One of the purposes we focus on in our church is “Growing people to be like Jesus.” This statement indicates the process of change we all go through no matter how long we have been a Christian. Our goal is to be like Jesus.
What helps with this process of change is an openness to revelation. Without revelation there is no catalyst for change.
Revelation is defined in this way: “In various ways and at different times God makes a supernatural revelation of himself and His purposes and plans, which is under the guidance of His Spirit.”
Revelation is not confined to the events in Scripture as we still today receive revelation from God through His Spirit. All revelation changes our hearts and minds so we can know more about God, His plan and step into change with confidence that God is beside us.
The proverb mentions what happens when there is no revelation:
“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” Proverbs 29:18
This thought of “people cast off restraint” means they literally do their own thing which usually can be unwise things.
The Bible also tells us that revelation speaks of the end:
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3
Revelation reveals things to us at an appointed time. This isn’t always an instant process as God reveals revelation to us with the purpose of the preferable future. So when we do receive revelation it will tell of the end, but wait for it as God will bring its fulfilment in His time.
The Apostle Peter had such a revelation that God used to help him see the bigger picture of His plan for the world. Peter was faithful to the establishment of the early church—He was committed to preaching Jesus to the Jewish people bringing them to a place of repentance and life change.
These people who once persecuted Jesus and the church—now are followers of Jesus. God’s plan extended further than just one group of people to experience the life changing nature of His love.
For Peter to grasp this change of heart and thinking that his ministry is to reach beyond his own people—a revelation was needed and that is what he got.
In Acts 10, Peter was in Joppa staying in the home of Simon the tanner. During his stay while hungry he fell into a trance and saw a vision of a large sheet coming down from heaven. On this sheet was all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds that were forbidden to touch or eat. In this vision there was a voice that said “Peter, kill and eat”. Peter replied “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke again “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Three times this happened and then the sheet went back to heaven.
This left Peter confused and wondering what it all meant, as revelation can do as we wait for the appointed time. Cornelius, a centurion also had a vision that requested Peter to come to him and he sent men to bring Peter to him which God also told Peter about.
When Peter arrived to Cornelius’ home and being directed by the Holy Spirit the revelation become clear that God was about to do a new thing and showed Peter that every person is loved by God and accepted in His Kingdom.
In Cornelius’ home this is what happened:
“So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Acts 10:34-35
From Peter’s revelation we too can receive revelation on how we are to present Jesus to people we are called to reach out.
1. Being a nice person is not enough.
The verse says that “Peter opened his mouth and said.” If we are going to make an impact for the Kingdom of God, just being a nice person is not enough—we need to tell people why they need Jesus.
Peter says it in this way:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Be prepared to give an answer. Preparation is key to helping people understand why they need Jesus. Spend a lot of time preparing your testimony and learning the Scriptures, so you can have confidence telling people about how amazing Jesus is.
2. If God shows no partiality nor should I.
It is so easy to only talk or spend any time with people who are similar to you or have an appearance that may not make you uncomfortable. Without us really knowing it, but we have the potential to decide who we should share with and not.
God loves everyone and if we are going to be more like Jesus we need to do the same. We might just need to work on the feeling of being uncomfortable so more people can have the opportunity to receive Jesus.
3. God loves everyone—but not everyone is acceptable to God.
Peter was very clear about this revelation saying: “…but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” The trouble we have of sharing our faith to someone else is the thought of how it will be received.
God loves everyone, but if they don’t love Him and do what is right, God cannot receive them. People will be judged at the end and God decides who is accepted or rejected. But God’s heart is that everyone will change and be accepted by Him.
This is what we must do with the revelation of taking the Gospel to everyone:
To share the Gospel to everyone who will listen. Doing this with boldness and unashamed.
To show no partiality to anyone. God’s loves people and so should we regardless or who they are, what age they may be and what they have done.
To not give up as there is hope for everyone to be included in the Kingdom of God. We should be committed the way God is committed to everyone “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Let’s be prepared for change and be uncomfortable because there are still too many people around the world who need Jesus. We can’t save everyone, but we can help in the mission to see all people receiving Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.