Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of July 6, 2008

Acts 10:33
“So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”

All of us have an independent streak in us. The independent streak found in those who founded this country led to our independence. We didn’t like having to do England’s will as a nation. We often don’t like being told what to do and how to do it as individuals, particularly in areas where we think we are experts. Some of us take instructions when we need them but many of us don’t. When we do get instructions that make sense they don’t make sense to us if they disagree with our preconceived notions. Generally we don’t want to be confused with the facts, because our minds are made up.

It is one thing when we don’t listen to other people, but it is another thing when we don’t listen to God. When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he told her she could be as God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). When it comes to the spiritual affairs of life, many of us still think that we know what is right even when what we believe doesn’t make sense.

Many people think that there are many paths leading to God and that He is known by many names in different cultures. Each god wants something different from those who worship him. So how could all these gods exist when they don’t agree or is there a God over the gods that we haven’t been told about?

In general people who believe in the Christian God think that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. The problem with this thinking is that most of us know we are not good. We may be better than others, but we don’t live up to our own standards, let alone living up to the standards of God.

Other people think that God will honor whatever they believe as long as they sincerely believe it. The problem with this thinking is that it assumes that our believing makes things true. However, things that are true are true whether we believe they are true or not.

The Roman centurion in Acts 10 had been seeking for God and had been tying to please Him for a long time. He gave alms and he prayed and he likely was convinced that the Jewish Jehovah was the only living and true God. But while he had the right attitude, he didn’t have all of the truth. God waited until the time was right and then sent Peter to him to explain that the way to God was through faith in Christ. The time was right when the Centurion was ready to listen to what God had to say through Peter. Instead of telling God what was right, he was willing to let God tell Him. The message he heard was, “whoever believes in Him (the Lord Jesus) will receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).” The Centurion received forgiveness that day and was saved (see Acts 11:14) as was his household since they were all open to the message that they heard.

But after we are saved, we may still have trouble listening. Instead of looking for a church where God is comfortable, we look for one where we are comfortable. Sometimes we end up inside the church and He ends up on the outside (Revelation 3:20). Instead of accepting the fact that God has moral standards that are different from society’s standards, we begin to live like the world around us instead of as a people set apart for the Lord. We often try to win people to Christ by trying to be like them instead of offering them the alternative of a new life in Christ.

Life would be a lot less confusing and we would be a great deal happier if we not only heard everything that God commanded us, but if we would prove that we have heard by submitting to what He says. That is what the Centurion did when he submitted to Peter’s message to believe the Gospel and his command to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

Bruce Collins

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