The Turning Point
This was the dawning of a new revelation to the apostles and brethren. Verse 18 is a turning point in Church history. Here the hearts of the Church fathers were changed. Finally they had come to realize that God had accepted all men, whether circumcised or not. God's acceptance of the Gentiles was evidenced by the fact that He had given them the Holy Spirit, just as He had the 120 on the day of Pentecost. Moreover, these Gentiles were not circumcised or observing any of the Jewish rituals. From this point onward, the Gospel fire began to spread with fervor throughout the world. In addition to this, Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, was beginning to emerge from obscurity. Also, the church of Antioch which was
destined to become the Gentile mission base, was rising to prominence.
Let's review what has happened in chapters ten and eleven:
• The Gospel was being preached only to the Jewish world and to Gentile proselytes (cf. 11:19).
• The Jews would not associate with Gentiles or eat with them (10:28, 11:2-3).
• There were many walls in their minds (prejudice, traditions, pride) that hindered them.
• The apostles and brethren believed that a person had to be circumcised and Judaized to be saved.
• Peter's vision showed that God had cleansed what formerly had been “common and unclean.”
• Peter and his six brethren were “astonished” when God gave the Spirit to the uncircumcised.
• God clearly revealed that he had unreservedly accepted the uncircumcised Gentiles.
• When the brethren in Jerusalem heard this they said, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” To them, it was a new revelation.
• The Great Commission to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk.16:15); to teach all nations [every ethnic group] (Mt. 28:19-20) was finally being understood. Even though Christ had given them this charge ten years earlier, now they were hearing it with an illumined heart and mind.
• Now the Gospel fire was going to spread with rapidity.
• Peter could not strengthen his [Gentile] brethren until he had a new conversion in his soul.
• Our whole attitude toward people and toward life itself is changed when our minds are change
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