Acts 10:28-48, God Shows No Favoritism

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Acts on Sunday, March 12, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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As we consider acts Chapter 10 this morning, I've titled the Message God shows no favoritism. God shows no favoritism. Now, if you're reading through the Bible in three years with us and you read through Chapter 10 and you were not shocked and just utterly astounded. By what you read. Then I would suggest to you that you need to reset in your mind the context that you have in reading through acts chapter 10. There there needs to be a little bit of a remembering the context, remembering the condition of things and where people were at in the midst of this account and in the midst of the gospel message. Going forth after the resurrection of Jesus. As you read. The account of Cornelius. Having a vision from God. And an invitation to Peter and God setting up in advance for Peter to go to Cornelius, giving Peter the vision, the same vision three times to teach him a lesson, to show up and present the gospel. Like here is something that should be incredibly shocking. Peter the Apostle Peter shared the gospel, gave an invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Lord to Gentiles, and if you didn't almost fall out of your chair right now you you need to reset in your mind your understanding of acts chapter 10. We're familiar with it, of course, and I'm being a little bit, you know, silly in my reference to it in that way. But at the same time, I'm not and. I'm I want us to consider the shock that would have been there. The shock that was taking place in Peters heart in the companions of Peter's heart in Cornelius's heart. There was a. Shock that was happening, it was not foreseen by these people. This was out of the blue complete surprise. That Cornelius could believe in Jesus Christ, right there on the spot. Be delivered and saved and redeemed, and have the promise of everlasting life. As this invitation is given to Peter to speak to Cornelius and his household. Peter goes on in verse 34 to say. Then Peter replied. I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation, he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This for Peter. Is radical new truth. This for Peter. Is contrary to everything he's known in all of his culture, in all of his upbringing. This is completely different than what he ever imagined or thought. Right now, Peter is behaving in a way that he was convinced he never would. He's entering into the home of a Gentile and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Peter is shocked. I I picture Peter in this moment, quaking a little bit. He knows he he knows he's heard from the Lord. He can clearly see now. But at the same time. That step into the household of Cornelius was likely the hardest step that Peter ever took. I would suggest even harder than stepping out of the boat onto the water to walk on the water with Jesus because he had decades of culture decades of. Thoughts and attitude? That were developed. Established in his society, taught by the religious leaders. And what he is doing is contrary to all of that. Peter is in a state of shock. The companions of Peter. They can't figure out what's going on. This is shocking. They are absolutely amazed. It tells us in verse 45 when God actually brings salvation to the family of Cornelius. The companions of Peter are shocked. They're flabbergasted. They're they can't figure out what's going on. They're astounded. They're amazed. Are you shocked right now? Can you kind of get into the account here and understand the dramatic thing that is happening? Up to this point, the gospel and the church that was there in Jerusalem was focused on Jewish people. They crossed a little bit of a line, a little bit of a boundary that they thought they wouldn't cross in, also sharing the gospel with the Samaritans. But there was no outreach to the Gentiles. There was no strategizing at the church in Jerusalem with Peter and the rest of the apostles thinking, OK, Now, how can we reach the Romans? How do we get the gospel to people outside of Judaism? Of course, the Lord had foretold these things in his word. It wasn't that it was contrary to what? God had revealed. But it was contrary to everything they'd ever known and thought and expected. You could think about it this way and this is not meant to be exhaustive, but Judaism. Before Jesus they would be thinking about things like the moral law. The things that God had told them to do, to not to do that were in regards to morality and relationship with God, but also, of course, they had the national law that God had given Israel some specific instructions for them as a nation, that they were to follow in the way that they were to govern themselves and operate. There was the dietary law which? Was kind of part of the moral law, but was more part of the ceremonial cleansing and uncleansed type of law. And so, so there was these, you know, very clear components that they had where they understood the Old Testament scriptures, taught that morality, taught them how to be a nation, taught them how to eat and live. And when they failed in any of those things. While the Lord had