Grow Deep - Sent Vol 3 - Week 1
Week 1: July 21-27
Sent To Gentiles
Memory Verse: “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen.”
Sometimes the best surprises in this life are the ones we least expect; and of those surprises, the ones that prove to be a glowing part of God’s plans are the most rewarding.
Several years ago I was placed in a fast-paced job with heavy demands and little room for mistakes. My days were long, and the work demanded my constant attention. It was easy to get lost in the next assignment, and my focus was on staying engaged in the effort. Then one day, I grabbed coffee with a colleague who shared that he and his wife had decided to pursue an adoption plan, but their progress had stalled because of some negative experiences. At that moment, I felt the Spirit nudge me. I had the experience and guidance my colleague and his wife needed to re-launch their effort. Within four months, their newly adopted son was at home with them in their arms. I recognize that kind of timeline is uncommon, but I believe God’s plan had been set in motion, and I was sent at that moment, by God, to help. I praise God for that opportunity.
Recalling that time of chaos and the reason I was placed in that job at that time reminded me of a surprising job God had for Peter. In Acts Chapter 10, we learn of a righteous Roman centurion who found favor in God’s eyes. Peter is called on, when he is least expecting it, to help the centurion and to recognize that God’s ultimate rescue plan for this broken world included sending Jesus to save ALL people.
As you read Acts 10 this week, let it be done with a joyful heart. Let your praise be heard that Peter is sent to provide a clear message to the Roman centurion and to all generations that Jesus Christ is the Savior who died and was risen again to save ALL who believe.
Sunday, July 21
Read: Acts 10:1-5
An angel appeared to Cornelius in a vision. Cornelius was an officer in the Roman army, a Gentile, who was a devout and faithful man. The angel said that the Lord had taken note of the prayers of Cornelius and his acts of charity. Cornelius was instructed to send men to Joppa to find Peter.
Reflect: Despite being a Gentile, Cornelius understood that living out his faith included praying regularly and giving to those in need. How will you live out your faith today? Who will you pray for? Who could you help?
Monday, July 22
Read: Acts 10:6-11
Cornelius sent three trusted men to Joppa to find Peter as the angel had instructed him to do. When they came near to the city, Peter went up on a housetop to pray. While praying, he fell into a trance and saw heaven open up and a great sheet come down to him on earth.
Reflect: Cornelius trusted the instructions given to him by an angel and sent a team to Joppa to find Peter. How has your trust in the Lord guided you? What lessons have you learned by trusting God?
Tuesday, July 23
Read: Acts 10:12-15
Peter saw all kinds of four-footed animals and birds while in his trance. The Lord told Peter to kill something and eat it. Peter protested but God told him not to call anything "common" that God had prepared for him.
Reflect: In Peter’s trance, God uses animal imagery to clarify that His new covenant includes all mankind. What in this passage stands out to you? How do you feel knowing that you are living under the new covenant? How many alleluias can be said in a single prayer? Take time to pray now and give God your praise for His salvation.
Wednesday, July 24
Read: Acts 10:16-23
Three times the same sequence occurred in Peter’s trance. When Peter woke from the trance, three Gentile emissaries from Caesarea arrived at the gate. They told Peter why they were there, and the next day Peter left with them.
Reflect: Peter’s vision of the sheet occurs three times in his trance, and he is immediately called to meet the men looking for him. Despite the confusion, Peter remains hospitable to the Gentiles seeking his attention. How have you reacted during times of change? How have you welcomed strangers in the past? How should you welcome them in the future?
Thursday, July 25
Read: Acts 10:24-33
Peter arrived at the home of Cornelius. Cornelius had gathered together close friends and family. Peter explained who he was and asked why he had been summoned. Cornelius told him they were assembled to hear about Jesus from Peter.
Reflect: As Peter encounters Cornelius and the group that has gathered to meet him, it is clear he is cautious about departing from Jewish law. Yet, he is faithful to the Lord. Has God’s direction for you ever caused you to hesitate? Did your faithfulness and obedience lead you to greater understanding? How?
Friday, July 26
Read: Acts 10:34-41
Peter confessed that God shows no partiality and that whoever in any nation believed in Him was accepted by Him and would receive the gift of salvation.
Reflect: Peter uses the opportunity of this meeting to recount the resurrection as an eyewitness. Have you ever had the opportunity to share the message of Jesus with someone seeking Him? How are you prepared to share the Good News?
Saturday, July 27
Read: Acts 10:42-48
Peter preached to all who were there, and while he was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening. Those who came with Peter were astonished that the Holy Spirit was poured out onto Gentiles. Those who heard the message were baptized.
Reflect: Those in attendance are blessed with gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Peter quickly recognizes the need to baptize those believers in the name of Jesus Christ. This is a joyous event as Peter realizes everyone has been saved. How does this realization make you feel about your own salvation and baptism? Give thanks to the Lord for He is good!