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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: October 31st
“Through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
Acts 11:1-4 , Acts 11:18-30
Peter had baptized the Gentile household of Cornelius, and so novel an action could not pass unnoticed: the report soon reached the apostles at Jerusalem, and Peter was called upon to explain; he did so, and all were satisfied, and rejoiced in what the Lord had done.
It would seem that a number of Jewish Christians attached an undue importance to circumcision, and made a kind of party in the church. The Holy Spirit does not conceal the faults and mistakes of good men; no histories and biographies are so impartial as those written by inspiration. Peter was no pope, for the common disciples called him to account; but he did not become angry, or claim to be infallible.
See here a beautiful example of humility and patience. Peter had been directed by the Lord in what he did, and the act itself was most commendable, yet he rose and defended his conduct without anger, in a calm, loving manner, and not only exonerated himself, but won over those who had differed from him. So that we read
Would to God that all differences would end so sweetly. Probably they would, if all who are accused would defend themselves in as kindly a spirit as Peter did.
Getting into a new field they reaped large harvests. What a time it needed to teach these good men that Gentiles might be saved, and yet their Lord had told them expressly to preach the gospel to every creature.
This made him rejoice in the good which others had received, and also made him a fit medium for conveying good to many.
Acts 11:25 , Acts 11:26
They were named not after the word Jesus, for we cannot be joint saviours with him, but after Christ, the Anointed, for we also are anointed with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 11:29 , Acts 11:30
They not only wore the Christian name, but performed Christian actions: this act of true fellowship is one of the most beautiful things recorded in the Acts. The Jerusalem church sent a great teacher to Antioch, and the Antioch church, in return, showed its love by supplying the needs of their Judæan brethren. A munificent collection for a country suffering from famine would not astonish us now; but from men newly converted, while Christian love was yet a novelty, it was truly admirable. Let us be always ready to succour the Lord’s poor.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Acts 12:1 , Acts 12:2
Herod the king the grandson of Herod the Great
Acts 12:1 , Acts 12:2
Troubles seldom come alone; first the famine, then persecution; the church can endure all things.
intending after Easter or rather after the Passover
What a blessed “but”! Constant guards were baffled by constant prayer. Some would have said, “what can prayer do?” but the early church was not afflicted with such scepticism; they prayed on, and Herod was foiled.
The Lord’s deliverances are complete ones; Peter must not leave a shoe or a garment in prison, he is to come out with all that he took in.
He knew where the brethren prayed, and expected to find them there, and so he did. If he were to come now would he find church members at prayer-meetings? Alas, many of them never go to what they wickedly call “only a prayer-meeting.”
Acts 12:13 , Acts 12:14
named Rhoda or Rose
If God wishes to surprise his people he has only to answer their prayer’s, such is their unbelief.
And he said, Go show these things unto James the Lord’s brother
This is a notable instance of the power of supplication, and those who will but try it will find prayer to be as mighty as ever.
Wrestling prayer can wonders do,
Bring relief in deepest straits,
Prayer can force a passage through
Iron bars and brazen gates.
For the wonders God has wrought,
Let us now our praises give:
And, by sweet experience taught,
Call upon him while we live.
the Sixth Week after Easter
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