Bible Study With Jairus

Acts 10 (Part 2)

The Story of Peter and Cornelius:

A Faith Leader and a Political Leader Collaborate to Bring the Gospel to the World

 

Should Christians be involved in politics? And how does that question relate to the story of Cornelius and Peter? That is what we will learn in this devotional.

 

I have been taught in church for many years that Christians should not get involved in politics. However, more and more American Christians have begun to realize the dangers of not participating in politics. They’ve seen how ungodly people are seizing power, Christian and conservative groups are being persecuted, and America is in danger of losing its religious freedom. All this has led many American Christians, including Chinese Christians in the United States, to actively participate in politics and strive to change the society.

 

What does the Bible say about politics? Many Christians have begun to realize that the Bible never teaches believers to avoid politics. As king, David surely participated in politics. As we will see, the resistance to political involvement may stem from a misunderstanding of the teaching of submission to authority mentioned by Paul in Romans 13.

 

There’s no doubt that participating in politics will be controversial, but the price of not participating in politics is also high. If the church avoids politics, Satan will use the spirit of religion and evil political forces to persecute the church. For example, he used the religious forces of Judaism in Jerusalem, combined with the evil political forces of Herod, to kill James and capture Peter in Acts 12.

 

However, God can also use the cooperation of godly church leaders and godly political leaders to combat the schemes of Satan. In Acts 10, we see how Peter, a representative of true faith, and Cornelius, a godly Gentile political leader, worked together to expand the reach of the gospel from the small circle of Jerusalem to a vast number of Gentiles. Their collaboration had extremely far-reaching significance and removed the limitations that the religious spirit was attempting to place on the gospel.

 

If godly faith and upright politics do not work together, the religious spirit (false beliefs) will combine with evil politics, causing great harm to society and limiting the influence of the truth. We must reflect on God’s teaching in Genesis 1:26, in which God commands us humans to rule the earth. The church represents God’s authority in the world, and political avoidance may not necessarily be in line with biblical teachings. Christians should be salt and light in the world. Though we should not jump into political battles purely for our own benefit, we should learn from Peter’s example and influence politicians to spread the gospel and the kingdom of God.

 

What Does the Bible Say About Christians in Politics?

 

Let’s examine the origins of the belief that Christians should not participate in politics. First, Christians point to the fact that we must pursue a spiritual kingdom, not a worldly kingdom. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, the disciples hoped that He would free the earthly kingdom of Israel from the oppression of the Romans, but the Lord told them, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36) It was not God’s will for the disciples to fight Christ’s captor, because he had to be crucified to fulfill God’s plan of redemption. But this does not mean that we should avoid our responsibilities in the world. Elsewhere, Jesus taught us to be salt and light and to influence the entire world. He also taught us to make disciples of all nations. Naturally, this includes winning politicians to Christ through participation in politics. Our partial and one-sided understanding of some of the teachings of the Bible has led us to a faulty theology, which in turn led us to pursue a heavenly kingdom to the exclusion of positively impacting the world.

 

Second, some wrong theological ideas promoted in the United States in the 1970s taught that Jesus could come back at any time, so there was no need for children to go to college or to actively participate in society or politics. At the time, books about Jesus’ return were very popular, and many Christians dressed in white and waited on the mountains for the Lord to rapture them. But nothing happened. Now, it is 2024, and the Lord has still not returned. These erroneous teachings create obsessions with the Lord’s return while leading Christians to neglect their participation in everyday society. Because of these fallacious teachings, American Christians have gradually lost their influence in the realm of education. Since the 1950s, American public schools have gradually stopped allowing the teaching of the Bible and prayer. Little by little, children have been influenced by leftist ideas, resulting in generations of children who have been brainwashed by the far left. In addition to this, homosexuality has become rampant and has even begun to affect children in primary schools. Christians in the United States are gradually awakening to this phenomenon. They realize they have lost influence in schools, school boards, media, entertainment, and politics at the local and national levels. Some Christians are even facing small amounts of persecution. Not only are anti-God voices filling schools, media, and entertainment, but many Christians are being persecuted for praying and adhering to biblical values. As a result, many Christians have begun to reflect on their role in politics. They have not only returned to their faith, but also reconsidered the teaching that political involvement is wrong. As a result, many Christians have started influencing society by actively participating in politics and being salt and light in the spheres of media and entertainment.

