What Now?

8 April, 2018

I’d like to begin this morning by paraphrasing a quote from novelist Philip Roth:

‘What are we to do with this problem of other people?’

And this often does seem to be the problem, doesn’t it? Other people. Sometimes life would be so much easier and more enjoyable if it weren’t for other people coming in and making life difficult for us, whether through mere ineptitude, grating personality or pure sin.

So the question stands: ‘What are we to do with this problem of other people?’
Let’s have a quiz

  1. Just ignore them and hope they’ll go away
  2. Let other people deal with them
  3. Deal with them very frankly, to the point of rudeness if necessary
  4. Resign ourselves to the fact that we will probably have to act Biblically towards them

You can figure this answer out for yourself through our Bible reading for today: Acts 10:34-43

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 10:34-43

34 ペテロは話し始めました。「神様はただユダヤ人だけを愛しておられるのではないことが、はっきりわかりました。 35 神を礼拝し、また良い行いをして神に喜ばれる人は、どこの国にもいるのです。 36-37 イスラエル人に伝えられた神のみことばについては、すでにお聞きでしょう。全人類の主である救い主イエスによって、私たちが神と和解できるということです。この教えは、バプテスマのヨハネが語り始め、ガリラヤからユダヤ全土に広まりました。 38 ナザレのイエスは神の聖霊と力とに満たされて、すばらしいみわざを行い、また悪霊につかれている人たちをみないやしながら、各地を巡回されました。それは、神様がこの方と共におられたからだということも、きっとご存じでしょう。
39 私たち使徒は、イエスがイスラエル全土、またエルサレムでなさったすべてのことの証人です。このエルサレムで、イエスは十字架につけられたのです。 40-41 しかし神様は、三日後にイエスを復活させてくださいました。そしてそのことを、すべての人々にではなく、神様があらかじめ選んでおられた証人に示してくださったのです。私たちは復活したイエスとお会いして、いっしょに食事もしました。 42 主は、これらのことをすべての人に伝えるように、私たちを派遣なさいました。それで私たちは、このイエスが、生きている人でも死んだ人でもすべての人を審判する方として、神に任命されたのだと証言しているのです。 43 イエスについては、どの預言者も、この方を信じる者はだれでも、その名によって罪が赦されると証言しています。」

I’d like to draw four points out of this passage.

  1. God does not show favouritism.

In our mid-week Bible studies, we were asked the question (based on Romans 11) whether God favours the Jews over other people.

The Jews were God’s chosen people to bring His light into the world, but John 3:16 makes it clear that God loves all people equally, and today’s passage makes it clear that He shows no favouritism in calling them His children.

Our church is a glowing example of that. Regardless of skin colour, hair style, language background, gender, level of education, personality type, age or weight, God accepts people from every nation.

Be warned though. There is a caveat here. It says,

God accepts people from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Acts 10:35

使徒行伝 10:35

God does not show favouritism in his provision of salvation but we must respond to that provision on His terms, not our own and certainly not those of the world. We must respond to the gospel with humility, and with a genuine fear and love for God.


  1. Jesus’ life is worth talking about

We carry in our simple souls some very good news – the Bible calls it “treasures in jars of clay”. We have a knowledge of the life of Jesus, revealed to us through two testimonies.
わたしたちは心の中に福音を持っています – 聖書の中では、私たちが「福音という宝を土の器の中に持っている」と言い、「土の器の中の宝」と呼んでいます。私たちは、「イエスの人生」という「知識」を持っています。次のような2つの証言を通じて、私たちに示されていることがわかります。

The first (today) is Peter’s testimony here. The second is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. So we can know how Jesus

was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:38

使徒行伝 10:38

The Easter message is that Jesus is still alive, He is still anointed and anointing with the Holy Spirit and power, and He is still doing good and healing all who are under the power of the devil.

This is worth talking about. It’s also worth living out in faith.


  1. Jesus’ death and resurrection were real.

We’ve heard this many times before and it was the main thrust of last week’s message, but here we have the powerful eyewitness testimony of Peter who believed and carried this truth throughout his life to his death (as did Paul and all the other apostles through their lives and to their deaths).

They lived and died with the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection because they witnessed it first hand and they knew it was true. They walked with Jesus, they witnessed the crucifixion, they saw the empty tomb, they “ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead”. You just can’t challenge this kind of testimony. Jesus’ death and resurrection were real, and they change everything.

  1. Jesus is our judge.

This point is often neglected when it comes to sharing the gospel with people.

If you’re like me, it’s not too hard to share with people events at church like Easter and VBS. At the right time, and with the right people, we can also tell them about the love of God, and how Jesus lived a perfect life, died for their sins and offers new life through His resurrection. But there’s actually more to the gospel.

There remains judgement for unbelievers. This is why Peter says here that

He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.

Acts 10:42


使徒行伝 10:42

The good news isn’t just good news of a better life. It’s good news of life as opposed to death. It’s good news of salvation from sin and death, just as it’s good news of salvation unto life.

Jesus is our judge and Peter concludes his talk in Acts 10 by saying that

everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Acts 10:43

使徒行伝 10:43

So, what are we to do with this problem of other people?

We tell them about Jesus.

We don’t ignore them. We don’t leave [them] it for someone else to do. We don’t tell them frankly to the point of rudeness how they are bothering us. We tell them about Jesus.

At the right time and with a loving spirit, we tell them that God shows no favouritism. We tell them about Jesus’ life. We tell them about Jesus’ death and resurrection. And we tell them that this risen Jesus has been appointed judge of the living and the dead.
(イエスについて語ります。彼らを無視する 任せる 迷惑だと言う
神はえこひいきをしません。イエスの人生 イエスの死と復活


(Regarding this problem of other people, by the way, I want to assure that you I’m not raising this because I’ve had a bad week. On the contrary, I’ve had a really lovely week, thank you very much. But the reality remains that from time to time we all have to deal with the problem of other people.)

We need to remember that hurt people hurt. If people are being mean, rude, selfish, unforgiving, difficult or hateful, it probably means they’ve been through some really bad stuff, that someone has treated them the same way, and they are wounded people. They need to see the love of God and they need to hear the gospel message.

The answer to meanness, rudeness, selfishness, unforgiveness or hatred is always love. God has revealed and demonstrated His love to us so that we can enjoy it for ourselves, and so we can reveal and demonstrate it to others.


Do you know what happened next (in the passage)? Do you know what happened after Peter shared this message with those who were listening?

It says

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. They… were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.

Acts 10:44,45


使徒行伝 10:44,45

Let’s share the whole gospel in word and deed with those around us, whether they’re delightful people or problem people, and pray that the Holy Spirit will come upon all who hear the message.