Acts – The Gospel Advances to Unexpected Peoples
Big Idea: The Gospel is available to all people regardless of nationality, ethnicity or moral worthiness.
You Follow the example of Jesus
You acknowledge the power of Jesus
You declare salvation in Jesus Alone
God’s plan advances through imperfect people
Trust God to advance the gospel.
Devote yourself to sharing the gospel.
Devote yourself to live like Jesus.
Joppa is an important city for the purpose of God’s missional work in the world. Joppa is the city in which Peter heals Tabitha and is divinely sent to bring the gospel to non-Jews. Centuries before Peter, however, Jonah uses the city to escape a divine call to preach God’s redemption in the Assyrian city of Nineveh. The heart is at issue in both men. For Peter, his heart overflows with joy at the opportunity to preach the gospel to gentiles. This joy comes from a heart filled with love for Jesus and love for others. In contrast, Jonah feels nothing but resentment for Nineveh. Jonah’s resentment comes from a distaste for Nineveh’s people and a rejection of God’s mercy towards the city. Behind all this, however, is the individual’s attitude towards God. God creates each person in his own image. Each person is worthy of dignity, respect and love as an image bearer. Additionally, Jesus’ last command is to make disciples of all people. If your attitude towards evangelizing non-believers is indifference or refusal, then you deny their intrinsic worth as an image bearer and disobey Jesus’ final command. On one end you doubt God’s salvific decision making capabilities, on the other end you judge yourself superior.
On the cross Jesus showed you great love. Though “you were dead in your sins” (Ep. 2:1-10), rightfully condemned for your idolatry, Jesus dies for you. He adopts you into his family and crowns you with eternal life, glory and honor. Jesus dies for all those who believe in him. And if we believe that a person is unworthy of salvation, we ignore our own status. We are unworthy (we were dead in our sins) of salvation too. If we doubt God’s salvific judgement capabilities, what right do we have to believe we are saved or should be saved? By trusting in the grace of Jesus and his great love for us undeserved sinners we can bring the gospel to all people.