Roanoke Church of Christ “New Life” Bulletin, April 18, 2021
Peter was in Joppa, staying at the home of Simon, who was a tanner. It was about mealtime, so he relaxes and ends up in a “trance.” He sees something like a large sheet coming from the sky, with the four corners held up. Inside he saw all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles and birds. A voice told him to, “Get up Peter. Kill and eat.” He says, “No way Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” This happens three times. Does anybody notice that Peter refused a direct command from the Lord? If he had been obedient, what would he have killed and fried? It said all kinds of animals etc., so there must have been a clean one or two. Yet seeing them all mixed in together caused Peter to see them all as unclean and disobeys a direct command.
Of course, we could say the sheet and its contents were just a trance-thing, not real. But in the trance, Peter is confronted with a real issue. An issue that may have been growing inside him for some time, who and what is clean and unclean before God? With whom would Peter have lunch?
The Roman soldiers arrive from Cornelius, who stop at the gate. Perhaps, because they were asking for a favor, they are sure to show respect by not entering without being invited. When Peter comes down and hears their request for him to go see Cornelius, he invites them in to be his guests. Which is a little weird, because it was not his house. It was Simon’s.
It seems the Romans spent the night there, and the next day Peter and some of the “brothers” from Joppa accompany the soldiers to Caesarea. Peter enters this gentile house filled with a bunch of gentiles, and says that they know a Jew, under the law, should not be in a gentile home, or even associate with them. However, God had told him not to call any man (person) impure or unclean.
Now, the thrust of the story is to get to the inclusion of the gentiles in the gospel. But let us ask a question: How hard was it for him to actually go? What we do know, from his comment to Cornelius, he was stepping outside of Jewish law in so doing. Regardless of his quick response, he had reservations, based more on the interpretation of the law, than the law itself. Peter readily admits that he is doing something he was taught not to do, and from how he says it, he had something in the law to back it up. Yet he sidesteps all that. Why? Well, there is the trance. How did he know it wasn’t just a bad dream? The arrival of the Roman soldiers helped with that.
Peter’s dilemma was not near as great as was Paul’s. For Peter, the relationship between Jews and gentiles was historically vague. For Paul, when he declared that circumcision was nothing he was in violation of a centuries-old God-ordained covenant. In Genesis 17, after saying that circumcision was an “everlasting covenant” to be kept for all generations to come, it says in v. 13, “My covenant in your flesh (circumcision) is to be an everlasting covenant.” When did God or Jesus change that? Where in scripture is the authority for that change? Paul was commissioned to be the apostle to the gentiles. Fine with the Jews, as long as they kept God’s covenant of circumcision. It was in the Law, said the Judaizing Christians.
Both Peter and Paul were dealing with the “unclean”, the outsider, the ones not “God-approved.” We may say that the change they made in their attitude and teaching came, somehow, directly from God, but history has not limited such events to trances and a blinding light. It happens every time someone says, “Do not call unclean what God has made clean.”
In our own time we have seen it. Africans were seen as slaves, and not equal (unclean like a gentile) and scripture was used to prove that. I remember a man back in the early 60s, a good Christian man, who said he could share the Lord’s Supper with blacks, but not at the table in his home. Where did he get that? From his understanding of the Bible.
When did God send a sheet or a blinding light to tell significant people that this view of the unclean (blacks) was wrong? I believe such people were as inspired by God as was Peter and Paul. “Do not call unclean what God has made clean.”
In Titus 2:4 women are told to “be busy at home…” It was taught from that passage that a woman should not work outside the home or have a career, especially in fields held by men. Did it take a sheet from heaven or a blinding light to reveal that was an Ungodly view? No.
In I Cor. 7:40 Paul gives advice to widows about remarriage, and he says, “I think that I too have the Spirit of God,” relating to his advice. In the seventh chapter v25 he says he has “no command from the Lord” but says he feels his judgement is “trustworthy.” Why does he say that? Because, under the current situation (v26) he believes, it is the right thing to do.
