word of God
Week 30 is scheduled for study July 17-23, 2023. Just as the word of God grew through missionary work, so too did Christ’s disciples through their obedience to his commandments.

Day 1

Read Acts 10-15 carefully, allowing time for the Spirit to prompt you with thoughts and feelings. What is there for you to learn in these chapters?

Acts 10 – God is no respecter of persons.

For many centuries the house of Israel had embedded within them the thought that they were special, the chosen ones, and God’s own peculiar people. Everyone else was outside of the covenant He made with them, and therefore they had access to blessings no one else could get. Suddenly, within a 24 hour period, that whole paradigm was shattered for Peter.

With the vision he had on the rooftop, the statement from the Lord that what He has declared to be clean is clean, followed by the command of the Spirit to follow these gentiles at the front door to their home, all of the Jews’ special status in the world was wiped away. The Jews had been the covenant people, but after they rejected their Savior He opened the day of the gentile. Now the gospel message would be given to anyone who was willing to obey God and keep His commandments. After all those centuries of cultivating His people to be His representatives to the world, He would now take the gospel to everyone, without worrying about their current bloodline.

God’s covenant was still with Israel, but since Israel had systematically rejected Him, now anyone who wanted to be a part of the blessings offered to Israel could be adopted into the family through covenant. God would make them His bloodline. One way or another His work would continue and progress. As the Jews continued to reject and fight against those who believed in Jesus, the gentiles were beginning to believe and embrace Jesus by the thousands. What is numbered in the scriptures on the day of Pentecost as being 120 members present will be many thousands by the end of this week’s reading assignment. And it wasn’t just one group or culture that was embracing the gospel of Christ, they came from every group who heard the message preached.

Correction: Since writing this lesson I have found a verse in 1 Corinthians 15:6 a reference that clearly states that Jesus was seen, after his resurrection, by more than 500 Saints, many of whom were still alive at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian Saints. We know that Jesus did not show himself to any but his believers after his resurrection, so there had to be more members of the church than the 120 we read about on the day of Pentecost.

Us today

I am saddened, and I’ll admit to being not just a little bit angry, when I hear that someone is telling one culture that they were substandard and not fully faithful to God in the premortal world, so God is punishing them by denying them ease and comfort in this life. That stance embraces the assumption of knowledge that only God possesses.

We are taught that we are all equally loved by God. I accept this as the truth completely and without reservation. When someone asks me why they live in the country that sees so much strife, and why they have experienced so much poverty, while I live in America, and seem to “have it all,” I cannot answer that question. All I know is that whatever the answer it isn’t a difference in God’s love for the two of us. He loves us the same. But it was He who decided where we needed to be born, when we would be born, and how far our influence will extend in this life. This is His plan, and His love for each of us will guarantee that all of us have equal chance at salvation and exaltation. No one will be deprived.

God is truly no respecter of persons. He favors no one group over another, outside of one group deserving more blessings than another group because of their personal righteousness. God will give everyone every blessing available to give if they choose to be obedient. Sometimes it is difficult to see the fairness of God’s love, because we live in mortality, and this life is very unfair by nature. We must learn to trust in God and His real and abiding love for each of us. That is what I believe.

Day 2

Read Acts 10-15 carefully, allowing time for the Spirit to prompt you with thoughts and feelings. What is there for you to learn in these chapters?

Acts 10; 11:1-18; 15 – Heavenly Father teaches me line upon line through revelation.

It is the nature of God’s love for us to teach us to think and act for ourselves. If we can, with work, figure something out for ourselves then He will give us the tools and the situations then leave it up to us to put the pieces together. Only when something is beyond our ability to figure it out for ourselves does He reveal what must be done without having us give it a try first. This is God’s pattern for dealing with His children. It has held true in every age of the world so far, and will continue that way until the day of judgment. And my guess is that it will continue beyond that time as well, for this is how we grow best.

I don’t know how many insights Peter might have received just from his rooftop vision alone. He was given the vision, but no interpretation, only a statement about not calling something, or someone, unclean that God has pronounced clean. This is the principle. It was taught using food, since that was an easy way to represent the principle. How Peter extended that lesson to other things was going to be up to him to recognize and apply it.

While Peter was still puzzling over the contents of the vision, trying to work out what it meant and how it was going to apply to him, and possibly to the whole church, the Spirit came to him and said that three gentiles were at the door downstairs. They had been sent by God to fetch Peter to the home of a gentile. He was to go and not doubt or question why, just go. (That’s a rough paraphrase.)

