If You’ll Never Try, You’ll Never Know
25/26 JULY 2020 | Traditional and Prayer & Praise Services
Rev Benjamin Lee
Scripture Passage: Acts 10:17-23 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary |Children tend to be afraid of trying new things, be it a new activity or food. Parents would coax them by saying “if you’ll never try, you’ll never know”. Pastor Ben shared about a time when he was hesitant to ride the roller coaster in Universal Studios. His two older children reminded him with the phrase they had heard often from him: “if you’ll never try, you’ll never know”.
An unlikely event – In Acts 10:17-23, Peter was on the rooftop praying when he had a vision of a sheet filled with all kinds of animals. A voice then told him to eat. Such visions from Heaven are rare. How many of us receive such messages? This was indeed an unlikely event. Verse 17 tells us that Peter was not just confused; he was continuing to understand the meaning of the vision. The active and imperfect tense of the original Greek word is translated in the Message as “As Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant”. This vision came to Peter three times. As explained by Ben Witherington, this threefold vision would have reminded Peter of his denial of the Lord three times. Peter would not have wanted to repeat his disobedience again. Also, in accordance with the triple confirmation in Jewish tradition, the vision appearing three times would have verified to Peter that it was sent by God. Is God revealing something that is unlikely, concerning our family, work, or business? Are we willing to take a step of faith, seeking God’s guidance? If you’ll never try, you’ll never know!
An unimaginable event – As a Jew, Peter would have avoided unclean food, in accordance with Old Testament laws. It would have been totally unimaginable for him to eat these unclean animals in the sheet. However, Peter slowly became open to God’s guidance. In verse 23, “Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.” Pious Jews avoided contact with Gentiles as much as possible. Yet, Peter is extending hospitality to these strangers who were Gentiles.
An unpopular event – Acts 11:1-4 reveal that the Jews had difficulty accepting the fact that God welcomed Gentiles into His Kingdom. Hosting Gentile guests was one thing; going to the house of a centurion was another. Yet Peter, in obedience to God, went to Cornelius’ home. In doing so, Peter did what would have been an unpopular act. As he did so, God worked through him, and Cornelius and his family received salvation. Seek God and follow His lead, even if a decision is an unpopular one. If you’ll never try, you’ll never know!
During this pandemic, we witness many out-of-the-box approaches in carrying out missions and witness and evangelism. Since travel is restricted, mission teams have come up with innovative ways to reach out to communities in the mission fields. There are trippers who teach English online as a means of outreach. Alpha participants had their Alpha Day Away online. In this season of change, are we willing to try new things in our work, ministries and families, as God guides? Step out in faith into God’s good and pleasing will.
(Sermon Notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Deeper Into His Word
1. While it was unlikely for one to receive a vision, what was Peter’s reaction to it (Acts 10:17, ESV)?
2. According to the speaker, why did Peter find it unimaginable to obey the command given in the vision?
3. What led Peter to act on the unpopular decision? How did Peter’s action change the outlook and trajectory of the early church?
4. Share one exciting new thing you have tried in the past that brought about something new in your life.
5. What might be one concern you have if you try something new, especially in this season. How might the example of Peter’s obedience encourage you?
6. What might be one new thing that God might be leading you to do/explore?
7. How can someone in the Small Group encourage or journey with you to explore this new thing that God might be leading you to do?