 

Third, a one-sided understanding of Paul’s teaching on submitting to authority in Romans 13 has caused Christians to be too passive. Total submission to those in power is very popular among Chinese Christians. Because of the severity of persecution, they did not dare say no to evil politics, so they used Romans 13 to cover up their cowardice. However, this teaching is not in line with God’s teachings. Of course, Paul did teach that we as Christians should submit to government authorities because they were ordained by God to administer justice. However, the Bible also says many times (often through the mouth of Peter) that we should obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). In the past, I was deeply influenced by the idea of total submission, but God showed me through dreams and visions that Christians should participate in China’s political movements to uphold social justice and promote the spread of the gospel.

 

Cornelius Needed Visions to Help Him Recognize and Accept Peter’s Message

 

God not only guides Christians, but he also guides people who do not know Him to guide them toward salvation. Acts 10 describes how Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian cohort, was a god-fearing man who prayed often. As a result, God gave him a vision and asked him to go to Peter to preach to them the gospel.

 

The same thing happened to me. Looking back, I can see that God was subtly guiding me, even when I did not yet know him. In recent times, I have heard many testimonies of Muslims in the Middle East who converted to Christ after God gave them dreams and visions. In the dream, Jesus appeared to them and asked them to read a certain passage in the Bible, leading to their salvation. This shows that God can come in person to directly preach the gospel to people. So why did God choose to send an angel of God to ask Cornelius to invite Peter to preach the gospel to him? Because God wanted Cornelius and Peter to collaborate, as we mentioned at the beginning of this lesson. Even though God or an angel could have preached the gospel to Cornelius directly and saved him and his family, God wanted the righteous political forces represented by Cornelius to join hands with the godly religious forces represented by Peter so that God’s gospel could extend beyond the small religious circles in Jerusalem to the entire Gentile world. This shows the magnificence of God’s great plan.

 

God revealed to me that the “Chinese Whistleblower Movement” that started in 2017 was from Him. The purpose was to provide a platform for Christians to preach the gospel. In turn, when the gospel is preached, it will change the hearts of the Chinese people and provide a solid foundation for democracy to take root in China. I will share more of these revelations in my upcoming content. For now, I will share that when I followed God’s guidance to join this movement and publicly stated what I believed to be God’s plan, I received a lot of opposition from the Buddhist and atheist members and founders of this group. They could not accept the idea of Christianity taking the lead in their movement. I quickly realized that these politicians needed God’s supernatural revelation through dreams and visions so they could humble themselves and recognize the importance of the gospel. After they resisted my attempt to join them, I saw God gradually begin to guide them through circumstances so they could learn the lesson of humility and learn to recognize God’s will. I pray that like Cornelius, they can understand God’s will and humbly accept the guidance of God’s gospel.

 

Peter Needed Visions To Break Through His Narrow Religious Ideas

 

Likewise, Peter needed a vision from God to overcome his rigid religious ideology. First, God needed to break down the idea that Jews and Gentiles could not have contact. In the Old Testament, God restricted contact and intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles, mainly to protect the Israelites from worshiping idols as the Gentiles did. He wanted to preserve the purity of the Jewish line through whom Christ would come. After Jesus Christ accomplished redemption on the cross, the Jews no longer needed these dietary and social restrictions. Jesus made all things and people clean again. But as a Jew, Peter continued to follow the Old Testament way of thinking. Therefore, when God gave him a vision of different types of unclean animals and asked him to “kill and eat,” he said that he had never eaten anything common or unclean. But God said, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” The same vision was given to him three times in a row.

