Verse of the Day

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pastor's Sermon Notes: Remember What the Lord has Done (Acts 11:1-18)

Remember What the Lord has Done
Acts 11:1-18

1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, 5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: 6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. 12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house: 13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.


Review Acts 10


I.  Remember the Word of the Lord (11:16) - The Gift of the Word
II.  Remember to Submit to God (11:17) - The Gift of the Spirit
III.  Remember to Give God the Glory (11:18) - The Gift of Repentance

I.  Remember the Word of the Lord (11:16) - The Gift of the Word

Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

1.  This was a post-Ascension statement by Christ:

Ac. 1:5 - For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

2.  This has been prophesied by John the Baptist:

Mt. 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Synoptic parallels: Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; see also Jn. 1:19-36)

Jn. 1:33 - And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

3.  One “Pentecost” remains during which the baptism of John the Baptist and that of Christ are again contrasted:

Ac. 19:2-4 - 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

4.  One Old Testament prophecy that may be alluded to in the reference to the baptism by Christ with the Holy Spirit in the fulfillment of the New Covenant is:

Is. 44:1-3 - 1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

Another is certainly Ezekiel 36:26-27 - 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

II.  Remember to Submit to God (11:17) - The Gift of the Spirit

 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

1.  This is a recounting of what transpired in Cornelius’ house as recorded in Acts 10:

Ac. 10:43, 45, 47 - 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins….45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost….47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

“who believed. or, when we believed. The participle rendered “when (we) believed” refers alike to “them” and to “us” (Thomas Walker). Notice it does not say that the Spirit was conferred upon their being circumcised, the point of the controversy, but upon their faith, that spiritual gifts were received. It is at the point of faith, not circumcision or ritual water baptism, that a person is saved and receives the Holy Spirit. There is no basis in Scripture to teach that the Holy Spirit gives his gifts to an unsaved individual at the point of his placing faith in Christ, but that the individual is not truly saved until after he has received water baptism. This is the point to the debate question, Do you baptize an alien sinner (an as yet unsaved person), or a saved person? The command of our Lord is to make disciples first, then baptize them (Mt +*28:19). Nowhere in Scripture are we authorized to baptize unsaved individuals in order to save them; they are baptized as a public confession to the fact that they have been saved. In this sense the Bible teaches believer’s baptism, not unbeliever’s baptism, as well expressed by P. W. Grant’s title, Christian Baptism the Baptism of Christians. The Spirit is conferred upon Jew or Gentile alike upon their faith in Christ.”[1]

2.  This will be reviewed and amplified in the near future once again by Peter to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem:

Ac. 15:8-9 - 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

3.  The reference by Peter to “the like gift as he did unto us” hearkens back to the Jerusalem or Jewish Pentecost in Acts 2 where they were commanded by Peter:

Ac. 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

4.  In this case with the Gentile Pentecost it is part of the fulfillment of one of the promises given by God in the Abrahamic Covenant:

Gen. 12:3 - And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

This is explicitly connected by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians:

Gal. 3:8 - And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Paul also expounds the significance of this blessing in his Epistle to the Ephesians:

Eph. 1:12-14 - 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

5.  The notion of “withstanding God”, or the removal of hindrances to baptism are also reminiscent of two previous passages in Acts:

Ac. 5:38-39 - 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Gamaliel to the council, vs. 34)

Ac. 8:36 - And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

11:17–18 Peter concluded his report in Jerusalem by reminding his hearers once again that God gave the gift of the Spirit to the Gentiles and added, “Who was I to think that I could oppose God?” Once again he used the verb kōlyō in expressing the idea of opposition to God, just as he employed the same verb in 10:47 to question whether anyone could oppose the baptism of the Gentiles. Opposition to the Gentiles’ baptism would be opposition to God, for God’s leading of Peter and of Cornelius proved beyond doubt his intention to include them in his people. There really was not much the “circumcision group” could say now. God was clearly in it. Who could object? Silence quickly gave way to praise of God in his triumphant advance of the gospel. God had granted “repentance unto life” to the Gentiles.”[2]

III.  Remember to Give God the Glory (11:18) - The Gift of Repentance

 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

1.  they held their peace

This stands in contrast to verses 1-3 where they confronted Peter with his actions and contended with him.

Is. 42:1, 6 - 1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment….6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.

2.  and glorified God

Mt. 9:8 - But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Ac. 21:20 - And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

3.  Then hath God also to the Gentiles

Is. 49:6 - And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

[Lk. 2:32 - A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.]

Mt. 8:11 - And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

Jn. 11:52 - And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Ac. 10:34-35 - 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Rom. 10:12-13 - 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This reality is celebrated by the Apostle Paul elsewhere in his Epistle to the Romans:

Rom. 15:7-13, 16 - 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost….16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Ac. 13:42-48 - 42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

4.  granted repentance unto life

God grants repentance - none can or will repent of their sins without being granted this gift of God!

Lk. 3:8 - Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Ac. 5:31 - Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

2 Tim. 2:25 - In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Repentance is a Gospel command!

Ac. 20:21 - Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ac. 26:20 - But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Repentance is fully expounded in the great “Repentance Chapter” of the Bible, 2 Corinthians 7:

2 Cor. 7:7-11 - 7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. 8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

The purpose for which God grants His people the gifts of faith and repentance is to display that we are His workmanship in our good works for which we were created by God in Christ!

Eph. 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


I.  Remember the Word of the Lord (11:16) - The Gift of the Word

II.  Remember to Submit to God (11:17) - The Gift of the Spirit

III.  Remember to Give God the Glory (11:18) - The Gift of Repentance

[Sermon preached 9 MAR 2014 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]


G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, eds., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), pp. 513-606.

Darrell L. Bock, Acts, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Robert W. Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007).
F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1951, 1952).

I. Howard Marshall, Acts: An Introduction And Commentary, Vol. 5 in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, gen. ed. Leon Morris (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980; 2008 reprint).

David G. Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, The Pillar New Testament Commentaries, gen. ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009).

John B. Polhill, Acts, Vol. 26 in The New American Commentary, gen. ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, Publishers, 1992).

Eckhard J. Schnabel, Acts, Vol. 5 in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, gen. ed. Clinton E. Arnold (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012).

William H. Willimon, Acts, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, series ed. James Luther Mays, New Testament ed. Paul J. Achtemeier (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010).

[1] Smith, J. H. (1992). The new treasury of scripture knowledge: The most complete listing of cross references available anywhere- every verse, every theme, every important word (1257–1258). Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson.
[2] Polhill, J. B. (1995). Vol. 26: Acts. The New American Commentary (267–268). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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