At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.Acts 15:7-9 NLT
Peter was speaking up for the idea that Gentiles could be saved without being circumcised and observing Torah. His argument? At Cornelius’s house, God cleansed their hearts by faith and gave them the Holy Ghost just like He had done in the Upper Room. Peter appealed to evidence that could be seen. He didn’t argue theology.
When we gather as the Body of the Risen Lord to worship and hear from Heaven, people are supposed to experience something tangible going on. Information is necessary, but it’s useless without demonstration and transformation. When Barnabas arrived in Antioch, he knew God was doing something: “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, (Act 11:23).” What did he see? Paul reminded the Corinthians that he preached to them with “the demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Corinthians 2:4).” What did that look like? In explaining the wonders of Pentecost to the crowd in Jerusalem, Peter said, “He poured out this which you now see and hear (Acts 2:33).” I could go on, but you get the idea.
If God is in us and in our midst, we can expect that there will be demonstration and transformation. I love good Bible teaching. We need it. But God is more than an idea. The resurrection is not just an historical event. Jesus is still showing Himself alive with infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). These things may be different in every church and every service, but we must learn to go expecting to do more than sit and listen. I’m ready for real, aren’t you?