provided animal sacrifices to bring forgiveness in their failures to keep the law of God. Included in that. Law, of course, with the was the Sabbath rest. And the Covenant of circumcision that God had established with Abraham. These are some of the highlights, some of the hallmark things that the Jewish people like Peter would have been holding on to. In acts chapter 10. But what they saw as Judaism before Jesus and then after Jesus changed a little bit. So after Jesus, Peter would have crossed out the animal sacrifices and substituted Jesus's sacrifice. So that in order to experience the benefits of the sacrifice of Jesus. Their mindset, their idea at that time, was convert to Judaism and believe in Jesus. And fall in line with the moral law. And if you're living here in Israel, follow the national law and you should start paying attention to what you're eating and follow the dietary law and start taking Sabbath off and make sure that's a day of rest and and then also by the way, meals you need to be circumcised. Become a Jew. Convert to Judaism and now we have a fuller understanding that Judaism includes Jesus's sacrifice, that that would have been their message if God had not intervened here in acts chapter 10. That was their perspective. That was their understanding of the gospel and the plan of God for Gentiles. Those who are not part. Of the Jewish heritage. And if that had been God's plan. Well, that would be for all of us. That we would need to enter into Judaism and to believe in Jesus and and that would be the requirement and it would be worth it if God chose to work in that way. But this was their understanding. This was the framework by which they were operating. And anything different. Just seemed unfathomable, unthinkable. Until acts chapter 10. Until the further revelation that was even brought by the apostle Paul. Consider what Paul writes in Ephesians Chapter 2. He says Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of the law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles. By creating it himself, one new people. From the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means. Of his death on the cross. And our hostility toward each other was put. To death. The Jewish understanding of the gospel. At that time before acts. Chapter 10 was a revision of the Old Covenant. But what the Lord had come to accomplish was a new covenant wiping out the old covenant in the sense of following these dictates in the same way that were prescribed originally. But now it all falls into, and God has made something new as a result of Christ. Out of both Jews and Gentiles bringing together the body of Christ the church. It was something radically different. Then what the Jewish mindset expected then what they were thinking then? What everybody thought. In acts chapter 2, all the way through acts Chapter 9. They would have thought God does show. And so you need to convert to Judaism. You need to become Jewish. That's the only way for you to participate in the salvation that Jesus offers. And yes, it's an upgraded Judaism. But it's not all that different than the Judaism before. It's just that Jesus Christ replaces the animal sacrifices, but that's not what God has prescribed. If you came to me having a problem with your phone and I said, well, I think what really is the problem here with your phone is that it really needs an upgrade. Let me let me have your phone so I can upgrade your phone. Now. You might be thinking, OK, Jerry's going to do a system update. He's going to go into settings. He's going to update the software. On my phone hardware. But probably what I'll have in mind. Is no let's. Throw out the old hardware and give you entirely new hardware. You'll have a. Much better experience. That's a little bit of the the similarity in my head. Of course. Me thinking in tech terms, right. But in my head it's not a software upgrade. Keep the all the bones, keep all the the the hardware the same and just refresh the software. Now the Lord said it's a new covenant. It's a brand new device. All new functions and features software upgrade is included but but also the hardware has changed. Or if you're having car trouble and you take it into the shop and they say what you need is an upgrade. You need to update some things. There needs to be some replacements, and yes, you could piece meal different things, or let's really upgrade you and give you something entirely new. That's the idea. This new covenant in Christ is entirely new. But they didn't have that perspective yet, and so it took some radical revelation from God, some coordination by the Holy Spirit in Cornelius's heart, in Peter's heart, and then bringing them together to give Peter the boldness and the courage to share the gospel. With someone who is outside of the Jewish faith in verse 28, Peter says, you know, it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Now, when Peter says it's against our laws, he's not talking about the law of God in the word of God. He's talking about the laws of their heritage, the laws of their customs, the laws of their rabbis and religious leaders. They grew up Peters whole life. He understood. God does not want you to enter the home of a Gentile. Now, that's not what God actually said. But that's what Peter