God instructed Peter to carry the gospel to the Gentiles and the members of the household of Cornelius were immersed into Christ (Acts 10; 2:38).
Despite his obedience and proclamation that God was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), Peter continued to struggle with his prejudice (Galatians 2:11-16).
Shortly after Cornelius and his household were added to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47), Christian Jews demanded to know why Peter would do such an abominable thing (Acts 11).
“You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” (Acts 11:3).
In other words, how dare you take those people the gospel! What right do you have? It’s ours!
God finds our fleshly divisions and squabbles ridiculous. He requires faith so that we will know undoubtedly that Christ is in charge of his church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Hebrews 11:6).
We must never doubt his vision (John 14:1-6). The Gospel is God’s, not ours (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Great Commission is very clear that we have a worldwide mission to go where lost souls will be receptive (Matthew 28:18-20).
Have we forgotten that?
Christians who think that the gospel belongs exclusively to Americans, or to people who resemble us, are no different than the Jews in Acts 11.
Congregations have autonomy to decide where to send missionaries or who to support. However, God must find it repugnant when we ostensibly mimic the folks in Acts 11. We wouldn’t say it, but “how dare you take those people the gospel!”
It’s the height of irony that so many American Christians found it an abomination that the gospel was taken to African nations and India when those countries will send missionaries back to the United States someday.
If people won’t listen to the gospel in America and we refuse to take the truth to eager hearts around the world, we have betrayed Christ.
Jesus said that the fields were white for harvest (John 4:35) but he also said another time that the disciples should shake the dust off their feet when people wouldn’t listen (Matthew 10:14).
It’s worth noting that God never tells us to use race, ethnic origins or socioeconomic status as a barometer when discussing our responsibility to spread the gospel. So why do we?
We’ll never be able to decide who is worthy of the gospel (John 3:16) whether in our country or not.
Souls are the goal, not our cultural comfort zones. Why else would God have sent Peter and his prejudice to the Gentiles? Will we miss the point?