“God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted [the Gentiles] by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9)
God is determined to return and rebuild David’s fallen tent: This means restoring and re-establishing the kingdom that was mighty and strong, yet is now decimated and downtrodden by imperial Romans; God raised the Jews gradually until they attained super-power status under King David – a man after God’s own heart. This was the chosen nation – God’s first born, and the royal priesthood to bring many other nations to God, but they failed and fell! Rebellion against God brought this nation to collapse under the pressure of foreign Empires that God used as his punishing rod. But beyond the physical nation, Israel represented the Kingdom of God.
The figurative “rebuilding of David’s fallen tent” (Acts 15:16-17) is now God’s actualizing the greater meaning – no longer just a local empire in the Middle East, but the eternal Kingdom where God reigns. And the exciting news is about the building blocks: While the Jews selfishly took pride in being the chosen race, they missed God’s grand and ultimate plan that had everyone else in mind. They labeled everyone else as ‘gentile’; I am one of them, and so are you. It’s really exciting that Jesus Christ blew off the cap and sent for disciples from all nations, from the ends of the earth. The building blocks for the rebuilding include Jews and Gentiles, white and black, red and yellow, men and women, old and young – and from all nations; you are included!
When they went out in the power of the Holy Spirit to preach, the early Church was taken by surprise when Gentiles also came to the faith. The Holy Spirit did not wait for Peter to finish his sermon during his first mission to gentiles gathered at Cornelius’ house: ‘While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message’ (Acts 10:44). As more gentiles believed in other cities, a conflict arose as to whether they should be subjected to circumcision and the Law of Moses. Thanks to this conflict and the ensuing debate, the Jews were further reminded that it was God’s plan to bring them into the Kingdom of God. “He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith”. They are also acceptable building blocks.
What stops you from coming into the Kingdom of God? He has shown you love and accepted you; He has beaten down every hurdle and every enemy that would stand in your way. He will forgive your sin no matter how far you’ve fallen. There is endless pain and fire elsewhere. God is rebuilding – establishing an eternal Kingdom to which you should belong. Put your faith in Him today.