was taught. That's what Peter had held to his whole life. But now God has shown me. God has called me to change my mind on this, and all the bias that I had, all the prejudice that I had, all the hesitations and reservations that would have been there. God has told me to put all of those aside. And to no. Longer think of people the same way. And no longer regard anyone as impure or unclean. Everyone is accessible. To the gospel. Everyone is available to hear and receive the gospel. Everyone is within reach and my interactions is not just limited to those who are clean any longer. To those who meet certain criteria any longer. But now the Lord is calling me to lay aside. Those previous misunderstandings and. And to reach out to, to speak to. To share the gospel with. Whoever he leads me to. God shows no favoritism. This was a shocking revelation. You can see. It even further as you head into acts Chapter 11, because the church back at Jerusalem, here's what happens and there are some people who are livid. They are upset. How dare you? Peter, what were you thinking? How could you enter into the home of a Gentile? They were shocked that Peter would do that. God shows no favoritism. And it's an important lesson for us to learn about the heart of God, the mind of God. And we need to learn from the account here in acts chapter 10, God's heart. On humanity, on the people around us now for you and I, our religious upbringing probably doesn't distinguish between Jew and Gentile, but we've developed our own traditions and we have our own biases in our hearts. We we have our own ideas and our own prejudices. And we need to allow the Lord to speak to us like he spoke to Peter. So that we would never again. Call anyone unclean? So that we would never again restrict ourselves from interacting with. Reaching out to. Praying for. Ministering to you. Anyone, no matter what their context, is, no matter what their background is, no matter where they're coming from. There is no person that is off the table. As far as God calling us to Minister, to to witness to, to love in his name, we are called. To represent him. And God did not feel toward the Gentiles. What the Jewish people felt toward the Gentiles. One of the daily prayers of the Jewish people that. Uber religious Jewish was that they would thank God that they were not Gentiles, they were not the dogs, which is how they referred to the Gentiles. And that's not the heart that God had toward the Gentiles, but that was. The heart of many Jews. That was the heart that their culture taught them to have. Their upbringing trained this in them from from the earliest stages. They were raised in this their whole lives and and and there are things perhaps in our hearts and minds, that we've held on to and been taught and trained and and walked in without even thinking for 40 years. But the Lord wants to say you need to update your understanding. You need an upgrade and understand the new covenant in a new way that this is. Not the system that you've been holding on to, and so familiar and comfortable with. But you need to understand that God shows no favoritism, and specifically in regards to salvation, and so we want to spend some time looking at this encounter between Cornelius. And Peter and understand the the gospel as it goes out and the salvation that is offered to the household of Cornelius here. And so three points will walk through here in acts, chapter 10. Looking at this shocking event. To help us understand that God shows no favoritism point, number one, we're going to check out verses 30 through 33. Devout religion is not enough to save anyone. God shows no favoritism, and so we need to know here is doctrinal truth that needs to be established and settled in our hearts. Devout religion is not enough to save anyone without partiality. Nobody is saved. By devout religion alone, let's read verses 30 through 33, it says, Cornelius replied. Four days ago, I was praying in my house about the same time, 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, a man in dazzling clothes was standing in. Front of me. He told me Cornelius your prayer has been heard and your gifts to the poor have been noticed by God. Now send messengers to Joppa and summon a man who named Simon Peter. He is staying at that home of Simon a Tanner who lives near the seashore. So I sent for you at once and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you. And so here Peter. Is introduced to Cornelius. Hi Peter. My name is Cornelius. Very nice to meet you. Peter says. Nice to meet you as well, Cornelius. As we are introduced to him, we understand him to be a Roman soldier, not just a Roman soldier, but a centurion. He was the leader of 100 Roman soldiers. He's not Jewish. He has no. Hebrew bled. He has no heritage back to Abraham. He is a Roman soldier stationed in Israel, so he's had some encounters with the Jewish people. He's had some exposure to Judaism and the faith. That they believe in. But it was not something he was taught. It was not something he grew up in. It was something that he learned as he was stationed there in Cesaria. Cesaria was a town on the shore of the northern part of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea. And as you read through acts chapter 10, you find that