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Peter Returns to Jerusalem

11 1The apostles* and the brothers in Judea heard that non-Jewish people had accepted God's teaching too. 2But when Peter came to Jerusalem, some Jewish believers* argued with him. 3They said, "You went into the homes of people that are not Jews and are not circumcised*! You even ate with them!" 4So Peter explained the whole story to them. 5Peter said, "I was in the city of Joppa. While I was praying, a vision* came to me. In the vision I saw something coming down from the sky. It looked like a big sheet. It was being lowered to the ground by its four corners. It came down and stopped very close to me. 6I looked inside it. I saw animals, both tame and wild. I saw animals that crawl and birds that fly in the air. 7I heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill any of these animals and eat it!' 8But I said, 'I would never do that, Lord! I have never eaten anything that is unholy or not pure.' 9But the voice from the sky answered again, 'God has made these things clean (pure). Don't call them unholy!' 10This happened three times. Then the whole thing was taken back into the sky. 11Then three men came to the house where I was staying. These three men were sent to me from the city of Caesarea. 12The Spirit* told me to go with them without doubting. These six brothers (believers) here also went with me. We went to the house of Cornelius. 13Cornelius told us about the angel he saw standing in his house. The angel said to Cornelius, 'Send some men to Joppa. Invite Simon Peter to come. 14He will speak to you. The things he will say will save you and all your family.' 15After I began my speech, the Holy Spirit* came on them the same as he (the Spirit) came on us at the beginning.* 16Then I remembered the words of the Lord (Jesus). The Lord said, 'John baptized* people in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit!' 17God gave to these people the same gift that he gave to us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So could I stop the work of God? No!" 18When the Jewish believers heard these things, they stopped arguing. They praised God and said, "So God is allowing the non-Jewish people to change their hearts and have life the same as us!"

The Good News Comes to Antioch

19The believers were scattered by the persecution* that happened after Stephen was killed. Some of the believers went to places far away like Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. The believers told the Good News* in these places; but they told it only to Jews. 20Some of these believers were men from Cyprus and Cyrene. When these men came to Antioch, they also spoke to Greeks (non-Jews). They told these Greek people the Good News about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord was helping the believers. And a large group of people believed and started following the Lord (Jesus). 22The church (group of believers) in Jerusalem heard about these new believers [in Antioch]. So the believers in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23-24Barnabas was a good man. He was full of the Holy Spirit* and full of faith. When Barnabas went to Antioch, he saw that God had blessed those people very much. This made Barnabas very happy. He encouraged all the believers in Antioch. He told them, "Never lose your faith. Always obey the Lord with all your hearts." Many, many people became followers of the Lord [Jesus]. 25Then Barnabas went to the city of Tarsus. He was looking for Saul. 26When he found Saul, Barnabas brought him to Antioch. Saul and Barnabas stayed there a whole year. Every time the group of believers came together, Saul and Barnabas met with them and taught many people. In Antioch the followers [of Jesus] were called "Christians" for the first time. 27About that same time some prophets* went from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of these prophets was named Agabus. In Antioch, Agabus stood up and spoke. With the help of the Holy Spirit* he said, "A very bad time is coming to the whole world. There will be no food for people to eat." (This time without food happened when Claudius was emperor.*) 29The believers decided that they would all try to help their brothers [and sisters] who lived in Judea. Each believer planned to send them as much as he could. 30They gathered the money and gave it to Barnabas and Saul. Then Barnabas and Saul brought it to the elders* in Judea.

apostles The men Jesus chose to be his special helpers. Jewish believers Literally, "those of circumcision." This may mean Jews who thought that all Christians must be circumcised and obey the law of Moses (See Gal. 2:12). circumcised To have the foreskin cut off. This was done to every Jewish baby boy. It was a mark of the agreement that God made with Abraham (Gen. 17:9-14). vision(s) Something like dreams used by God to speak to people. Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. beginning The beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost. (Read Acts 2). baptized A Greek word meaning to immerse, dip, or bury a person or thing briefly under water. persecution A time when the Jews were punishing people that believed in Christ (Acts 8:1-4). Good News, message The news that God has made a way for people to have their sins forgiven and live with him forever. prophets People that spoke for God. emperor The ruler (leader) of the Roman empire. elders A group of men chosen to lead a church. Also called "overseers" and "pastors" ("shepherds"), they have the work of caring for God's people (Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11; Tit. 1:7,9).

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