The Holy Spirit's Unifying Ministry
Other Jewish believers learned what had happened at the home of Cornelius and they were not happy with what had taken place. So, when they met with Peter, they began to question him on that event, as we can read in Acts 11:1-3 The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticised him and said , “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Peter then told them about the vision the Lord had given him, and how God had used that vision to help him understand that he was to go to the home of a Gentile and preach the gospel to him, and those with him, as we can read in Acts 11:4-14
Peter began and explained everything to him precisely as it had happened. “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. I looked into it and saw four footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. Then I heard a voice telling me, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat.” I replied, “Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” The voice spoke from heaven a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he has seen an angel appear in his house and say, “Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.”
Peter also explained that the Holy Spirit had come on the people in that home in the same way that He had come on them, as we can read in Acts 11:15-16
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as He had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: "John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."
Peter’s recollection of events of that day helped the Jewish believers to understand that God loved these Gentiles as much as He loved them, and they praised God for it.
Believers continued to share the gospel with other Jews in places such as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, but some of the believers began to share the gospel with Gentiles in Antioch, as we can read in Acts 11:20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
So the believers in Jerusalem sent a man named Barnabas to Antioch to make sure that the work was blessed of the Lord, as we can read in Acts 11:22
News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
Barnabas was very encouraged by what he saw happening in Antioch, as we can read in Acts 11:23
When he arrived and saw the evidence of he grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord, with all their hearts.
The Holy Spirit made the church aware of future issues so that she could prepare for it in advance, as we can read in Acts 11:28-30
One of them, named Agabus, stood up, and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, each according to his own ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
So we can clearly see how the Holy Spirit was leading the believers on an individual basis, as well as leading the church corporately in various ways.
1. What was the response of the Jewish believers to Peter’s visit to the home of Cornelius in Caesarea?
2. According to Acts 11:3, why did the circumcised believers criticise Peter about his visit to the house of Cornelius in Caesarea?
3. What did Peter tell the circumcised believers?
4. How had God used that vision in Peter’s life?
5a. According to Acts 11:4-14, how did Peter begin to help the circumcised believers why had he done so?
5b. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter give exact details of his vision?
5c. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter share with the circumcised believers what he had heard a voice say to him?
5d. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter share with the circumcised believers what his answer was?
5e. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter share with the circumcised believers that the voice from heaven spoke to him a second time?
5f. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter tell the circumcised believers how many times he had seen the vision?
5g. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter tell the circumcised believers how many men stopped at the house where he was staying?
5h. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter tell the circumcised believers where these three men had come from?
5i. According to Acts 11:4-14, what did Peter say to the circumcised believers the Holy Spirit told him to do?
5j. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter tell the circumcised believers how many brothers came with him to Cornelius house in Caesarea?
5k. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter tell the circumcised believers that the man named Cornelius had seen an angel in his house in Caesarea?
5l. According to Acts 11:4-14, did Peter tell the circumcised believers what the angel had said to Cornelius, the man whose house Peter had entered?
6a. According to Acts 11:15-16, what did Peter tell the circumcised believers had happened to those in Cornelius’ home in Caesarea after he had preached to them?
6b. According to Acts 11:15-16, what did Peter tell the circumcised believers he had remembered after he had seen the Holy Spirit come on the people in Cornelius’ home in Caesarea?
7. What was the reaction of the circumcised believers after they heard Peter share with them about the events at Cornelius’ home in Caesarea?
8. Which cities did believers go to share the gospel with other Jews?
9. Which city did believers go to share the gospel with Greeks or Gentiles as well?
10. According to Acts 11:20, who went to Antioch to tell the good news about the Lord Jesus to Greek or Gentile people?
11a. According to Acts 11:22, who had heard that Greeks or Gentiles in Antioch had heard the good news about the Lord Jesus?
11b. According to Acts 11:22, who did the church at Jerusalem send to Antioch?
12. According to Acts 11:23, was Barnabas glad with what had happened in Antioch?
13a. According to Acts 11:28-30, who did the Holy Spirit use to give a word of warning about an event that would take place?
13b. According to Acts 11:28-30, what event did the prophet Agabus predict?
13c. According to Acts 11:28-30, how did the believers respond to the message of the prophet Agabus?
14. Who was leading believers on an individual basis as well as leading the church corporately?