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The Promise to Abraham Goes to All the Nations 

From the beginning, God intended that everyone have access to His blessings

Acts 10

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 19, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Scripture Reader and Reading: Jacob Noveske – Genesis 12.1–3

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – No suggestions

Prelude

  1. As you heard from the Scripture reading, 
    1. twenty centuries before Christ,
    2. the Lord promised Abraham,

      “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
      (Gen 12.3)
  2. Acts 1–9 has shown the Jews having access to that blessing. 
    1. The time had arrived for the rest of the world
    2. to experience the blessing of Abraham.

Persuasion

  1. Acts 10.1–2 | A Man You Would Like for a Neighbor

    1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

    1. Here is a man we all would like to have as a neighbor.
    2. He was a military officer, working for the world’s superpower.
    3. He was a spiritual man:
      1. He was a devout man.
      2. He feared God; his household joined him in fearing God.
      3. He gave alms generously to the people.
      4. He prayed to God always.
  2. Acts 10.3–6 | A Memorial Before God

    3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” 4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”

    1. God saw this good man,
      1. who was without Christ and lost.
      2. Therefore, God sent an angel to him at 9:00 in the morning.
    2. He heard his name from an angel and did as told.
    3. The angel informed Cornelius
      1. that his prayers and his alms had come up for a memorial before God,
      2. that he should send men to Joppa to fetch Simon Peter, and
      3. that Peter would tell him what to do.
    4. How were his prayers and alms a memorial before God?
      1. What are memorials?
        1. They bring to remembrance.
        2. Or they keep something in remembrance.
      2. The life of this non-Jewish man,
        1. his prayers and his alms,
        2. served as a memorial before God
          1. that the Gentiles, all nations
          2. had part in the promise to Abraham and in the Great Commission.
  3. Acts 10.7–8 | Cornelius Does as Told

    7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

    1. Cornelius understood commands.
      1. He gave them,
      2. he expected obedience to his.
    2. His household servants and his devout soldier
      1. trusted him enough, and
      2. knew his quality,
        1. that they believed his story, and
        2. it would lead to something good for them also.
  4. Acts 10.9–16 | The Common Were Now Cleansed

    9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

    1. The Lord knows how to time things.
      1. As the three men traveled to Peter,
      2. the Lord contacted Peter.
    2. Peter was a man of prayer.
      1. While praying,
      2. he became hungry,
      3. he fell into a trance,
      4. saw heaven open and
        1. what resembled a great sheet with animals came down from heaven,
        2. held by its four corners.
          1. What he saw included unclean or common creatures,
          2. things that a devoted Jew could not eat under the Law.
    3. He heard a voice commanding him to rise, kill, and eat.
      1. Unlike Cornelius, he disagreed,
      2. stating that he had never ingested anything unclean.
        1. This happened three times.
        2. Perhaps he thought it was a test.
  5. Acts 10.17–20 | Peter Figured There Had to Be a Meaning

    17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”

    1. Peter wondered what the Lord taught him.
      1. However, he did not have much time to think, because
      2. the men from Cornelius showed up.
    2. Again, with the Lord’s perfect timing, he had the Spirit speak to Peter,
      1. letting him know that three men were looking for him, and
      2. it was okay for him to go with them, because
        1. the Spirit had sent them.
        2. An angel and the Holy Spirit got Philip and the Ethiopian together, and
        3. an angel and the Holy Spirit got a preacher and a Roman together.
  6. Acts 10.21–24 | Peter Submits Himself

    21 Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23 Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.

    1. Peter went to the men and identified himself as the man they sought.
      1. He wanted to know the reason they sought him.
      2. The Spirit had not told Peter why the men came,
        1. then again, with the triple vision,
        2. the Holy Spirit had told Peter why they were there.
    2. They reported that a Gentile, an unclean or common man,
      1. who was a just man,
      2. a man who feared God,
      3. who had a good reputation among the Jews,
        1. had received a heavenly visitor who told Cornelius to get Peter, and
        2. that Peter would speak words to Cornelius.
  7. Acts 10.25–26 | Cornelius Meets Peter

    25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.”

    1. Since an angel had told Cornelius to summon Peter,
    2. Cornelius thought of Peter as someone greater.
      1. We can understand the centurion’s perspective.
      2. We would exalt Peter, if not to the status of a god,
        1. as Cornelius appeared to do, but
        2. to someone as far greater and better than us.
    3. Peter quickly put himself and the Roman centurion on the same plane.
      1. They were both men who needed Christ.
      2. Twice Paul explained to the Corinthians preachers are,

        5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building (1Co 3.5–9).

