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Matthew Henry's Commentary

Acts Chapter 11 

eter's defence. (1-18) The success of the gospel at Antioch. (19-24) The disciples named Christians, Relief sent to Judea. (25-30)

Verses 1-18: The imperfect state of human nature strongly appears, when godly persons are displeased even to hear that the word of God has been received, because their own system has not been attended to. And we are too apt to despair of doing good to those who yet, when tried, prove very teachable. It is the bane and damage of the church, to shut out those from it, and from the benefit of the means of grace, who are not in every thing as we are. Peter stated the whole affair. We should at all times bear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of taking offence, or answering with warmth, we should explain our motives, and show the nature of our proceedings. That preaching is certainly right, with which the Holy Ghost is given. While men are very zealous for their own regulations, they should take care that they do not withstand God; and those who love the Lord will glorify him, when made sure that he has given repentance to life to any fellow-sinners. Repentance is God's gift; not only his free grace accepts it, but his mighty grace works it in us, grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.

Verses 19-24: The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.

Verses 25-30: Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind

 


David Burnette's Life Application

Reaching the Whole World

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Acts Chapter 11. In our text today we see Peter defends his preaching to Gentiles as he tells others of the conversion of Cornelius to see them shocked that Peter would eat with Gentiles to see them later in the chapter rejoice that they came to Christ. In making application we see that we have been instructed to reach the world with the Gospel, even those we find offensive. Today we have radical Muslims and hate groups who need the Gospel just as much as our neighbor and we have been instructed to reach them too. How about you? Do you see the need to reach the whole world with the Gospel? Let us learn from our text today and the conversion of Cornelius to see that we have been instructed to reach the whole world with the Gospel, even those who we see as enemies of the faith because faith cometh by hearing and hearing from the Word of God.

 

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Acts 11

Acts 11

 1And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

 2And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

 3Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

 4But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,

 5I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:

 6Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

 7And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.

 8But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.

 9But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

 10And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.

 11And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.

 12And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:

 13And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;

 14Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

 16Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

 17Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

 18When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

 19Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

 20And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus.

 21And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

 22Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

 23Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

 24For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

 25Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

 26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

 27And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

 28And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

 29Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

 30Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.