Acts 11* Peter's defence. (1-18) The success of the gospel at Antioch.(19-24) The disciples named Christians, Relief sent to Judea.(25-30)1-18 The imperfect state of human nature strongly appears, whengodly persons are displeased even to hear that the word of Godhas been received, because their own system has not beenattended to. And we are too apt to despair of doing good tothose who yet, when tried, prove very teachable. It is the baneand damage of the church, to shut out those from it, and fromthe benefit of the means of grace, who are not in every thing aswe are. Peter stated the whole affair. We should at all timesbear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of takingoffence, or answering with warmth, we should explain ourmotives, and show the nature of our proceedings. That preachingis certainly right, with which the Holy Ghost is given. Whilemen are very zealous for their own regulations, they should takecare that they do not withstand God; and those who love the Lordwill glorify him, when made sure that he has given repentance tolife to any fellow-sinners. Repentance is God's gift; not onlyhis free grace accepts it, but his mighty grace works it in us,grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives us a heart offlesh. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit. 19-24 The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, weredispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant tohurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of manis made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christpreach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and himglorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divinepower. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home tothe hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak tothe outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truthof the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way ofliving, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turnedfrom worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in theSpirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and hebecame all in all with them. This was the work of conversionwrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us.It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, willturn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity,and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and whensinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who arefull of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice inthe grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith;full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faiththat works by love. 25-30 Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples,that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were calledChristians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower ofChrist; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces thereligion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it hischief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example.Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian towhom it does not rightly belong. But the name without thereality will only add to our guilt. While the bare professionwill bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of itwill give both the promise of the life that now is, and of thatwhich is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget othernames and distinctions, and love one another as the followers ofChrist ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethrenunder afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to thepraise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians,how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earthwould be like one large family, every member of which wouldstrive to be dutiful and kind.
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