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Here's the Deal

Peter responds in love, God is glorified. Acts 11.4-18

Mission to the Gentiles: Acts 11 (1)

Pray Psalm 81.13, 14, 8.
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries…
Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
O Israel, if you will listen to Me!”

Sing Psalm 81.13, 14, 8.
(St. Petersburg: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Now let us all abandon our ways and listen to God, and offer Him praise!
Our foes He will so quickly subdue, extending His hand to save and renew.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Read Acts 11.1-18; meditate on verses 4-18.

1. How did Peter respond to his challengers?

2. How did they respond to his report?


Peter, giving his opponents credit for being reasonable men, took no offense at their objection; he simply “explained to them in order” what had happened (vv. 4-17).

Peter’s concluding point is most important. John had promised the baptism of the Spirit (v. 16); likewise, Jesus (Acts 1.8). Peter and his challengers had experienced what John and Jesus promised (Acts 2). They were convinced by this that salvation and the Kingdom had come to them. Peter explained that the same thing happened to Cornelius and his household (v. 15). Who was he, even the chief of the apostles, to stand in the way of what God was doing (v. 17)?

What followed is important: The NKJV exactly captures the meaning of the Greek, edoxazon: They began glorifying God (v.18). Or they repeatedly glorified God or continued to glorify Him. Those who heard Peter’s report processed it in silence, then affirmed it with praise, celebrating this wonderful work of God, and expressing glad surprise at what He had done through Peter’s witness.

This passage reminds us that even the most respected leaders in the Church are not free to act alone. All believers are accountable to the Spirit of God working within the Body of Christ. There is no human “head” of the Church, nor of any local church. Christ is the Head, His Word is the Touchstone, and His Spirit is the animating power for the church’s work as sign and outpost of the Kingdom.

Peter spoke the truth in love. Even when disputes arise within the household of faith, this is no call to arms for a rhetorical punching match, filled with exaggerated claims, ad hominem swipes, and “So’s your old man” snide remarks. Rather, patiently, thoughtfully, and in love, believers must seek to discern and embrace the will of God, working to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). Peter’s challengers may have been all worked up about this situation. But he was calm, patient, and persuasive in relating his experience and observations. The result was glory and rejoicing.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“…who was I that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11.17)

This question should guide our hearts in all that we believe, think, and do.

God has told us what we must do to be saved. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16.31).

God has told us how to behave. Keep My commandments (Ex. 20. 1-17; Jn. 14.15).

God has told us how to deal with sin. Repent and turn away from it (Ezek. 14.6; Prov.4.14, 15; 1 Jn.1.9).

God has told us how to live powerfully. Be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.8).

God has told us how to treat our fellowman. Be just, merciful, humble, kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and loving (Mic. 6.8; Jn.13.35; Eph.4.32).

God has told us who we are. We are His chosen people (Is. 43.1; 1 Pet. 2.9, 10).

God has told us what to do daily. Work your Personal Mission Field (Lk. 9.23; Eph. 2.8-10).

Here's the Deal: Who are we to withstand God?

For reflection

1. What are some ways believers might try to “withstand God”?

2. Why is it important that we always speak the truth in love?

3. How will you glorify God with your words today?

We should at all times bear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of taking offense, or answering with warmth, we should explain our motives, and show the nature of our proceedings. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 11.1-18

Pray Psalm 81.3-8, 15, 16.
Praise God for His saving mercy. Call on Him to bring you into more of His saving grace and power, that you might live fully for Him in your Personal Mission Field – blessed to be a blessing to others!

Pray Psalm 81.3-8, 15, 16.
(St. Petersburg: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Let every kind of instrument play to celebrate God’s deliverance today.
It is His statute and His command to worship and praise all over the land.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Declare His mercy, tell of His grace; our enemies flee the look of His face.
In mighty deeds strong witness He gave, and powerf’ly did His chosen ones save.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

God set us free from bondage to sin and graciously brought us near Him again;
He rescued us whenever we cried and often our falt’ring confidence tried:
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Then even those despising the Lord would falsely obey and follow His Word;
In vain they seem to follow His way, yet judgment awaits on God’s chosen day.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!’

The finest foods for us He will buy, and furnish us an abundant supply.
How sweet our lives can be in the Lord, when only we heed His glorious Word.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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