        5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2Co 3.5–6).

  8. Acts 10.27–33 | Peter Started to Figure Out the Meaning

    27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” 30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”

    1. Peter had an audience waiting for him, and
      1. he had begun to understand from the vision
      2. that God taught him not to make distinctions between men any more.
        1. Peter wanted Cornelius to know that if it were up to him,
        2. he would not have been there, because
          1. it was unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with non-Jews.
          2. However, God wanted Peter to go.
            1. So, he went, and
            2. he wanted to know what all these people wanted!
    2. Cornelius, without being insulted or offended, explained what happened.
      1. He was fasting at that very hour.
      2. He was praying in his home.
      3. He saw a man in bright clothing standing before him.
      4. The man in bright clothing told Cornelius:
        1. God has heard your prayer.
        2. Your alms have been remembered in the sight of God.
        3. Send for Peter, with detailed instructions.
        4. Peter would speak to Cornelius.
      5. Then the Roman military man spoke his own words to Peter:
        1. You have done well to come.
        2. We are all present before God.
        3. We are present to hear all that God has commanded you.
      6. Those last two things,
        1. a non-Jew, a non-disciple of Christ, a non-preacher,
        2. had to tell Peter to speak what God has commanded.
  9. Acts 10.34–43 | God Shows No Partiality

    34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

    1. Peter put all the events of that day together and
      1. concluded that God does not show partiality, but
      2. from whatever nation a person comes from,
        1. if he or she fears God and works righteousness,
        2. God accepts that person.
    2. Peter started preaching the Gospel to those people who were not of Israel:
      1. God preached peace to Israel through Jesus Christ.
      2. Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
      3. The people in that room knew the word of the Christ, because
        1. it began in Galilee, not far away, and went throughout all Judea.
        2. Everyone in those days knew of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
      4. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power,
        1. making Him the Christ, and
        2. Christ means anointed.
      5. During His ministry Jesus went about
        1. doing good and
        2. healing anyone oppressed by the devil.
      6. The apostles had witnessed everything that Jesus did, and
        1. how His enemies killed Him by hanging Him on a tree.
        2. Surely, everyone there knew of the crucifixion, but if not,
          1. they just learned of it, and
          2. it may have horrified them, especially Cornelius,
            1. that his own government took part
            2. in killing the Man of whom Heaven had shown its approval.
      7. Nevertheless, three days later God raised Jesus from the dead, and
        1. showed Him openly,
        2. showing those who knew Him best
          1. that He was alive on the Earth again.
          2. God did not show Jesus to all the people, but
          3. to certain ones he had selected before,
            1. who could verify beyond any reasonable doubt
            2. that this was the same Man who had ministered in Judea.
        3. As John himself later explained,

          1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full (1Jo 1.1–4).
        4. As Peter said, the witnesses were ones who ate and drank with Him.
          1. They knew Him.
          2. You know people in the same way.
            1. No one could disguise himself as someone
            2. that you have spent the previous 3 ½ years with daily.
        5. Peter added that Jesus commanded the witnesses
          1. to preach to the people,
          2. showing that Jesus is the One
            1. ordained by God
            2. to judge the living and the dead.
      8. Truly, all the prophets bore testimony
        1. that believing through Jesus
        2. is where you will find remission of sins.
      9. This goes back to what Peter himself had already preached,
        1. Acts 2.38–41
        2. Acts 3.25–26
  10. Acts 10.44–48 | The Final Sign

    44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

    1. The Lord did one more thing to show Peter and his six brethren
      1. that God accepted people of all nations,
      2. Jesus baptized Cornelius, and his friends and family, in the Holy Spirit.
    2. This amazed Peter and the other circumcised men.
      1. Peter could see the truth of his own words on Pentecost.
      2. Peter and the six men heard these Gentiles
        1. speaking with tongues, and
        2. magnifying God!
    3. Look at Peter’s conclusion/question.
      1. Who could forbid the water for these people to be baptized?
      2. They could not be baptized into Christ.

Exhortation

  1. Look at what the Lord did to persuade Peter to go to the rest of the world: 
    1. The three-fold vision
    2. The Holy Spirit sent three men
    3. The three men state that angel had their boss send them
    4. Cornelius revealed the angelic visit
    5. The Lord baptized Cornelius, and his family and friends in the Holy Spirit
  2. Has the Lord been working in your life to change you on something?