totally off the top of my head, just for the sake of writing it down when it’s fresh in my mind. if anyone else gets something of value out of this, that would be an added bonus.
Tonight’s sermon was based on Acts 11 (the whole chapter).
there was plenty in there. I’m just noting a couple of points:
1. Peter was faced with a situation where God was telling him to do something that went totally against his upbringing. It can be a challenge when God is doing stuff that is new to us, unfamiliar, extremely different from what we’re used to. We must evaluate each case on its own, weigh it up – Peter had very clear guidance from God about it, and that’s what we need when it’s such a big thing, we need a way of knowing for certain that it really is from God. (Obviously if it contradicts Scripture then it can’t be from God, because he won’t contradict himself. But sometimes we might have a wrong understanding of what Scripture says about something.)
2. Encouragement – Barnabas encouraged the believers in Antioch to remain true to the Lord. The preacher spoke about the importance of encouraging one another, which I agree with, but I felt he then slid away from what encouragement means – the examples he gave were all of praising people, giving them a pat on the back for stuff they’ve done well, that sort of thing. That’s just one type of encouragement, and it’s not the type I’m seeing in that verse about Barnabas in Antioch – he was encouraging them to persevere: sometimes encouragement is not so much pats on the back as gentle kicks in the behind. Encouragement isn’t always about saying “well done”, sometimes it’s about saying: come on, you can do better than that!
Like I said, these are totally rough notes and not an attempt to present anything particularly coherent.