“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”
Acts 10:44-48 NKJV
God is always working, always moving on the wayward hearts of those that He will someday save. I remember years ago, telling a woman I worked with about Jesus. I was in bible college at the time, and was working overnight at a local group home for disabled adults.
We had happened upon the conversation due to an accident that had occurred on the freeway a few days earlier. A gentleman that I knew had been driving home at night on the freeway, and a speeding truck had aggressively swerved to cut him off. The driver of the truck lost control and flipped, catapulting the young woman passenger headlong into a large tree, killing her instantly. As I spoke of my friend, my coworker began to cry. The young woman that was killed was a friend of hers.
God had orchestrated the unlikeliest of meetings, at a group home in the middle of the night. I went into Gospel mode, sharing the “roman road.” Before I could even get to Romans 6:23, she chimed in. “Can I just become a Christian right now?” I had the glorious opportunity to introduce her to Jesus.
I learned at that moment, that the Lord is always working, always preparing hearts. He is like a divine background refresh, constantly scanning the world looking for souls, and taking all the seeds that we have faithfully planted, brings some to sprouting.
Reading Acts chapter ten, I can imagine the moment when Peter was interrupted. He had begun a great sermon, one of the greatest in the Bible, and He was on a roll. Then the Holy Spirit moved, as if grinding the needle across a record.
In these increasing perilous days, it is easy to think that there are no more hearts waiting to hear the Good News, that we are wasting our time in going out to share Jesus. Whether we are aware or not, the Lord is doing His work.
I remember when I came to Christ, my late Aunt Katharine declared that she as shocked that I had come to Jesus. She thought I was the least likely to come to the Lord. She could only see the outside, the surface details, and not the work being done on my inward parts.
We are in a time of being divided into enemy camps, when people have been separated to the degree that there is no longer a middle ground. When I think of Peter in that moment, a Jewish man, standing in the home of a gentile, a Roman officer no less, and presenting the message of the Gospel with faithfulness and power.
Peter did not have authority over who the message was to go to, but the Lord was the One who chose. God can save whomever He wants, but we must be faithful to bring the message. Like Peter, the Lord prepares us for the ministry He has commissioned us to complete. He takes our fleshly hearts and inscribes His name upon it, takes our dead spirit, and replaces it with His Holy Spirit. We are no longer our own.
Brothers and sisters, let us be mindful that the Lord is working in the background, that He is working even in the hearts of those we look at as being in opposition. I think of Jonah, sent to Nineveh to bring the Gospel message of repentance. He did not want to go, for he hated them, as they had caused great harm to his people.
In the end, Jonah obeyed, and just as he expected, whole of the city repented with sackcloth and ashes.
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.”
Jonah 4:1-2 NKJV
Let us search our hearts, calling upon the Lord to give us a burden for the lost, all of the lost. There are many of us, those of us who have allowed our hearts to grow cold due to the divisive nature of politics, who have become comfortable with the idea of “some people” going to hell. Let us ask the Lord to remind us our first love, of that moment when we moved from enemies to the beloved, from sinner to saint.
Each of us had a moment when someone cared enough to pray for us, to share with us, and planted the seeds that the Lord watered. Regardless of how bad things may seem, the Lord is working, whether we know it or not.
Let us never be so quick as to write people off as too far gone to be saved. Until that sinner takes their last breath, there is hope. I have many people on my prayer list for which I am asking for salvation. I have many who have become lukewarm, that I praying become superheated, and quickened, as the time is short.
I also pray for myself, and ask others to pray that I never lose my first love, or my boldness to speak.
“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Ephesians 6:19-20 NKJV
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