Seeds Day 15 Outside The Lines: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why would Peter respond so sharply and negatively to the Lord’s command? (verse 14)

2) How does this excerpt in Peter’s life display God’s love?

3) What do verses 28-29 and verses 34-36 reveal about Peter’s heart?

Acts 10:9-36

The next day, as they were traveling and nearing the city, Peter went up to pray on the roof about noon. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12 In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. 13 A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything impure and ritually unclean.”

15 Again, a second time, the voice said to him, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.” 16 This happened three times, and suddenly the object was taken up into heaven.

17 While Peter was deeply perplexed about what the vision he had seen might mean, right away the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions to Simon’s house, stood at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon, who was also named Peter, was lodging there.

19 While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, “Three men are here looking for you. 20 Get up, go downstairs, and go with them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.”

21 Then Peter went down to the men and said, “Here I am, the one you’re looking for. What is the reason you’re here?”

22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who has a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation, was divinely directed by a holy angel to call you to his house and to hear a message from you.” 23 Peter then invited them in and gave them lodging.

The next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. 24 The following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him.

26 But Peter lifted him up and said, “Stand up. I myself am also a man.” 27 While talking with him, he went in and found a large gathering of people. 28 Peter said to them, “You know it’s forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner, but God has shown me that I must not call any person impure or unclean. 29 That’s why I came without any objection when I was sent for. So may I ask why you sent for me?”

30 Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this hour, at three in the afternoon, I was praying in my house. Just then a man in dazzling clothing stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered in God’s sight. 32 Therefore send someone to Joppa and invite Simon here, who is also named Peter. He is lodging in Simon the tanner’s house by the sea.’ 33 So I immediately sent for you, and it was good of you to come. So now we are all in the presence of God to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord.”

34 Peter began to speak: “Now I truly understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.

Original Intent

1) Why would Peter respond so sharply and negatively to the Lord’s command? (verse 14)
To understand the sharp response, we must understand Peter’s history and current culture. While the Old Testament prophecy had oft spoken of a time when God’s redemption would include both Jew and Gentile, and though Jesus had also shared this with His disciples on multiple occasions, it was still a concept Peter had not embraced. Peter still felt he had an “edge” in faith because he followed all the Old Testament rules, including dietary restrictions. The Lord’s purpose in giving Peter this vision was to stretch Peter’s understanding of the vastness of God’s far-reaching love and grace. God challenged Peter’s way of thinking to see beyond where he was currently comfortable and his initial response was negative, “By no means, Lord!”. (verse 14) Peter thought he was being loyal to God, he thought he was being tempted to sin, but because God never tempts us (James 1:13) Peter eventually realized and slowly embraced the truth, that redemption was meant for all.

2) How does this excerpt in Peter’s life display God’s love?
The sovereignty of God is a beautiful thing to behold in Scripture and in our own lives; His fingerprints of tender, shepherding love are all over this account! The Lord knew exactly where Peter’s heart was in his personal faith journey. Knowing Peter still pushed against preaching Christ to all nations and races, God did not reject Peter or disqualify him from doing ministry in His kingdom. In love, God came to Peter in a way he would accept, wrestle with, and grow through. In love, the Holy Spirit had been pressing on Peter’s heart to pray and fast that specific day in preparation for what the Lord wanted to reveal to him. In love, the Lord repeated His call three times, giving certainty and clear authority that this message was genuinely from Heaven. In love, the Lord allowed Peter to slowly grasp the fullness of the truth God wanted him to embrace as He provided an immediate opportunity (Acts 10:20) to be obedient, while still allowing Peter to wrestle in his own way (Acts 10:19). God allowed the stretching, never demanding perfection, but constantly walked with Peter in the process of growth. Such love of a Father!

3) What do verses 28-29 and verses 34-36 reveal about Peter’s heart?
In the first set of verses, we find Peter standing among a group of Gentiles, which surely made him feel incredibly uncomfortable as Old Testament laws had forbidden this interaction to keep Jews from associating with idolatrous nations. Jews carried the law to such an extreme it became unlawful for a Jew to even involuntarily touch a Gentile. (Acts 10:28, John 18:28) Peter’s quote reveals his heart decision to be obedient to the Lord, even though he has followed Old Testament law faithfully for his entire life. He has decided that, regardless of his feelings, his love for and trust in Jesus Christ trumps his old way of life. The second quote from Peter follows an incredible testimony from Cornelius who shares how the same Holy Spirit who had been revealing His message of redemption for all to Peter had also been speaking to him while he too had been praying (verses 30-33). Cornelius’ encounter with the Lord had even happened before the Lord had spoken to Peter so that the timing would align well for Peter to immediately (as Peter’s personality tends to like immediacy!) have an opportunity to be obedient! After hearing Cornelius’ story, the Spirit moved in Peter’s heart, bringing further conviction and clarity that the Lord’s message was indeed meant for Peter to extend the gospel to Jew and Gentile alike. Peter now owns this conviction and asserts boldly, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” (verses 34-35)

Everyday Application

1) Why would Peter respond so sharply and negatively to the Lord’s command? (verse 14)
Just as with every Christ-follower, the longer we walk with the Lord, the better we know Him, and the more we see how our own perspectives miss the mark of the Lord’s heart; this was true for Peter also. Peter had a difficult time accepting that all were to be shown Christ’s mercy and forgiveness. Maybe your struggle is similar, or maybe it’s something else. What is a guarantee, is that we all have blind spots in how we see others and how far we are called to extend grace.  Spend some time slowly reading this passage again a couple of times, praying for the Spirit to show you the places you “push back” against truth. Keep praying in the days and weeks ahead until you can join Peter in saying, “Truly, I understand that God….(fill in the blank to what He has been revealing to you)”. (verse 34)

2) How does this excerpt in Peter’s life display God’s love?
How often have you looked back at your life and mused, “If I had only known then what I know now…”. While it can be easy for us to carry these regrets, we must be mindful of the Lord’s process as we journey. He does not expect us to begin our walk with Him already having arrived with all knowledge and understanding. The work He does through us and the redemption that He brings as He uses even our mistakes, points to His glory and not our own! The process of growth and understanding may seem painstakingly slow to us, even discouraging, but remember it is not the Lord who is pushing us to “hurry up and get there”. He is Lord is the journey and He will steadily grow our hearts to be more like His the more we surrender fully to Him. Trust His hand and His heart as He leads!

3) What do verses 28-29 and verses 34-36 reveal about Peter’s heart?
Not only did the Lord allow for Peter to walk this journey of personal growth in faith, but He lined up the exact scenarios which gave Peter the confidence to trust that this message was indeed from the Lord. Where do you struggle with belief? What doubts about God or faith or the Bible do you specifically wrestle with? Bring them to the Lord in prayer, journaling them out before Him! The Almighty is big enough to handle your areas of unbelief and will faithfully lead you deeper into truth as He steadfastly grows your heart and dependence on Him! He is a God who wants to be fully known by you! He is pursuing a relationship with you no matter how long or short you have followed Him; what a loving Father!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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