Blessings in Obeying God

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Acts 10

Back drop of the time:

Gentiles were about to experience a new place in the church. This was the beginning of the Gentiles to have equality with the Jews without having to be circumcised. God was making a way for all to be saved and accepted by Him.

Background of Cornelius

10:1

  • Cornelius, Centurion, captain of 100 men in the Roman army; the Italian band was a regiment of about 555 infantry and 66 cavalry.

  • Centurions were tough-minded, iron-discipline, well-trained, brave-hearted. Roman centurions are mentioned in the NT 5 times; they’re shown in a favorable way () each time.

  • Religious Gentile, God-fearing, drawn to moral and ethical standards of Judaism, most likely attending synagogue meetings.

  • First family to hear the gospel since Pentecost (). It was not till this point that there was the thought a person could be saved unless circumcised and followed the laws of Moses.

10:3 - 4

  • Setting:Ninth hour of the day – traditional time set for prayer (3:00pm)

  • Vision: The angel of !

  • Cornelius responds in a voice as a child-like .

  • He gained God’s attention due to his prayers and giving/caring for the poor in a practical way.

  • God Hears! God sees your kindness! God takes notice!!


10:5,6

  • God could save Cornelius without Peter, but God needed Peter to see that He could reach the Gentiles to save them and would use Peter to usher in the unity among Jews and Gentiles.

  • God speaks to both Cornelius and Peter – God confirms His word with 2 or 3.

10:9 - 10

  • – on the flat roof, (patio) east where it was cool area of the day, 6th hour, noon.

  • In a place to pray. Planned to pray. Got distracted.

  • What distracts you?

  • What holds you captive?

  • God was creative to parallel the physical with the spiritual message of hunger!

10:11-14

  • God uses a vision to guide Cornelius to a man of God to share the gospel with him. Peter is the one who shares the gospel, not the angel. The angel leads him to receive a message from a man.

  • Recall that when David was classifying Goliath, he referred to him as an uncircumcised person – he referred to his . He referenced with boldness his strength and ability.

  • Peter was being positioned to have a change of heart by God who in turn taught other apostles the same message.

10:11

  • Sheet – used to gather the mix of all animals = cultures or Jews/Gentiles.

  • Curtain in the holy of holies – when Christ died, the veil was ripped from top to bottom.

  • When Jesus completed the work of the cross, he made a new covenant that would be for all people, not just the Jews. Even as the literal veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, indicating the way into the holiest had become accessed not for merely a high priest for Jesus became our high priest, making intercession for us and giving us direct access to God.


10:12 - 13

  • Mixed animals – clean and unclean (Lev 11:1-23; Deut 14:3-21); distinction of meats that was being established by God that He was bringing them all together, equal, no longer separated.

  • Animals represented Jews and Gentiles. Kosher and not. translation calls Gentiles “outsiders”. It was time to bring together to save. Peter was to speak to both.

  • It had been approximately 8 years since Jesus departed the earth. God was illustrating to Peter that the was broken down and the gospel was not to be withheld from Gentiles/outsiders.

  • “Wall of partition” Gk mesotoichon, partition wall. It means Christ broke down the wall or fence that separated Jews and Gentiles. A wall of stone about 6 ft high separated the court of the Gentiles from the that of the Jews in the temple. Crossing it meant death to any Gentile. Jews endeavored to live by themselves among the Gentiles. They either wanted a river or a wall between them and their Gentile neighbors. Their laws, rites and customs separated

them. The wall was known as the “soreg”, a partition prohibiting Gentiles from entering in to the temple courts. There were signs placed on the “soreg” (some have been discovered), with the inscription - “No outsider shall enter the protective enclosure around the sanctuary. And whoever is caught will only have himself to blame for the ensuing death”.

Temple in Jerusalem

Jesus’ work on the cross was to pay for the debt of sin for ALL people.

  • Flock will be united. One flock. One shepherd.

  • Paul says the Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree which is Israel, sharing the nourishing root of the olive tree.

  • Paul states no longer a division among Jews and Gentiles. We are one in Christ.

10:14

  • “Lord” – sign of submission, even though challenged to follow it because it was wrecking all he knew and did.

  • ‘NO’ – Peter had a way of saying No! Matthew 16:22 (when Jesus was telling disciples of coming events where he would be killed – Peter: “No, Lord! Never!”); John 18:8-11 where Peter severs the ear off a servant when they were taking Jesus.

10:16

Why does Peter see a vision 3 times?

  • All testimonies and evidence had to be confirmed by 2 or 3 witnesses. In the OT, Deut 19:15 refers to the facts of a case had to have 2-3 witnesses to solidify

  • Joseph has 2 similar dreams to confirm God’s word to him. Gen 41:32

10:19-20

Don’t ask questions. I sent them.

  • God meets Peter where he’s at with his traditions. He’s understanding but wants to show him there’s so much more He calls him in to doing for the Kingdom. God wants to take us beyond our borders of truth and tradition, of familiar places and stretch us to the unknown, uncomfortable, to place our trust on Him for what He has ahead for us, no matter what happens. Trust Him.

What is God calling you to do?

  • Do you believe?

  • Do you question what He’s spoken to you?

  • Has God confirmed His word to you?

10:22

  • Servants testified of Cornelius’ character; giving a good report. Phillips translation called him “good-living, God-fearing”. Vouched by the whole Jewish people – to validate him before a Jew to hopefully hear their message.

10:23

  • Peter for the first time breaks down and invites the 2 servants and a dedicated soldier into his lodging to fellowship. He may have been concerned however, because he brings six men with him (Acts 11:12)

  • Phillips translation – Peter wanted to know what made Cornelius send for him. Was Peter doubting or needing confirmation he was hearing the Holy Spirit correctly? It was a huge change and shift from his traditions

10:25

  • Cornelius meets Peter - a mark of the highest respect.

  • Cornelius recognizes they are in God’s presence to listen to what God was about to tell them to do through Peter.

10:43

  • Peter finishes his talk about the gospel by how they need to believe in Jesus who came to die and remove sin from them and to be saved.

10:34-44 short sermon

  • v. 44 As Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on all who listened. The gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • The six Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed at how God poured out on these Gentiles to speak in tongues and glorify God.

10:47-48

  • Peter and his friends get to see the transformation work of the Holy Spirit over the Cornelius’ friends and family, even as they had on the Day of Pentecost.

  • A shift took place that day. Lives on both sides forever changed and set the course for many more to believe and be part of the united church.

Conclusion

  • What is calling you to do?

  • Do you know?

  • Are you pursuing, questioning, wrestling, challenging or somewhere in between?

  • God is speaking. Will you walk in what He has for you?

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NLT)

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