Introduction: “Peter and the Gentiles” sounds like it might be a
singing group! Peter brought a sound alright, but it was the sound of
the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter, under the direction of the Holy
Spirit, broke through barriers of race and religion to expand the
work of God. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we
can learn from Peter’s evangelistic work that will guide us in our
missionary efforts today!

  1. Pentecost

    1. Two weeks ago we read Acts 1:6, which revealed that the
      disciples had not yet accurately grasped the gospel
      message. At the time we discussed what turned this
      situation around. Let’s read Acts 2:1-4. What has
      arrived? (The Holy Spirit!)

      1. How do we know it? (Sound, fire, and tongues.)

    2. Read Acts 2:5. Tell me about the audience?(The audience is
      a group who fear God and who come “from every nation.”)

      1. Why were they in Jerusalem? (Short history: Part of
        God’s pressure on Pharaoh to release His people from
        slavery in Egypt was the plague of death for the
        first born male. However, God protected His own
        people from this death. The celebration of this
        protection is “Passover” ( Exodus 12:3-14). Fifty
        days (“seven weeks”) after Passover, the Jews were to
        celebrate the “Feast of Weeks” ( 2 Chronicles 8:13;
        Leviticus 23:4-16). This feast was also called
        “Pentecost” because of the fifty day period.
        Commentaries add that Pentecost was celebrated in
        part because God gave His law on Mount Sinai fifty
        days after Passover. The people were in Jerusalem for
        the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost.)

    3. Read Acts 2:6-12. What missionary tips can we find in what
      we have studied so far? (People who are open to God’s word
      are a good place to start our missionary efforts. The Holy
      Spirit provides tools for effective witnessing.)

    4. Read Acts 2:13-15. How does Peter start his witnessing
      defense? (With logic! It is too early in the morning to be

      1. What appeal to logic might you have added? (How do
        you think the sound and fire got here? Is that
        because of drinking?)

    5. Read Acts 2:16-18. What is Peter’s next tactic for
      witnessing? (Recall that these are “God-fearing” people?
      Peter presents a practical argument, but then he
      immediately switches to quoting the Bible. He takes the
      events they see and lines them up with the Scripture they

      1. What do you think about that missionary approach?

        1. How would you do this today?

    6. We have discussed how we should use common sense (Matthew
      10:16)in our missionary efforts. What are the shrewd,
      common sense tactics of the Holy Spirit in this event with
      Peter? (Godly visitors from many places are in town. The
      Holy Spirit gets their attention, and Peter explains the
      gospel. This allows the gospel to be carried back to the
      visitors’ countries.)

      1. How would you apply this strategy today? (Consider
        the Internet. People who care about God may be
        looking for something on the Internet. The Internet
        reaches out to every nation.)

    7. We are going to skip over the main message presented by
      Peter. Let’s read Acts 2:36-37. How did the people react
      to Peter’s message? (They were convicted of the truth of
      what he said.)

      1. How can we replicate that today? (We have to use
        common sense in bringing a message that calls for
        action. However, conviction is the work of the Holy

    8. Read Acts 2:38-39. How many times do you hear a call to
      repent? How many times do you make a call to repent?

    9. Read Acts 2:40-41. Notice how this is written. The
      “generation” is “corrupt” and Peter’s words “warn” and
      “plead.” Are we afraid to call sin by its right name
      today when we want to bring people into the church? Are we
      afraid to offend people by calling them to repentance?

      1. In Acts 2:2-4 we saw the amazing things the Holy
        Spirit was doing. Add in miracles, and if something
        like that happened in a local church today, many
        potential converts would come. Have you asked, “Why
        doesn’t that happen today?” Is it possible that it
        does not happen today because we would not call them
        to repentance?

  2. Cornelius

    1. Read Acts 10:1-2. Consider the description of this
      soldier. Can people say the same about you?

    2. Read Acts 10:3-6. What does God’s angel tell Cornelius
      that God has noticed? (His prayers and his charity.)

    3. Read Acts 10:9-14. What is the problem with Peter eating?
      (The animals are unclean. This is a reference to the
      dietary rules of Leviticus 11.)

    4. Read Acts 10:15. Have the rules in Leviticus 11 on clean
      and unclean meats been revoked?

      1. Did these dietary rules originate with Moses? (Read
        Genesis 7:8-9. This shows us that the distinction
        between clean and unclean meat did not originate with
        Moses and the sanctuary system. They existed from
        earliest times, even before humans were allowed
        ( Genesis 9:1-3) to eat meat.)

    5. Read Acts 10:17-19. Why is Peter wondering about the
      vision? (It seems so wrong to eat unclean animals.)

    6. Read Acts 10:20 and Acts 10:28. Is the vision about eating
      unclean meat? (No. The vision is intended to bring Peter
      to consider the rules about Jews not associating with
      Gentiles. The problem is that Peter would normally be
      hesitant to go with these Gentiles send by Cornelius.)

    7. Read Acts 10:22-26 and Acts 10:29. Why did Cornelius fall
      at Peter’s feet? Why did Peter not automatically consider
      this a missionary opportunity? Why did Peter only ask,
      “Why [did] you send for me?” (This shows that neither
      Cornelius nor Peter perfectly understood God’s will in
      this matter.)

    8. Read Acts 10:30-33. How would you translate Cornelius’
      response in today’s terms? (Peter asks “Why did you send
      for me?” Cornelius answers, “I don’t know, God told me to
      do it.” Cornelius is not stupid, so he continues that
      Peter must have some message for them.)

    9. Read Acts 10:34-35. Peter then continues with the gospel
      account of Jesus. Read Acts 10:44-46. What lessons for
      missionary work do we find here? (First, to put aside our
      prejudices. Second, to look for the leading of the Holy

    10. Look again at Acts 10:45-46. When we read Acts 2:4
      earlier, this was clearly the gift of speaking (or being
      understood) in a foreign language. What gift are we seeing
      here? (There are no foreigners here. There is no reason to
      believe this is a foreign language.)

      1. Why did the Jews associate speaking in tongues with
        being given the gift of the Holy Spirit?

    11. Read Acts 10:47-48. What is significant about Peter’s
      question? (It shows that he completely accepts the leading
      of God. He started out thinking that he should not even go
      to the home of a Gentile. Now he accepts the message of
      the vision, the proof of the pouring out of the Holy
      Spirit, and he follows through with the conclusion that
      they should be baptized.)

      1. Speaking in tongues is a controversial matter in some
        denominations. What makes it important to have a
        correct understanding of this topic? (Read Matthew
        12:22-24 and Matthew 12:31-32. If you read the full
        context of these verses in Matthew 12, Jesus warns us
        that calling the work of the Holy Spirit the work of
        Satan is the unpardonable sin. This is a very serious

    12. Read Acts 11:1-3. Can we expect criticism in our
      missionary work?

    13. Friend, Peter pioneered missionary work to the Gentiles.
      We have seen that the key to Peter’s work is being attuned
      to the leading of the Holy Spirit, even if it goes against
      things we have believed in the past. Are you open to the
      leading of the Holy Spirit? If not, why not commit right
      now to go where the Holy Spirit leads you!

  3. Next week: Phillip as Missionary.