Acting Upon the Authority of Scripture

About noon Peter was praying on the roof of Simon the tanner's house in Joppa. He fell into a "visionary state" and saw a sheet being lowered over him by the four corners. Inside the dome of the tent was a menagerie of creatures that were forbidden for Jews to eat. The Lord spoke to Peter and said, "Get up, Peter: kill and eat!" Peter protested: "Lord, nothing unclean or common has ever touched my lips!" The Lord said, "What God has made clean, you must not call common." 

The purpose of the vision was not really about food. Jews were forbidden to eat certain foods. Jews were also banned from associating with certain classes of people... actually, they ANY class of people other than Jews! God was preparing Peter to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. Peter and some of the brothers from the church in Jerusalem made the journey to Caesarea. Upon entering the home of Cornelius they discovered a crowd gathered to hear them. As Peter preached the Gospel the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles and they spoke "in other languages" and declared "the greatness of God" (Acts 10:48). Peter ordered they be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 

Upon returning to Jerusalem Peter was challenged by some of the Jewish Christians about what he had done. Peter related the whole story beginning with his vision. Coming to the point where the Spirit came upon the Gentiles he said, "I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John baptized you with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 11:16). The response of the Jewish Christians to this argument was silence. Then they "glorified God, saying, 'So God has granted repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles!' (vs. 18). 

First, Peter defended his action with Scripture. He did not have to defend his preaching to the Gentiles because the Word of God already defended it.

Second, the elders were wise enough not to support Peter's action based upon his vision. Visions, dreams, and experiences are not proof that God is in a thing. 

Third, credit the elders for recognizing the authority of Scripture. When Peter quoted "the word of the Lord" the case was closed. 

My appeal is this: we should not act based upon logic, impulse, or experiences alone. I'm am not against these things; I do believe God can use them to speak to us. But these by themselves are insufficient to fully discern God's will.  If we are truly being led by the Spirit "chapter and verse"-- and His peace will fill our hearts before we act. 

Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore, if God gave them the same gift that He also gave to us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I possibly hinder God?
— Acts 11:16-17