When did Isaiah (who was under the Law) have a trance or see a blinding light when he subverted the Law of Moses concerning eunuchs? (Isaiah 56:1-8)
In II Cor. 3:6 Paul said he is a “minister of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” The “letter” is seen as referring to the Old Law. But the New Testament can be used as a “killer” when it does not include those “unclean” that God has made clean.
It is the Spirit of God that moves anyone to seek justice and mercy, regardless of a scripture that says otherwise in its historical or cultural context. Otherwise, we “quench” the Spirit of God. I Thess 5:19.
Announcements: Judy McWhorter
Ushers: Mark McRoy / Holly Wagner
Singing: 18 & 25 Del Bolin
Scripture: 18 & 25 Connie Crites
Communion: 18 & 25 Mike Branch
23- Maggie Foy 25 – Delmas Bolin
CONCERNS: Friend of Susan Jordan, Lebreska Whitaker is recovering from a bilateral mastectomy. Nick Hodges one of Holly’s CF friends had COVID, he is now worried about more damage to his lungs. Friend of Mark McRoy, Mr. Calesta Saunders is paralyzed from waist down from a spinal stroke. Susan Jordan’s parents, Kerry and Sula Hay, as Kerry is recovering from heart procedure. Angela Cavalier is still recovering from knee surgery. Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s sister Jan and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet, he is now home. Megan Downing’s aunt Stacey Smith with ongoing cancer treatments. Also pray for Megan’s grandmother Bonnie Beaver has stage 4 ovarian cancer. Megan’s grandfather Judd Beaver who has Parkinson’s. Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has serious health issues and is awaiting an oncology treatment plan. Alan Beach is doing well and is working full-time, while continuing Immunotherapy treatments at UVAthrough April, keep him and Joni in your prayers. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie health issues. Alisa Flora’s sister, Melanie Gentry, stage three cancer. Please keep the whole family in prayer.
Please pray for friends of Keith Wagner, Jo-Ellen and son Joe Griffith both are having health issues. Teryn’s Mother, Brenda Windham cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Wayne & Susan Phelgar to continue to stay safe and healthy. Pray for Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford. Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time.
ALSO REMEMBER: Martha Albert, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Tim Elder.
Hello all, I just wanted to keep you updated on some things that I am working on outside of what you see on Sundays. If you would like to join in any of these action items please reach out, I would love the help, encouragement, and most of all fellowship in this ministry.
*Men’s Tailgate – Will be on April 24th ~ Nobleman’s Tailgate at LakeSide Baptist.
*Chicken and Bibles – Thank you to all who came out to help with this event on Saturday 4/10/21. We handed out 89 bibles. We feel that this was a successful event planting God’s word out into our community.
*Movie Night – I am working through the logistics of setting up a weekly movie night for the summer in a grassy area next to fellowship hall.
SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS
Please join us for the study of “The Acts of God in the Book of Acts” at 9:30 am, in person or online with YOUTUBE.
ONLINE YOUTUBE SERMONS
We continue to provide services online. The Roanoke Church of Christ YouTube channel link is below:
Join the Zoom Meeting. We are studying Matthew. 7pm.
Meeting ID:873 6718 6931
We are planning an outside workday on Saturday May 15th from 9:00 to 12:00 to clean up around the building. Volunteers needed!!!
Susan is working with Natalie Kline from the Roanoke Rescue Mission in their Agape After Care Program to set up training. A date has not been confirmed yet. Please contact the office if you are interested in attending the training.
Cash and checks made payable to Roanoke Church of Christ can be dropped off at the office, dropped in the basket at the entry door, or checks mailed to 2606 Brandon Avenue, SW; Roanoke, VA 24015.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to pause some activities. There will be no Ronald McDonald House ministry. However, donations are still needed for care bags for those who have hospitalized family members.