Cornelius was what you might refer to him as a good man. Even by God's own description. You could summarize it as Cornelius was a good man. If you jump back to verses one and two here in. Acts chapter 10. It introduces us to Cornelius. There, it says in Cesaria there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian regiment. He was a devout God fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to. It's a pretty powerful description there of Cornelius. Again, we can summarize it as he was a good man. The Lord points out here he was devout. He was seriously reverent. He was seriously faithful in his. Devotion to God. And he feared God. Again, not because he grew up in this heritage. We don't know his background and what he believed about God, or probably the plurality of gods like the typical Roman would. But here in Israel, stationed there, he came to appreciate. The reality of the true and living God that the Jewish people worshipped. And so he feared God. And he was devout in that he was steadfast and reverent. He was godly. He was careful. He governed his whole life. In regards to what he knew about this God of the Hebrews. And part of that led him to give alms generously. He considered the poor he reached. Out to them. He was careful to always help those who were in need around him, and he prayed to God always. When he has this vision from the Lord here in acts chapter 10. He he tells us the time. He knew exactly what time he had this vision from the Lord 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon because that was one of the standard times of prayer for the Jewish people. And so you can understand from this he was. Practicing to some degree, some of the traditions, some of the practices of the Jewish people, and so he was likely praying to God three times a day on the specified times that they practiced. And so. He did that religiously. He was devout in his prayer life. He was devout in his generosity. He was devout in his fearing of God. But at the same time, Cornelius had not converted to Judaism. To do so likely would have meant serious repercussions for him as a Roman soldier, because Roman soldiers didn't get Sabbaths off Sabbath day rest. You know that wasn't for. Roman soldiers. So for him to completely convert, be circumcised, fully enter into the following of the mosaic law. That was what some people did. People did convert to Judaism, but Cornelius had not done so. He had some exposure. He believed in the God of the scriptures. He sought to in the way that he could, without fully entering in. He he sought to understand it. Honor the God of the scriptures. But in no way at this time. Would you consider or be able to consider Cornelius? As being saved. He wasn't saved. He didn't have redemption or forgiveness from sins. He was devout. He feared God. He gave alms. He prayed. But he was not yet. In a right relationship with God. It's quite astounding to think about. Now looking at the context, I said look, we should be shocked, right? Well, here's another reason why we should. Be shocked because. Again, in verse 45, the Jews who are with Peter, they're shocked that Cornelius and his household could be saved. I think for the most part. The church today would be shocked that Cornelius wasn't saved. But if you walk through the account, if you walk through what is happening here in acts chapter 10, it is clear to see. He was not yet where God wanted him to be. He did not have. Faith in Jesus Christ yet. Salvation had not come yet to his household. Even though. He was very religious, he was devout. He feared God. He gave. Alms, he prayed three times a day. One of the ways that you can tell this is the case is because, well, in walking in all of these things, the Lord gives Cornelius a vision and says Cornelius, you need something more than what you have. So he gives the account. Four days ago I was praying in my house in. Verse 30. Suddenly a man in dazzling clothes was standing in front of me. He he has a an. Angelic appearance here. Cornelius, your prayers have been heard. Your gifts to the poor have been noticed. Now send messengers to Joppa and summon a man named Simon Peter. Without saying it, the Angel is telling Cornelius you need to hear the gospel. You've not received the gospel. You're very religious. You're very devout, but you have not been redeemed and delivered just yet. Now it's an interesting note here. To consider that the Angel then doesn't present the gospel to Cornelius. We could understand that the Angel would be capable of that, right? Right. Like no problem to say the words that Peter is going to say when he finally arrives. But but the Lord summons Peter through Cornelius. You need to hear from Peter the gospel message what you need in order to become right with God. Now in next Chapter 11 we get a further elaboration on this vision that he receives and the message of the Angel as the account is being given to the church back in Jerusalem. Acts Chapter 11, verse 13, he told us how an Angel had appeared to him in his home and told him send messengers to Joppa and summon a man named Simon Peter. He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved. So the Lord sends an Angel to this devoutly religious men who feared God and was generous to the poor and prayed regularly. He sends a message to him and says you're not saved yet. Send for Simon, Peter and. He will tell you how you can be saved. Devout religion. Is not enough. Being very serious, being very dedicated, being very devout, even in Judaism. Going back to the old covenant. That's not enough for. Salvation now the old covenant was sufficient for a time. God established it for a time. But replaced it with the new Covenant. So that now there is salvation is found in no other name. There's no other path. