12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 “ ‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’
19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
God is fulfilling what He promised years ago. He is not just the god of Israel, but the one and only god of the whole universe.
James comes to the conclusion, with Peter and the rest, that God really does want to save everyone that will believe in Him, even Gentiles. Even people who have sinned.
The work of Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles isn’t a new thing for God, because He was already reaching out through creation. This is a new thing for the Jewish people. This is a new discovery for these people that were raised to believe that they were the only ones that were going to be in Heaven.
The fact that God was saving Gentiles is a really big deal. Think of whatever group or type of person you think is hopeless. I mean they are lost. I mean, it’s a sad thing, but there is no way you could ever imagine them being united with Christ for eternity.
That’s what it was like for James and Peter and the rest to realize that God was saving the Gentiles. It was unbelievable.
Let this motivate our prayer today and give us encouragement. If God so loved all of those ‘god-forsaken’ people, then how much does He love me!? Am I included in the people that were hopeless but then saved by God? You bet I am!
And so are you. And so it that guy over there. And that lady that always says that stuff on Facebook. God loves them dearly and it reaching out to them and us, even today.
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