In the early days of the Church the disciples were dispersed due to persecution. As they went abroad preaching the Word, they left their comfort zones and lived amongst foreigners.
Believers were added to the Church and "outsiders", non Jews, began to trickle into the Church.
There arose a conflict , even resentment within the the Jewish section of the Church because some of them felt it was not proper nor lawful for Jews to have any contact with "unclean heathens", that is, peoples of other races and tongues. Leviticus 20:26.
Peter was anointed for the Apostolic ministry, and he thought he was doing a good job but God saw that Peter and other leaders of the church harboured bigotry in their hearts.
Bigotry which was lawful to them because there were numerous scriptures to justify complete their separation from unbelievers.Deuteronomy 7:1-11.
God had to sort Peter out!
The New Covenant of the Blood of Jesus is the Dispensation of Grace;
not the same as the Old Covenant based on works, on outward appearance of prim and proper piety and holiness and abstinence according to the Law of Moses.
Therefore the Lord arranged an encounter which opened Peter's ears to hear God's rebuke and to open his eyes to the enormity of the mandate,of the Great Commission "Go ye therefore and teach all nations....." Matthew 28: 19;
"Go ye into into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature..."Mark 16:15.
The Lord will open the ears and eyes of his Church .Amen.
The Lord appeared to Cornelius, a Roman centurion who feared the Lord and he asked him to send for Peter to teach Cornelius what to do.
Of course, the Lord knew that Peter would be unwilling to have anything to do with Cornelius because of Peter's mind set.
So, before Cornelius' messengers arrived he had prepared Peter's heart to agree to speak with the "unclean Cornelius and his unclean entourage"!Acts 10: 1-48.
Peter obeyed God and he preached to them . As they listened to him, the Holy Ghost fell on the uncircumcised Gentiles!
Soon after that they were baptised in water.
Christians who came with Peter were astonished at these happenings.
As the Lord dealt with Peter and purged him of all bigotry, may God deal with his Church. The Lord will purge and cleanse his Church today of every vestige of bigotry and he will deliver his Church from every dogma and man- made doctrines with has made the Church to be busy, wasting precious time, chasing shadows rather than the substance!
We are praying to the Lord of the Harvest to give us a bountiful harvest of souls. he will surely do that.
All sorts of people are coming into the Church.
Are we willing to accept them ,just as they are; teach them and establish them as disciples of Jesus Christ?
Some of us are willing ; some are not.
Our views would even be backed by scriptures as we place people in pigeon-holes.
To our human eyes and intellect, most of them will not look like, talk like nor even behave like "true Christians".
We all have our notions of what and who "true Christians" are or should be.
Do we stare at them with astonishment;exclaim,"LORD have mercy!", cross our selves and give them a wide berth by relocating to other pews?
Some Christians would not even hug or shake the hands of fellow Christians from another race .
Or even associate with others who they regard as ungodly because of fear of being branded as birds of the same plumage.
Some argue that as Christians we should stay away from unbelievers and should not " be unequally yoked with unbelievers.....".
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Christians should beware of and reject unbelievers' influence and their values which are completely different from ours. But if we are serious about taking the land for God, we cannot shun them as human beings.
We live , work and play amongst them.We are in the world but we are NOT of the world.
We know this but we cannot and should not go through life wearing this saying on our foreheads, chests and backs.
Recently,my friends and I organised a charity function and we were drawing up the list of our invited guests. One of us asked me why we should invite some of the people on the list who were obviously not born again, to a Christian charity function?
The question was out of place because that was what the occasion was for!
To reach out to the unsaved !
In fact , if I had my way ,ALL the invited guests would have been raving sinners! That is what the Church is for,to receive and to minister sinners, not saints!
Do you know of any hospital with beds occupied by hale and healthy people? Matthew 9:12.
I know a King , who laid aside his crown , left his majestic throne and shed all his glory and he came seeking for me.
His name is Jesus Christ.
He found me, made himself of no reputation and he embraced me just as I was .
He has made me a vessel of honour ; fit for the Master's use.
He found you and made you a vessel of honour and he says:
"Go and tell them..."
"Rise, kill and eat! What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common "