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the father except through me. And so even if at this time. And acts chapter 10. If Cornelius had made the full jump and converted to Judaism. He would still not have been saved. Because he needed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news of what Christ has done for us. Being devout, being religious. Being honorable. Being a good man. Was not nearly sufficient for Cornelius. To be saved. Commentator William Marty puts it this way. Despite his devotion, Cornelius was not yet saved. The point is that regardless of nationality, those who seek God are welcomed by him. And so God will, in his sovereignty, extend greater light. To such people. He's not saved, although he's very devout, although he's very religious. And that doesn't grant him salvation. But it does grant him a vision from the Lord. And this. Is clear in the scriptures. Over and over again, God says if you seek me, you will find me. If you search for me with all your heart. There is salvation and no other name, but if. A person like Cornelius. Is desiring to receive from the Lord what is necessary for salvation. God knows how to bring forth that message of salvation to them. And he does so. Verse 33, he says. So I sent for you at once. And thank you for coming. Now we're waiting. We want to hear this message. Devout people. Want to hear a message from the Lord? Religious people. Very often do not want to hear. What the Lord has to say, but here you can see the sincerity of. Cornelius's heart. He's not just devout in a stubborn way of doing what he wants to do, what he's always known when you're practicing a religion. But he's devout in his desire to know God and to hear from God. And so he's gathered. He's so thankful. Peter, you've come. I can't wait to hear. The message that the Lord has given you. Let us learn this lesson. Devout religion is not enough to save. It's true of Judaism. It's true of should I go down? The list Buddhism. It's true for Jehovah's Witnesses. It's true. For Mormons, it's true. For Muslims, it's true. For Catholics, it's true for. Christian Church attendees. Yeah, it's true. We can be very devout in our Christianity. You like my use of the quotes there? I know my wife's laughing at me. We could be very devout in our cultural Christianity. And our religiosity. But let us never lose sight. Of the reality that salvation is found on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done for us and by faith in him. And never on the basis of our devoutness, our dedicated Ness, our sacrifices, it's based upon his sacrifice. Devout religion is not enough to save anyone. There's people around you, perhaps in your family, in your workplace. In your neighborhood and our community that are very devout in their religion and there is a tendency, and there's a kind of a social pressure, hey, they're really dedicated to what they believe and they're focused on that. And they're devoted to that. And, you know, just kind of let them be. And and probably God's going to take care of it. But. We need to understand that devout religion is not enough to save anyone. Sincerity doesn't count for anything. Apart from Jesus Christ. Church attendance, daily prayers, giving of alms. Fearing God doesn't count for salvation. A genuine heart seeking God will hear from God and be led by the Lord. To the salvation that he offers to them. A devout religion in and of itself by itself. It's not enough. And so the Lord gives him a vision. Says Cornelius. You need something further. Someone one of my messengers. So that you can hear. The gospel message and respond to it moving on to verses 34 through 41, we get point #2 this morning. Everyone needs peace with God through Jesus. God shows no favoritism and that means. That nobody can be saved. By devout religion alone. It also means that everyone needs peace with God. Through Jesus Christ, every single person. There is no one who does not need peace with God through Jesus Christ. There is no one that has peace with God apart from Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Let's read verses 34 through 41, it says, then Peter replied. I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism in every nation. He accepts. Those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of good news for the people of Israel. That there is peace with God through Jesus Christ. Who is Lord of all? You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his. Message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross. But God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. Having been given this invitation by Cornelius, Peter begins to speak. And he starts in a very interesting way. I'm updating my thinking Cornelius. I used to think one way. But today. This