all believers throughout all time in God’s salvation of his elect!
Secondly, we must note the phrase, to the saints, in verse 32 in our above listed text. For that is one of the only four times this word appears in the Book of Acts! (See Acts 9:13, 32, 41, 26:10.) The word, “disciples” is used some 26 times, but there seems to be a hesitancy in the use of this word, saint. And this is most important to us! For this points out that which was the separation between Jew and Gentile. – It is the matter of holiness! Both the Jewish and the Gentile believers held to the necessity of that quality of godliness, but the problem was, just how does one become holy? – just how does one become a saint? (This is the same word, Holy, as in Holy Ghost! – Acts 9:31.)
We shall see that Peter’s concept of holiness was so unbending within the Jewish dietary laws, that he shall even rebuke God in justifying himself for remaining separate from his Gentile brothers! And in God’s instruction to Peter in Acts 10:15 (And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.), coupled with Peter’s confessed perception of Acts 10:28, (And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.), we begin to understand somewhat of the Lord’s purpose in sending Peter to two Jewish believers first!
We must keep in mind that this entire circuit of travel is a powerful schoolhouse for Peter’s training concerning the attainment of holiness within the new kingdom of Lord Christ! For his encounter with Aeneas at Lydda, and Tabitha, (or Dorcus) at Joppa, show him the uselessness in the present state of attempting to continue to promote a Jewish flavor of holiness by a ‘works righteousness,’ rather than a ‘grace righteousness!’ The Jewish righteousness said, “I don’t eat unclean skunk, so I am holy!” But the Christian believer says, “I am holy by Christ’s imputed righteousness, so it doesn’t matter if I eat skunk or not!” Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul warns of those giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils! Listen to those demonic “doctrines:” 1 Timothy 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
And in these two Jewish believers we clearly understand that kingdom holiness could not be attained by natural heritage! For Aeneas was infirm, and Dorcus was dead! Therefore he had no seed, and she had no womb to conceive seed! to John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Therefore the natural genealogies of Israel would cease. For Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Son who filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:23). For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9). Christ alone is the very “seed” of Life! Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Dorcus had a previous amount of good works presented to Peter by widows! Israel had a history rich in their obedience to God, but now it cannot continue outside of Christ, and can only be manifest, like these widows, by those who have lost their Headship! Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The lesson from infirm Aeneas to Israel is found in these verses: Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
And the word to Israel from Dorcus, as a dead womb is seen in Isaiah 54:1-8. And a word clearly seen as given to Abraham concerning Sarah’s womb is spoken in the following passage: Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
The one thing that both individually needed in their coupled representation to Peter, in order to show the need of national Israel to progress into the Israel of God, (Gal. 6:16), was given to them from the very mouth of the Apostle Peter. For in both Acts 9:34, and verse 40 we read the sovereign, effectual command of the Holy Spirit: “arise”! Like all sinners, they needed a sovereign resurrection of the soul! The dead sinner needs regeneration! For he is dead in trespasses and sins! (Eph. 2:1). And this is utterly impossible without the Lord Jesus Christ! For he IS the resurrection! John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Dear Reader, all men are sinners! – even Calvinists! There is no “us,” and “them!” “We” are no better, if left to ourselves, than anyone in hell right now! ALL have sinned! ALL have come short! God doesn’t save men as “Jews!” God doesn’t save men as “Gentiles!” God saves SINNERS! Rom. 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
And every single soul whom God regenerates, raising them from the death of trespasses and sins, turns from the idolatry of practiced religion, to serve the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Thess. 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
May God have mercy on sinners!
Pastor Gene Breed; December 29, 2012