By Sharon Elliott
In Acts 10, we read of two men whose worlds were about to intersect. Cornelius was a God-fearing Gentile, a really nice guy, but also a centurion, a leader of the Italian Regiment who was in Caesarea to control it for the Roman empire. Peter was a Jew, a Christ-follower, and the head of the Jerusalem church, the group of new believers just after the resurrection.
Both Cornelius and Peter saw visions. An angel appeared to Cornelius and told him to find a guy named Peter, send for him, and listen to what he has to say. Cornelius obeyed immediately. Peter saw a vision of a sheet filled with “…all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air” (Acts 10:12 NKJ). The Lord’s voice said, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Acts 10:13), but Peter refused saying he’d never eaten anything common or unclean. This vision repeated to Peter three times, each time with the Lord’s response, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (Acts 10:15). The passage then takes up the story:
Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you. "Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them." Acts 10:17-20 (NKJ)
Thanks to these men acting on these two visions, the mission of the Church was advanced. Cornelius’ faith was made complete when Peter preached Jesus to him. Cornelius was baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and his whole household was saved. Peter’s vision helped him understand that salvation was for the Gentiles also (who were considered unclean by Jews in those days).
Acting on vision is still important. Maintaining a God-consciousness allows God to communicate clearly what He wants to happen. When reading the Bible or listening to a sermon, keep the heart attitude that asks, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” The vision may start as a prick in your heart, something that causes you to raise an eyebrow and say, “Wow.” Go with that. Move in the light of that vision and don’t allow it to dim.
When God gives you a vision, it is specific and individual. Although it’s expressly for you, it is also intertwined with His bigger picture. Your job is to obey the vision you’ve received just like mine is to obey the one He’s sent to me. Then, as with Cornelius and Peter, when our worlds intersect, the mission of the Church will be advanced, God receiving the ultimate glory. Only by obediently acting upon the individual vision God gives us will we be operating in harmony with His bigger plan. We’ll then be pleasantly surprised and awed as we witness mighty moves of God’s hand, and amazingly humbled to realize He’s used us to accomplish His work.
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Live a life that matters! That's Sharon's encouragement to all her readers. Find her blog, books, and contact information through her website at www.SharonNorrisElliott.com.
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