is brand new for me. I am thinking completely different. Now I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. And I'm surprised. I'm shocked. Cornelius, this is this is quite a shock. And Cornelius would understand the shock because he was living there amongst the Jewish people. He understood. Their customs, their ways. It's likely he had never had Jewish people in his home before. If he did, they all understood we're not really supposed to do this. I'm not really, you know, very devout in my Judaism. And so that's why I'm hanging out with you, Cornelius. Like, they, they all understood the customs it. Was the social. Norm of the day. But Peter says. The Lord has called me to update my thinking. And to understand you, Cornelius and all people in a completely different light. I like the way that. William McDonald talks about this. He says Peter prefaced his message with a frank admission. Up to now, he had believed that God's favor was limited to the Nation of Israel. Now he realized that God did not respect a man's person because of his nationality. But was interested in an honest, contrite heart. Whether in a Jew or Gentile. What was important was the heart. Not the race. Not the nationality, not the culture, not the upbringing. So Peter openly says. I'm updating. My mindset here, the Lord has shown me. I need to rethink and re understand people from his perspective. I think reading through this should cause all of us. To just give God that invitation. Or do I need to be updated? According to your ways. Is there a mindset in me? Is there a? An idea, a prejudice? A bias. A disgust. A rejoicing. So any of those things in me, Lord, that are not In Sync. With what you say? I think there's so many of those things that can be built up, those, those things that we're probably blind to, and it's not so much conscious efforts that we, you know, deliberately choose those mindsets and those paths. But but are just a bit of the product of. Our training, our upbringing, our experiences. There's experiences that we have in our society as Americans or even more local as southern Californians there, there's things in our upbringing, depending on our family and. The the the. Culture that our family has brought in and and how we've been raised and taught and things that you know, perhaps even when we were not even able to speak yet. There were these ideas and mindsets. Attitudes that were ingrained in us. I think for us as believers. For those who have grown up in the church or for those who have been. Around the church for a long time. I would suggest there there is likely a lot of traditions that we have received as this is God's way. And I think we need to allow the Lord and invite. The Lord to speak to us like he spoke to. Peter, what if there's anything? I don't want to misrepresent your heart to anyone. There are things that we. Are appalled by. That cause us to treat people and relate to people. In a way. That God does not desire for us to. There are some things that cause us we see the political side of things, perhaps. And so now we operate in a different way. Our mindset is different. We're we're not trying to represent God anymore. We're trying to represent something else. And so we relate to people based on. Those reactions that are trained within us. And Peter is saying I've had to update. My heart I've had to update my mind. It's not gonna be automatic. It's not gonna happen all the time. Later on, the apostle Paul is going to have to rebuke Peter for some. Divided thinking, even in his own heart, and he talks about that in the book of Galatians. Where he's separating from the Gentiles to eat with the Jews when other Jews are watching right, like he's real conscious of ohh no. Other people are watching have to change. It was not an overnight cure for the condition of his heart, but. Believing God at his word, he let the word of God override. His natural inclinations. His habits, his normal way of thinking. And he stepped out in obedience to share the gospel. Recognizing this is the way that God thinks. It's something we all need to learn how to do. To allow the Lord. To override our defaults. Our prejudices, our bias. That we would honor him. And relate to people the way that he calls us to to. Talk to people in the way that he would. Verse 36 he says this is the message of good news for the people of Israel, that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ to his Lord of all. Peter is going to recount now. Real quick summary of the life and Ministry death. And resurrection of Jesus. It all happened in Israel, Jesus, being Jewish, being born in Bethlehem, being raised and ministering in in Israel this this was. Happening in the context of Israel. So Peter says this is the message of good news for the people of Israel, but but also recognizing it started there. But Jesus Christ is Lord of all, not limited to Israel, not limited to the Jewish people. Or the Jewish faith. But Jesus, who is Lord of all now in the following verses, he tells Cornelius many times and you know, and you know, and you know, Cornelius was familiar with Judaism. He was familiar with John the Baptist. He was familiar with. He had heard about this. Rabbi Jesus, he had heard about the the things that transpired. But he didn't understand them. He didn't believe them. He didn't know how it all worked together. To offer him the opportunity of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. In Colossians chapter one, Paul says. God, in all his fullness, was pleased to live in Christ and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross. This includes you who are once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and action. