We will have a potluck after worship service on Sunday, May 22 in honor of our 2022 graduating seniors. Please bring a dish or two to share. Cake will be provided. Please stay and join us!
The most basic definition of convert is to change into something of different form or to modify as to serve a different function. (car motors, kitchens, etc.) It can also mean to adopt a different religion, belief, or doctrine, which is the definition we’ll be using here. The New Testament books have many conversions in which people of several nations and cultures had a change of mind and heart. (Rom 12:2) (Acts 2:37)
The Apostle Peter could be considered the Poster Child for one who converted his life and ideas during an ongoing gradual process. Peter no doubt considered himself a friend, (Jn 15:15) defender, (Jn 18:10) counselor, (Mt 16:22) and traveling companion of Jesus Christ for over 3 years. He saw, said and did many grandiose things during that time. He saw the many miracles of Jesus, (Jn 21:6) (Mk 6:38-44) he heard many lessons and parables, he walked on water, (Mt 14:28-29) and even cast out demons himself. (Mk 3:14-15) He witnessed the transfiguration, (Mt 17:2) and had his feet washed by the Servant/Savior. (Jn 13:3-9)
And yet, Jesus said to Peter, “…Simon, I have prayed for you…that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back (art converted KJV) strengthen your brothers.” (Lk 22:31-32) Only a few short hours later Peter denied 3 times that he even knew Jesus. (Lk 22:34)
Later on as the new church of the Lord Jesus Christ was starting to grow, Peter still needed to be convinced by a vision from heaven that Cornelius and all Gentiles were worthy of salvation. (Acts 10:9-16 & 34) By the time of the Council at Jerusalem he seemed to be fully converted and proclaimed that God’s grace was for all people. (Acts 15:7-11) By the time he wrote his letters to “God’s elect” (1 Pe 1:1) he was teaching the brethren to, “…give an answer to everyone…with gentleness and respect.” (1 Pe 3:15)
By reading of Peter’s lifelong conversion, Christians of today should realize that our conversion was not just repentance, confession and baptism. It is an ongoing series of adaptations towards goal of “having the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus …and taking the very nature of a servant.” (Php 2:5-7)
When Jesus left His heavenly home for a short time on earth, He put on human flesh (Php 2:7-8) and became “…like His brothers in every way.” (Heb 2:17) However, it is much more difficult to imagine the Father and the Holy Spirit with human features because they are Spirit. (Jo 4:24) Nevertheless, the Bible speaks of God as having a heart, a face, hands and eyes. Although we are created in the image of the Godhead, (Gen 1:26) we assume that image was in the sense of having some of the same traits that they have such as love, compassion and an eternal soul.
Many Bible verses refer to God’s hands. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt with a “…mighty hand.” (Ex 13:3) King Solomon attributes a “…mighty hand and outstretched arm …” to God in His help to foreigners. (1 Ki 8:42) David and Isaiah speak of God’s hand of love and protection. (Ps 37:24) (Isa 64:8) After His resurrection, Jesus sat at the right hand of God. (Mk 16:19) (Lk 22:69) An often quoted verse tells us that David had a heart like the Lord. (1 Sam 13:14) Our heart is said to have eyes. (Eph 1:18)
We sing a song about the Lord making His face to shine upon us. (Nu 6:25) David urged the people to “Look to the Lord and His strength;” and to “seek His face always.” (1 Ch 16:11) Jesus taught that the “…angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Mt 18:10) God Himself warned Moses that, “…you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Ex 33:20)
The Lord said through Jeremiah, “My eyes will watch over them for their good…” (Jer 24:6) David believed that the Lord’s eyes saw his unformed body. (Ps 139:15-16) Peter declared, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous…” (1 Pe 3:12) Many other verses mention God’s eyes. (2 Cor 8:21) (Dt 11:12) (Dt 12:25)
In Paul’s sermon in Athens at the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-33) he says that in the past God winked (KJV) at people’s ignorance, but now commands all people everywhere to repent. (v 30) Other versions say overlooked the ignorance. People of today therefore can be sure that God is not winking at their apathy and rebellion with His “eyes” nor with His supernatural vision. (Eph 1:18) (Ps 139:15-16)