Weekend Bible Study
Theme of the week: Racial Unity: It's Worth the Effort
Saturday, January 26, 2013
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Peter is convinced he has to keep his distance from the unclean, unholy Gentiles. They're an inferior race, unworthy of the blessings of God. Then he has a supernatural vision straight from God, and his ideas about race and culture are blown to pieces. So much so that he declares, "I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right."
Key Study Passage:
How do verses 28-29 demonstrate the impact of the vision on Peter?
Compare verses 39-48 with Acts 2:14-41. What similarities do you see between the two passages? (See also Acts 11:15-17.)
Why are verses 33-48 so significant to the growth and development of the early church? What do these verses tell us about the unity of believers? (See also 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:26-29; Eph. 2:14-18.)
What does the Key Study Passage say about any feelings of superiority, favoritism, or prejudice you might be harboring? How might God want you to respond to this passage?
Spend Time in Prayer: Pray for a "Cornelius" in your own life—an acquaintance, neighbor, or coworker from a different race, culture, or socioeconomic background; ask God to show how you might best demonstrate his love for this person.
Cornelius Calls for Peter
10 In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. 2 He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. 3 One afternoon about three o'clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. "Cornelius!" the angel said.
4 Cornelius stared at him in terror. "What is it, sir?" he asked the angel.
And the angel replied, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! 5 Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore."
7 As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. 8 He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
Peter Visits Cornelius
9 The next day as Cornelius's messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, 10 and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. 12 In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. 13 Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat them."
Prayer for the Week
Dear Heavenly Father, open my eyes to areas of racial and cultural insensitivity in my life; show me what steps I need to take to model racial reconciliation and unity in my church and community.
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