God's Word for
God's Word for
November 23, 2011
Today we are going to talk about Cornelius who was a Roman, he was a centurion,
meaning that he was in charge of one hundred soldiers. He lived in the
Roman city of Caesarea. He already believed in God, but didnt know yet
about Jesus. He prayed to God regularly and gave to help the Jewish
people. He was visited by an angel. The angel told the officer, Cornelius,
to summon Peter, who would communicate Gods message to him. This event
took place about ten years after Pentecost. There are four parts to the story in
this chapter. First prepared hearts, second willingness to go where God
leads, third the preaching of the Word of God , and fourth the result
Cornelius and his household are saved.
I Prepared hearts verses 1 - 22
Before He could save the Gentiles, God had to prepare Peter to bring the message
and Cornelius to hear the message. Salvation is a work of God through His grace
and His Spirit, but God works through human channels. Angels can deliver Gods
messages to lost men, but they cannot preach the Gospel to them. That is our
privilege and responsibility. The heart of both the one bring the Gospel
and the one receiving it must be prepared beforehand.
The next day, as the Roman messengers were on the way to Joppa where Peter was
staying, Peter had a vision. Three times a sheet filled with animals forbidden
by Jewish Law as food (this is the meaning of unclean here) was lowered from
heaven. Three times a voice commanded Peter to eat. And three times Peter
protested against the God given command. Each time Peter was told, Do not call
anything impure that God has made clean. While Peter was puzzling about
the meaning of the vision, Cornelius messengers knocked at the door.
The Jews who had become Christians up to this point did not believe the Gospel
was for the Gentiles or the foreigners too, but only for them.
So Peter needed to have his heart changed toward the foreigners and an
understanding from God that the Gospel is for them too.
Caesarea is one hundred kilometers northwest of Jerusalem and 45 kilometers
north of Joppa. At that time, Caesarea was the Roman capital of Judea and had
many beautiful public buildings. This is the city where Cornelius, the Roman
centurion, lived. He had apparently decided the myths of the Romans gods
were not true and began following the Jewish faith. He was not circumcised
and did not become a Jew so he was called a God fearer.
It is interesting to see how religious a person can be and still not be saved.
The difference between Cornelius and many religious people today is this: he
knew that his religious devotion was not enough, something or Someone was still
missing in his life. Many religious people today are satisfied that their
character and good works will get them to heaven, and they have no understanding
of their own sin. In his prayers, Cornelius was asking God to show him the way
God sent an angel to instruct Cornelius and, like a military man obeying his
commander, Cornelius immediately obeyed. Peter needed a vision to convince him
that God loved the Gentiles also, and not just the Jews. The Jews thought
of Gentiles as unclean. They normally would have nothing to do with them
and would not enter their homes. It was lunch time and Peter hadnt eaten,
God used a vision about food to teach Peter that the Gentiles were not unclean.
The Jew was not clean and the Gentile unclean, actually both Jew and Gentile
are unclean before God! This meant that a Gentile did not have to become a
Jew in order to become a Christian.
Gods timing is always perfect, and the three men from Caesarea arrived at the
door just as Peter was considering the meaning of the vision. The Spirit
commanded Peter to meet the men and go with them. Peter was no longer to make
any distinctions between the Jews and the Gentiles.
II Willing to go where God leads
For more see www.wdbydana.com/sermon.html