Scripture: Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words (to a group of Gentiles), the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Observation: Christianity started as a small religious sect among Jews, but later grew to include all kinds of people. That didn’t happen because the first apostles thought that was the way it should be. That happened because God made it so, as we read in our passage for today. People were, and still are, continually playing catch-up with the work of the Holy Spirit.

Application: I think many of us will be surprised at who is included in the Kingdom of God, and perhaps who is not. As a pastor, people ask me about this quite a bit. Who will be in? Who will be out? In truth I’m not sure. In my heart I pray that God is as inclusive as possible. That also squares with our 21st century Western sensibilities of inclusiveness. However when I look for direction from the scriptures, things don’t appear to be as inclusive as I’d like. I’m caught in the middle. Nevertheless, I rest in the fact that our God is merciful and just.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your grace through which you have made us children of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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