 

Visions and dreams convey God’s message through pictorial language. The various animals represented the Gentiles. They were originally unclean, but God had now cleansed them. God was telling Peter to boldly throw off the shackles of religion and preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

 

When the Lord Jesus was on earth, he did indeed teach his disciples to preach the gospel only to the Jews. However, after his crucifixion and resurrection, the Lord Jesus taught his disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Times had changed, and so had God’s guidance. The redemption accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the cross changed everything.

 

Paul spoke extensively on this topic. He said that Jews and Gentiles were originally separated, but because Jesus destroyed this hostility on the cross, Jews and Gentiles have now been reconciled. We are now members of one body (Ephesians 2:11-17 ). “For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). Though these truths were later revealed through Paul, Peter did not have access to this revelation at the time he met Cornelius. That is why God had to reveal this truth to him through visions.

 

The Jewish people were God’s greenhouse, where his redemption was planted and nurtured. However, the purpose of a greenhouse is to eventually transplant the seedlings into larger vegetable gardens. Although God’s plan of redemption came through the Jews, God does not want to limit the gospel to one small people group. But because the Jews were unwilling to give up their sense of superiority, they rejected God’s will and did not allow the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. This was due to human jealousy and narrow-mindedness.

 

After Jesus Christ was resurrected, he told his disciples to make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But the minds of the Jewish Christians were restricted by the laws of the Old Testament and they were unable to embrace God’s guidance for the new era. As a result, they limited the gospel to Jerusalem. Even Peter originally embraced this narrow-minded ideology.  

 

In addition, the religious forces of Judaism and the evil political forces represented by Herod were working together to confine the gospel of God to Jerusalem and keep it within the sheepfold of Judaism. Therefore, God urgently needed to enlighten Peter through visions so that he could break away from these narrow religious concepts and bring the gospel to the Gentiles. As Peter and Cornelius started working together, the gospel of God began to advance, and the Holy Spirit’s power reached the Gentiles. It was the beginning of a new era in Christian history.

 

The Collaboration of Faith Leaders and Political Leaders Continues Today

 

The examples recorded in the Bible not only reveal God’s guidance for that era, but also reveal a divine principle for later generations. The story of Peter and Cornelius’s collaboration is not only for the people of that time. The same story has also been replicated repeatedly throughout the ages.

 

For example, American Christians are working with political forces to influence the society of America. For many years, American Christians have prayed for the United States, repenting of the sin of massacring Indians, selling slaves, and killing babies. They have prayed for God’s care, healing, and forgiveness for America. As a result, faith has returned and many Christians have been revived. These same Christians actively participate in politics and support candidates who promote Christian values in order to restore America’s conservative values. The people in these movements are not perfect, and many have shallow beliefs, but they represent a force of church revival. I believe this collaboration between people of faith and people of power will bring about the return of American Christian values. The recent election of Congressman Mike Johnson, a devout Christian, as Speaker of the House is a positive result of the convergence of conservative beliefs and political justice in the United States.

 

This is not only happening in the United States, but God has also revealed to me that it will soon happen in China. Previously, I had only planned to serve God in Christian circles and had never thought of participating in any political movement. I not only believed that Christians should not be involved in politics, but I was also afraid. I knew that Christians would have to pay a high price to participate in politics, especially in the face of evil political oppression. Although I am in the United States and do not have to pay a huge price personally, I am still worried that it will cause trouble to my family. But God revealed to me through a series of dreams that His will for me was to participate in the political democratic movement He initiated. As the gospel is preached to those who participate in the democratic movement, it will help the country of China come to know God. God revealed to me that I will play an important role and hold an important position in this movement in the future.

 

One night, I had a strange dream. I was riding a bicycle down the street as a group of democrats on bicycles chased me. The more they chased me, the faster I rode. This action depicts my fear very well. But these democrats finally caught up with me and said to me, “Thank you for your books and gospel messages. You helped our democratic movement to win.” This is just one of the dreams I have had. God has revealed to me through many other dreams that the preaching of the gospel by us Christians will help many Chinese political figures learn to know Christ. As these leaders begin to pursue justice and faith, they will bring great change to China. May God’s will be done.