“What God Hath Cleansed” . . . that, call not thou common (Acts 10:15, 11:9). The apostles and brethren that were in Judea, heard about it. Peter went up to Jerusalem, and they that were of the circumcision, contended with him. In other words, those that had already received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, lit into him. They began to strongly accuse him. He dared, to go in to those who were unclean and actually sit down and eat with them. Reading it again today, it left me somewhat puzzled. Traditions, seemed the more important.
I couldn’t help recall, that Jesus had told them before He left, to go into “all the world,” and preach the gospel. Peter had even stood up on that miraculous day, when the Spirit came in such a mighty manner, and made a statement that we’ve all quoted and claimed, all these years now. “Even to those that are afar off; as many, as the Lord our God shall call.”
How quick they were to accuse him. It seems hard to realize, that even after they had received the Spirit, their traditions and commandments of men, were more important.
Once he expounded to them the entire event, then, they were happy that those had been filled with the Spirit also.
I also recall, where Paul came back to town, and withstood Peter to the face, for doing the same kind of thing. He had separated himself from others who were not part of his group, because some of his friends had shown up. He did not want them upset with him, because he had been fellowshipping and eating with others they didn’t approve of. The apostles were human men, just as we all are. There were things they had to learn, about who Christ wanted in His body.
We’re going to have to work even harder, on staying humble and guarding closely, the way we say things. I sincerely mean that. It was years ago now, that in a very large meeting I attended, I was privileged to hear a great teacher and anointed man, speak some very clear things to us.
He was talking about a certain group of people who had claimed to have received the Holy Ghost. This happened during a time, that the Holy Ghost had been poured out on people in all sorts of Christian denominations. It had occurred, all over this country. So many of us, had bad feelings toward these people; we didn’t really believe that these had truly received the Spirit, because they did not go along with our own kind of beliefs.
I’ve never forgotten what he said. He told us, that although he felt they did not have the truth that we had, that he would never, ever say or think, they had not been filled with the Spirit. He said that if he did so, he would be in awesome fear, that he had actually blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. I’m afraid, most people there, did not hear that; it went right over their heads.
His next comment, brought an intake of sharp breath, across the entire place; from the floor, across the platform and even up into the balconies. He said that some of those things we tried to require of these people, were likely just some traditions, of our own particular fellowship.
We failed to teach strongly enough, that the fruit of the Spirit, was the only real way you could tell, who had it, and who didn’t.
God has cleansed and filled, perhaps many people, who we continue to call common, and unclean. They don’t look or live, the way we say they should; we say they don’t belong to Christ In some ways, it’s hard to see, that so many of those who were once members of our group, no longer abide or practice those same rules they once did.
I don’t mean it’s sad for them; it’s sad for us. Because we shunned our own people and pushed them out.
I feel the Spirit, is speaking to us today, that we’ve forgotten who looks on the heart. The sheet Peter saw, was filled with all those we do not approve of. We must discern all people in the Spirit. They may not be common to God.
~ Robert Blackburn