ACTS CHAPTER TEN
The Gospel Is for the Gentiles
Suggested Teaching Objectives:
To show the privilege that is ours to teach the Gospel.
To show that good people must be born again.
To show the importance of prayer.
To show that now there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. Romans. 3:22,23,29,30.
To teach how to live so that you can be directed by the Lord. Vs. 18-20
To show that the Bible from cover to cover teaches of Jesus. Vs. 43.
To teach that genuine salvation should always be followed by Baptism.
INTRODUCTION: Peter had been given the keys to the kingdom. Matthew 16:19. To him, God had given the special privilege of taking (after the resurrection) the Gospel first to the Jews (Acts 2) and then to the Gentiles (Acts 10). Our lesson today has to do with the story of Peter taking the Gospel to the first Gentile. It's a privilege to take the Gospel to others.
In this lesson we study the salvation that God provides even for good people and how that even they need to be saved.
I. THE PRAY-ER -- Vs. 1-2
Caesarea was a seacoast town about 65 to 70 miles from Jerusalem. Caesarea and Joppa were about 30 miles apart. There is much to commend Cornelius to us:
He was an officer in the army.
He commanded the 'Italian band' (about 100 soldiers).
'He was a devout man.'
He feared God.
He had great influence for God with all his house.
He 'gave much alms to the people.'
He prayed 'to God always.'
He is a fine illustration of religion without regeneration.
II. THE POINTING -- Vs. 3-8
Vs. 3 -- Ninth hour was 3 P.M.
Vs. 4 -- Grace always finds the way under any and all circumstances to respond to a seeking sinner. Light will be given to all who seek it and follow it. John 7:17; James 4:6-10; Prov. 8:17; Matthew 7:7-8.
Vs. 5 -- Why didn't the angel tell him how to be saved? Because God wants saved, redeemed sinners to do that.
Vs. 6 -- Of all places for a Jew! A tanner had to live outside the city and some distance at that, dead animals were unclean. The prejudiced Jew had made some progress since he is lodging with a tanner! Cornelius could be encouraged, because he was well informed as to the Jewish religion and customs and knew how scrupulously they avoided anything of the kind.
Vs. 7-8 -- Cornelius wasted no time. Would today that men were as willing and anxious to find out how to be saved.
III. THE PREPARATION -- Vs. 9-16
Vs. 9-10 -- Jesus had shown the importance of prayer in a person=s life and Peter keeps up the custom. Do you find time to pray every day?
Vs. 11-12 -- These beasts and creeping things (all manner of them) were those things that had been forbidden to be eaten by the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. cf. Leviticus 11. These laws were done away with in the new covenant and New Testament. Colossians 2:16,17; I Timothy 4:3-5.
Vs. 13-15 -- These animals were forbidden to be eaten under Jewish law and to Peter and other Christian Jews they thought that Gentiles were outside of that sphere of folks they were to take the Gospel to. (Vs. 28); Eph. 2. There was a built in resistance to Gentiles which made even these good Christian Jews loathe to go among them with the Gospel. When Jesus said, 'For God so loved the world,' to the Jews that didn't mean Gentiles, too. So God had to show Peter that the Gospel was to Gentiles, also.
Vs. 16 -- Three in the Bible speaks of Divinity and shows that this teaching was of the Lord. The creatures of Vs.12 then represented the saved of all nations and kindred and tongues of all future time.
IV. THE PROCEEDING -- Vs. 17-33
Vs. 17 -- 'Doubted' means much perplexed.
Vs. 18-20 -- The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter. Peter was living and walking with the Lord. In such a communion, God could direct him and use him. Are you walking with God? "How can two walk together except they be agreed." If you're walking with God you're living by the Bible, attending church, have been saved, scripturally baptized, you pray, you tithe, you try to win souls.
Vs. 21-22 -- They spoke highly of Cornelius. The Jews thought highly of him. Though a good man, God warned him. Good men must heed the warning of God and have a born again experience. John 3:3-5.
Vs. 23 -- Peter invited these Gentiles in and lodged them. He was beginning to see that the "middle wall of partition" was broken down between Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians 2:12-18 and Romans. 3:22,23,29,30. Notice, Peter took certain brethren with him from Joppa. Probably men from the church in Joppa.
Vs. 24 -- Cornelius wanted his friends to hear how to be saved.
Vs. 25-27 -- The true servant of God wants only the Lord to get the Glory.
Vs. 28 -- Peter interprets the vision.
Vs. 29-33 -- Cornelius reveals to Peter what they need to hear. As we mingle among sinners we ought to see, hear and feel what they need and that is to know Jesus as their Savior.
V. THE PERCEPTION -- Vs. 34
Now Peter openly reveals that he knows the Gospel is to all people. John 3:16; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8.
VI. THE PREACHING -- Vs. 35-43
Peter was unable to finish his sermon.
Vs. 35 -- God will lead anyone to light (how to be saved) if they really, honestly want it. Man's trouble is that his heart is rebellious. Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:19-21.
Vs. 36 -- This sermon exalts Jesus and pointed the people to Him.
Vs. 37-41 -- These folks had heard about Jesus and His great feats and accomplishments. God anointed Jesus, Jesus had the Holy Ghost, God was with Him. cf. John 1:1-3, 14. Him, they crucified; Him God raised up and showed Him. I have seen Him. What a message. Have you seen Jesus, high and lifted up for you, raised from the dead and seated in the heavenlies with his arms outstretched for you? If you have and you've accepted Him as your Savior, you have a real message for lost people. Are you telling it?
Vs. 42 -- We are commanded to tell others. cf. Acts 1:8; 17:31.
Vs. 43 -- All the Old Testaments prophets witnessed of Jesus and that salvation was wholly through believing in Him. So, Jesus could preach to Nicodemus from Numbers 21:5-9. Philip could preach to the eunuch about Jesus from Isaiah 53. It was this Savior that Abraham saw. John 8:56; Romans. 4:3.
VII. THE PARTAKING -- Vs. 44-48
Vs. 44 -- When these folks heard these glorious truths about Jesus, they trusted Him as their Savior and the Holy Ghost fell on them.
Vs. 45 -- The brethren from Joppa were Jewish Christians and therefore "of the circumcision." They were astonished that these Gentiles were saved too.
Vs. 46 -- Were these 'tongues' like that at Pentecost? No, I think not miraculous languages. The Pentecostal tongues were languages spoken by people who didn't know the languages heretofore. That was so that those in Jerusalem who spoke those languages could hear the Gospel. Here, this was not necessary. Also, these people spoke different languages. The soldiers probably spoke Latin. Since they were in Palestine, no doubt some here spoke Aramaic. Since the general language of commerce throughout the Roman Empire was Greek, no doubt some spoke Greek. With these languages they rejoiced and magnified God.
CONCLUSION: The Gospel is for all people and we should rejoice over God's love for us. We should rejoice that in His plan of redemption He included us. Since He has been so good to us we should certainly accept His Son as our Savior just as readily as Cornelius did and then live for Him each day thereafter.