An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

Acts…Lesson 7: The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles

Memory Verse:For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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” Galatians 3:27, 28.

Daily Bible Readings: Acts 9:32-10:23; Acts 10:24-48; Acts 11:1-18; 1 Peter 1-2; 1 Peter 3-5; 2 Peter 1

Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-23

Introduction:

In this lesson we see Peter being challenged to chart new territory for the church. God commanded Cornelius to invite a Jew named Peter to his home; this was not an issue for Cornelius. Not so with Peter. For Peter, a call to go with Gentiles to a Gentile home was against a lifetime of training. Christ is preparing Peter to cross this boundary line.

To accomplish His purpose, Christ uses a vision. Peter is on the rooftop at noontime. He is praying and falls into a trance. What he sees seems like a natural dream for someone who was hungry. A voice from heaven invites Peter to “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But there is a problem. At least some of the animals Peter sees are ceremonially unclean for the Jew. Israel was given detailed dietary instructions to follow in Deuteronomy 14:3-21. Certain animals, including those in Peter’s vision, were unclean. These rules made a distinction between God’s People and the pagan cultures around them. By these rules, God built a wall of separation between Jew and Gentile.

Now Peter is being invited by God to kill and eat animals he has been taught were unclean. The meaning is not clear to Peter, but it soon will be.

Where is God challenging you to change your habits today? Are you responding in faith to that call?

Lesson Questions:

Acts 9:32-43. Peter Heals Aeneas and Dorcas

  1. What were the good works that Dorcas was known for?
  2. What was the effect on others of her being brought back to life?

Acts 10:1-48. Peter and Cornelius

  1. What was the character of Cornelius? Acts 10:1-2, 30-31. How about from God’s perspective? Acts 10:4.
  2. Who came to Cornelius in his vision and what was his message? Acts 10:3-5, 30-32; 11:13.
  3. What were the animals that Peter was commanded to eat in his vision and what was Peter’s response? Acts 10:9-16; 11:6
  4. What was the direct message that Peter took from his vision? Acts 10:28-29, 34-35; 11:12.
  5. In Peter’s vision, Peter addresses the voice who spoke to him as “Lord.” Some red-letter editions of the Bible reference these as words of the Lord Jesus. Is this the Lord Jesus that is speaking in Peter’s vision? Acts 10:13-15, 28; 11:8-9.
  6. What was the meaning of the Holy Spirit coming on the Gentile believers? Acts 10:44-48.

Acts 11:1-18. Peter Reports to the Church

  1. Who criticized Peter for eating with uncircumcised believers? Acts 11:1-3, Galatians 2:12.
  2. Was the church satisfied with the explanation Peter gave them? Acts 11:18. Did that end the discussion on the subject?

Question for thought:

On what law was the “circumcision party” basing the rule that Peter and others are not to eat with those that are uncircumcised?