A boundary Breaking God
• We have these 2 stories with two men who are earnestly seeking out to come to know and follow God the best way that they know how.
o Cornelius—God tells him to go and find this man in Joppa
o Peter is praying and has a vision of the unclean food. (but it was more than just that)
• Barrier #1: Cornelius would have thought to have a hard heart to God’s word, but there was something that captivated him and apparently other Romans (Gentiles) because it would seem that there are a number of God-fearing gentiles.
• Barrier #2: Peter is a man who wants to be faithful and had been trusted to carry on the history and tradition of the church while telling others of this God news. He is in a very sticky situation because he is brushing shoulders with Gentiles and does not know how to treat them. God gives this vision.
o One of the most powerful scriptures comes from this “What God has made clean you must not call profane” v15
• The two finally meet and it must have been more awkward than a middle school dance at the beginning and then their visions were confirmed when the other has a similar story.
• Ramifications: (Not the first time God Has been a boundary breaker Joshua)
o God is a God over all of creation. God’s reach of grace is not limited to a place or particular people.
o God is mighty, but chooses to flex the authority in very unexpected ways. This seem to always catch us off guard.
o God extends the Kingdom to all people and places and this is an individual act not just a corporate endeavor.
? Peter says with a prophetic introduction, “I now realize God accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” V.34
We are called to be Boundary breakers as well
• What God has made clean you must not call profane.
o What are some of the people or groups who are often looked upon as outsiders?
? (civil rights movement, immigration, homosexuality, prostitution, homeless, special needs)
• When we are confronted with these kinds of people we have a decision to make. Are we going to be boundary breakers or boundary makers?
• Sometimes as people who are being boundry breakers we need to engage the heart of the people that we are connecting with. Most of the time people will not be willing to open their minds unless we engage their hearts on a primal level.
o Our mission teams know this. ASP is leaving to engage people they don’t know for the glory to God and the first statement that they are making is that they care enough to give of their time, talents and know how to make sure these people are safe and warm.
• As people of God we have been given a great privilege and it is our choice about what to do with that gift. The privilege that we have been given is a future and a hope through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus which brings us back into right relationship with God.
o But we can’t rejoice as others stand in the cold looking in at us. We need to use this privilege to invite others into the privilege as well.
? This is unlike the Gnostic who thought that the messianic secret was something that they had and were to horde for themselves.
• So what..How can we be every day boundary breakers. After all we most likely will not have a vision of food and people coming to see us from a far away land just to hear about our faith. Right?
o How can we break boundaries with the people across the world, in our workplace, in our community and in our house?
• Learn to speak their love language
o So important. I know that Katie and I had a long time to come to know that about one another.
o Still when things get hectic and chaotic we go back to our default modes. Katie—Gifts, Eden—Physical, Chris—Acts of service.
• Here they are (Dr. Gary Chapman)
o Words of Affirmation–Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
o Quality Time—In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
o Receiving Gifts–Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
o Acts of Service–Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
o Physical Touch–This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
• As we break barriers we have to be sure that we are talking the same language as those who are looking from the outside in.
o We have to be speaking the language of their hearts.
• We are not only called to love God through God glory for the grace we have been extended, but we are called to invite others into the privilege that god extends to the whole world .
A boundary Breaking God