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he's brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him, without a single fault. This is the work that every single human being needs. Apart from Jesus Christ, we are enemies separated from God. But by faith in Jesus Christ, there's a radical work of reconciliation. And there is peace with God through Jesus Christ. So that we stand before him as if. We had never sinned. Not a single fault. This is a reality that everyone needs. Everyone needs with peace, with God. There is not peace with God. Any other way? Cornelius was a good man. Devout, feared God, generous, prayed three times a day, but he did not have peace with God. That's only found. By faith. In Christ. Paul also says in Romans 3 God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, and this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are, for everyone has sinned. We all fall short of God's glorious. Cornelius was not right with God. He was seeking God. He wanted to be right with God, but he was not right with God. And entering into Judaism at that point would not have brought him into right relationship with God. Because Christ had come, the new covenant is in place. And so the only way for us to be made right with God is by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And notice, Paul says. This is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. Let that settle in. Let that sink and understand everyone, you and everyone around you. Only have the opportunity for peace with God. Through the work. Of Jesus Christ and what he has done on. Our behalf, well, finally point #3 everyone who believes in Jesus is forgiven. Verse 42 through 48. Here's what it says. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all the living and the dead. He is the one all the Prophets testified about saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name, even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit. Fell upon all who were. Listening to the message, the Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God. Then Peter asks, can anyone object to their being baptized now that they've received the Holy Spirit, just as we did? So we gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward, Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days. Peter continues preaching his message. It doesn't seem that he's quite finished, but he gets interrupted by a work of God and the Holy Spirit comes upon Cornelius and his whole household. And this is often referred to as the Gentile Pentecost. The acts chapter 2, the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Jewish believers. The Jewish Church right here. Now the Gentiles have this experience as well. This same event happens for people who are completely separate. From Judaism and the heritage of Abraham. Cornelius was a Goodman, devout, feared God. He was generous. He prayed three times a day. But he was not a forgiven man. His sins had not been cleansed. He had not not been washed and purified. Until right now. As Peter goes on, he says Jesus called us to preach. He was appointed by God to be the judge of All Jesus stands over all. He's the judge of the living and the dead. This is the one all the prophets testified about. All those scriptures. The the prophets of old, they they taught about the coming Messiah. He is that one and everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name. Everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven, and there was something happening in the heart of Cornelius's household. As Peter was saying, these words, all of the dotted lines were being connected together. We know about Jesus. We've heard about him. We know about Judaism. And we know about the scriptures, but now all this is Jesus is the fulfillment of all that God has promised and prophesied in the scriptures. He is the savior that God has promised, and that through the name of Jesus, everyone is forgiven. And the heart. Of the people of Cornelius's household. Believed that message wholeheartedly, so that verse 44, even as Peter was Peter was saying these things. The Holy Spirit fell upon. All who were listening to the message. Salvation happened right there in the moment. You know, typically we think of. OK, so then after the gospel presentation, then there's an altar call and come forward if you want to be saved or raise your hand or you know, there's those types of things. That's not what happened here. It's also an indication that's not likely when salvation takes place, when the decision is made to come forward. Is more likely the time. The opportunity that moment of salvation, because they're just listening to what Peter is saying, they're believing it. And God pours out his Holy Spirit upon them because they. Have been saved. Because they've put their faith in Jesus Christ just listening to the