Taking the Ground of the Heavenly Man (continued)
c. Peter and the Gentiles
Come further, over into the early chapters of the Book of Acts, and you come to that paragraph in the history of first things in the Church, where Peter has been fasting and praying. He falls into a trance and sees the heaven opened and a sheet let down from heaven. In it are all matter of four-footed beasts and creeping things; and a voice says to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat" (Acts 10:13). To this Peter replied, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean" (verse 14). We know what it is related to. Away up country there is a devout man with very little light, reaching out with all his heart to know the Lord more perfectly, to go on with God; hungry for the Lord, but not knowing the way. In his reaching out for the Lord, he is visited by an angel, and told that if he sends to a certain place, at such and such an address, there is a man there named Peter, who, if he but calls for him to come, will tell him what he needs to know. Meanwhile in connection with that man, who is not a Jew, who is not of Israel, and who is outside the covenant, the Lord is having these dealings with Peter. Now, to Peter, that man would be as one of those reptiles, those creeping things, as unclean meat, because he was outside Israel. Peter says, "Not so, Lord ..." Now Peter must leave that ground. That is his old Jewish ground, and he must leave it and come on to the ground of the Heavenly Man. What is the ground of the Heavenly Man? It is that where there is neither Jew nor Greek, where these distinctions are not to be made. You are not to make these distinctions, Peter! You are not to stand off like this, saying, I am a Jew and he is not a Jew; we have no relationship! Fellowship is the mark of the Heavenly Man, and there these distinctions are lost sight of. You must come off your earthly, historic, traditional ground, Peter, on to the ground of the Heavenly Man.
The Lord made it perfectly clear that Peter had to do it, and that the issues were very serious and critical if he did not. Peter had the grace of obedience to leave his own ground, and he went up to Caesarea and met with one of the greatest surprises of his life in that he found that the Lord was there! He had to report to the other Jewish apostles that, though he had gone with all fear and misgiving, he found the Lord there. Yes, the Lord was on the ground that He Himself had provided, the ground of the Heavenly Man. We shall always meet the Lord on that ground. Leave your own ground, and come on to My ground, and I will meet you there and show you something which will surprise you. So it was in this case: "Who was I, that I could withstand God?" The Lord had given them the Spirit, and I had to get off my ground, and get on to the Lord's ground, the ground of the Heavenly Man.
(continued with # 76 - (d. Paul and Israel)