The vision Peter received told him that, in principle, if God declares a food clean then no matter what he had been taught from his youth to the contrary, that food was now acceptable before God. Peter didn’t understand why, but that is what the principle God gave him said. Now he was being told that another unclean thing needed his attention, but that he was to go and do what needed to be done as Christ’s Apostle, because God had sent him to them. Again, something unclean that God appears to be declaring to now be clean. Two big parts of the law of Moses that were being thrown out in one day. What might be next?

As Peter taught of Christ to Cornelius and his extended family and friends, they had a day of Pentecost experience. But these are the unclean gentiles! First God declares that anything He says is clean is, in fact, clean. Then He sends Peter to these gentiles to teach them in their own house, which was against the law of Moses. Now God has sent these gentiles His Spirit with just as much power as on the day Peter first experienced his own baptism of fire. Truly God was treating them as equals with the Jews. This was something no one among the Jews would have ever imagined!

God taught Peter step by step. First He gave Peter the principle upon which all that would follow would be based. Then He gave Peter knowledge and instructions to face the situation He had set up for Peter. Lastly God showed Peter that His love extends to all who want to follow the teachings of Christ. If Peter had refused to follow through with any step along this path he might have lost the opportunity to learn such an important principle. How many times in our life are we given the opportunity to learn important things about ourselves, others, and God, but we chose not to follow the Spirit at some step in the progression? If we did then we will never know in this life how often we have missed out.

God almost always teaches us by degree. The point is that the changes that need to be made often take so much effort that to give us the final principle and demand up front would scare us away. So He prepares us step by step. When we demonstrate that we are willing to obey Him thus far, more is given. We progress incrementally as we are prepared to accept more. This way we are only held accountable for what was offered, not for the final requirements. God even shows His love for us in His patience to let us learn at our own pace and in our own way.

All of our progress is through some form of revelation, for all things spiritual must be revealed. The mind of mortal man cannot conceive of the ways of God. He must reveal Himself to us as we are prepared to receive that knowledge.

Day 3

Read Acts 10-15 carefully, allowing time for the Spirit to prompt you with thoughts and feelings. What is there for you to learn in these chapters?

Acts 11:26 – I am a Christian because I believe in and follow Jesus Christ.

To be called a Christian is to adopt Christ’s teachings and to seek to emulate his life in our own behaviors. If I believe in him, but am not interested in becoming like him, I’m not really a Christian. I am more of a distant admirer. To become a Christian is to apprentice our self to him and to seek to become like him. This is a lifelong ambition. Who is a Catholic, the one who only goes to mass at Christmas and Easter, or the one who is at mass every Sunday, who learns the doctrines of their church, and who seeks to live by those doctrines every day? There are Christians then there are weak excuses for a Christian. Which one I am is decided by my daily choices to become more like my Savior.

FHE/Personal Study

Acts 10:17, 20 – Doubt

Here are today’s verses.

17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,

20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

Look at Peter’s reaction to what he had just seen in vision. He wasn’t rejecting what he had been shown, he just didn’t understand what it meant. He was lacking context to know how to apply what he had seen. Often we receive instructions from the Spirit without full explanations to help them make sense. The Lord wants us to exercise faith in Him and just do what we have been prompted to do.

In the first verse all Peter knows is that the Lord doesn’t want Peter to call unclean that which He has pronounced clean. In other words, don’t say something is unacceptable if I have already declared it to be acceptable. But Peter didn’t know what this lesson was to be applied to. Was it really to mean that God was approving all kinds of formerly unclean food? To what end?

To help Peter to not reject the meaning of the vision out of hand, the Spirit told Peter that he should not doubt the men whom God had just sent to him, and that he should go with them. First he had been presented with unclean food and told to eat that which was forbidden in the law of Moses. Now the Lord is telling him that in the same line of thinking these formerly unclean men at the door were sent by Him, and that he was not to call them unclean. Spending time in the company, and especially in the house of a gentile was something that made you unclean as well. So when Peter went with the men Cornelius sent he took six men to act as witnesses to see what the Lord would do. Peter was, after all, the Prophet and leader of the church. He couldn’t be seen as flaunting the laws by which those in the church had always lived. For the sake of the whole church Peter needed witnesses of this most unusual act.


What I take away from these verses for my own life is that when the Spirit is involved in something, and truth is revealed, don’t doubt it. The Lord specifically told Peter to go with the men at his door, because He had sent them, and that he was not to doubt in his mind or heart what he was being called upon to do. Peter was acutely aware that the revelations he received came from his master, the Christ. This was a voice he was familiar with, and he followed it without question, even though he didn’t understand the why behind the instruction yet.

In our own life our why isn’t always given to us immediately. We often have to just do as we are prompted to do, trusting that the why will be revealed at some point in the future.

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NT30-2023 – The Word of God Grew