words that Peter was preaching. Warren Rasby puts it this way. Peter then announces the good news. Everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven. His hearers laid hold of that word, everyone. Applied to themselves, believed on Jesus Christ. And were saved. Peter says everyone who believes in him, and they're like, whoa, I'm an everyone. I believe in Jesus. I can be saved. And then boom. God pours out the Holy Spirit as a confirmation. Yes, you are redeemed. Your sins are forgiven. The word was true. Here in verse 45 we see. The Jewish believers are amazed. God had prepared Peter with. This vision of the unclean animals. He was probably a little bit less shocked. Still shocked, I would suggest, but less shocked. He was a little bit more prepared for what was about to happen, but the others who came with him, these six guys, they were like, what is going on? No idea that this was God's plan, that God could save everyone who believes in Jesus. So, Peter says, can anyone object to their being baptized? Listen, prior to this, if there wasn't that outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the six guys accompanying Peter, they would have objected. If Peter said, hey, raise your hand if you want to accept Jesus and I'll pray for you. And then they prayed and the people were saved, but there was no outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The other six Jewish guys, they would have said no, no, no, no, you can't baptize them, Peter. They need to convert to Judaism first. They would have objected. But now Peter is saying, look, God has shown this is his way. God has shown this is the truth. How can anyone object? To the reality of salvation that God has brought. To this household. Thomas Constable points out baptism with the spirit. Was Jesus's sign of his acceptance of them. They believed in Jesus. They were saved, proven, given evidence by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and now baptism with water was their sign of acceptance of him. He gave them a sign and now he they're going to give him a sign. Yes, we will be obedient. We will respond to the instruction and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Because we've been forgiven. Because everyone who believes in Jesus is. Believing in Jesus is more than just knowledge of the facts. Again, Cornelius and his household had a surface understanding that Jesus existed, that he walked, that he died, that he resurrected they they had heard about all of these things. But it was only at this. Time that they had that personal acceptance. Of the truth. That they looked to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of their own sins. And they determined to live their lives to honor Jesus. God shows no favoritism. Let us learn this lesson fully and thoroughly. Devout religion is not enough to save anyone. There's no one who can get. To write relationship with God. From faith in Jesus Christ, everyone needs peace with God that Jesus provides. And everyone who believes in Jesus. Forgiven the old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. This it's God's perspective. It's the way that. He works. It is. The gospel and it's an appropriate time for us to continue to reflect on that and consider that by partaking of communion together. And so Kim's going to come up and lead us in a. Closing song to help prepare our hearts for a time of communion and the ushers are going to pass out the bread and the cup. In the same way that baptism was the next step for Cornelius and his household. Another institution like baptism that the Lord had established was communion. This is what believers do when you believe in Jesus Christ and have been forgiven, you have peace with God. Then Jesus said now regularly remind yourself of that by partaking of communion with the body of Christ. Partake of the bread. Which represents my body partake of the cup which represents my blood that is shed for the remission of sins. And so we get the opportunity to follow the example of Cornelius's household. To let the reality of our forgiveness, the reality of our peace with God, the reality of our right relationship with God. Be demonstrated. With an act of obedience. To remember Jesus. And partake of these symbols, these reminders that he provided for us, that we would go back and remember. It's not my devoutness. It's not my religiousness. It's not my righteousness. I only. Have this opportunity to relate to God. Because of what Jesus Christ has done for me, and my sins are forgiven, I have peace with God. I have access to God. Because of him. And so let's worship the Lord. They're going to pass out the bread and the cup and you can pratique between you and the Lord cause you have access to him. You have peace with him. You work out what you need to with the Lord, and I encourage you, as you do, invite the Lord to speak to. You and to reveal to you. If there's some things that are out of line, if there's things that are out of sorts, things, attitudes, mindsets that you have that are not God's ways. Let this be a time where you invite the Lord. To wash you, to cleanse you. To speak to you and to transform you to make you more like him. And so let's worship the Lord together and partake of communion. Just as the Lord instructed us to.