Thursday, May 23, 2013

God Doesn't Want Us to Put Down Different Cultures...

And he [Peter] became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air, And there came a Voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.  And the Voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.  Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And called and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.  Acts, Chapter 10, verses 10-18.

When I first read this, I thought it was speaking solely about people formerly not being allowed to eat pork and other foods which had been forbidden in past Bible teachings.  This passage has far-reaching ramifications.  Later on in the same chapter it further clarifies this passage.
And he [Peter] said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  Acts, Chapter 10, verses 28. 
It goes on to say: Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come.  Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.  The Word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all).  Acts Chapter 10, verses 32-36. 
Furthermore it says: And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and dead.  To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.  Acts Chapter 10, verses 42-43.
Parts of the passage that I’m quoting are changing the way that Christians think about the social system.  In the past, certain nationalities or cultures were not to associate with others.  God shares His will with Peter through a dream, using food as a comparison.  Previously, certain foods had been considered unclean and not to be eaten just like there had been certain cultures of people who were not to associate with each other.  Through this dream, God says that all the foods are acceptable to Him in the same way that ALL people are His.  God doesn’t want His disciples just to preach to particular types of people or cultures.  Everyone needs to hear the Word of God.
It shows that God didn’t feel any one nationality, culture or race was better than another.  He wants everyone to have Salvation, not just certain people.  I think if this was important to God then, people should live their lives accordingly.
It’s sad to see and hear some supposed Christians talk negatively about people of different ethnic backgrounds.  I don’t think we are being the best example of how God works in our lives when we are putting down different cultures.  I don’t believe God wants us to think we are better than others whether it’s because they have a different ethnic background, different financial status, believe differently, etc.  I think He wants us to be compassionate and supportive of everyone, being an example of how He works in our lives.
Here are some related passages:
*What then? Are we better than they?  No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  Romans, Chapter 3, verses 9-10.
*For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  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.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  Galatians, Chapter 3, verses 26-29.
*And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.  Matthew, Chapter 28, verses 18-20.
This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

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