Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel
preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk
– Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church
loved? Target 4400 words
On the day of Pentecost, the church was born. It began with the Holy Spirit
filling the believers. As the apostles preached about Jesus, the church began
By chapter seven, the church was beginning to experience persecution. Stephen
was the first one to die for his faith. With the persecution, the church began
to scatter, and the message of the gospel actually increased as more people
heard about Jesus.
One of the main men behind the persecution was a man named Saul. But when
Saul headed for the city of Damascus to pursue the Christians there, he was
knocked off his horse by a bright light and he met Jesus. We will see Saul in a
few weeks using a new name, Paul.
The last chapter ended with a glimpse of the apostle
Peter’s ministry. He healed the sick and even raised the dead. Peter is now
staying in the city of Joppa with a man named Simon the tanner.
10:1-8 Cornelius’ Vision
:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called
Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
Caesarea was a fairly new city,
built by Herod the Great as a tribute to his Roman patrons.
While we tend to think of Jerusalem as the capital, it was only the capital
to the Jews, and was the center of religious power.
The actual political power was seated in Caesarea.
It was where the Roman governors lived.
It was a seaport city 30 miles
north of Joppa.
Play “Joppa & Caesarea” clip
We’ve last left Peter in the city of Joppa (modern Tel Aviv). He will
travel 30 miles north to the city of Caesarea.
:1 Cornelius – “of a horn”
It’s a Latin name (he is a Roman
A Roman officer in charge of 100 men. The New
Testament tells us about several of these “centurions” and their connection to
One of them witnessed the crucifixion.
(Mk 15:39 NKJV) So when
the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and
breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
:1 Italian Regiment
A regiment was 1/10 of a Legion, or 600 men.
The Romans had men from lots of nationalities serving in their military.
These men were from Italy. They would be an important part of the Roman governor’s
rule since he would need soldiers especially loyal to Rome to help him rule
over the restless Jews.
:2 a devout man and one who feared God with
all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God
:2 devout – eusebes– pious, dutiful
:2 one who feared God
This was one of the ways that Jews would categorize those Gentiles who
worshipped Yahweh, but were not circumcised. They were called “God fearers”.
:2 gave alms – eleemosune– mercy, pity; a donation to the poor
There was another Roman centurion who had encountered Jesus in the city of
Capernaum. This man had a servant who had become ill, and he had requested
Jesus to heal his servant.
(Lk 7:4–5 NKJV) —4 And when
they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He
should do this was deserving, 5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
This man had been generous to the Jews as well.
: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!”
:3 about the ninth hour
This also just happens to be the “hour of prayer”, the time of the evening
sacrifice for the Jews, the same time that Peter and John went into the temple
and healed the lame man (Acts 3).
: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
:4 Your prayers and your alms
God had been touched by this man’s heart for God.
:4 memorial – mnemosunon– a
memorial (that by which the memory of any person or thing is preserved), a
: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.”
:6 He will tell you what you must do
The angel isn’t going to give anymore instructions than this. It’s going to
be up to Peter to take it from there.
God uses people
God could simply use angels to preach the gospel, and apparently, there
will be a day during the Tribulation when this will happen (Rev. 14:6).
But for now, it seems that God’s instrument of choice is simple people,
like you and me.
Sometimes we just hope that God would use somebody else to talk to that
person we’re concerned about, but what if God has been
wanting you to be the one to share with them?
: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
:8 he sent them to Joppa
Cornelius is not a man who is shy about his faith in God.
He has two household servants and a soldier who obey their boss’ order to
hunt for a man he’s never met.
10:9-16 Peter’s Vision
: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.
:9 Peter went up on the housetop
Houses typically had something akin to a patio on the roof.
:9 about the sixth hour
Noon. Lunch time.
:10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat;
but while they made ready, he fell into a trance
:10 he became very hungry
God is going to use Peter’s physical hunger to teach him something.
: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.
:12 all kinds of … animals
As Gentiles, we aren’t all that familiar with the Jewish dietary laws. But
to a good Jewish boy (like Peter), there are some animals that are edible, and
others that aren’t.
Some of the inedible animals we would readily agree with – like “bats”.
Some of the inedible animals we would not want to stop eating, like pigs (bacon,
ham, pork chops) and shrimp.
:13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill
:14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common
Peter has been a good Jewish boy and has followed the Levitical
:14 common – koinos– common; Levitically unclean
:14 unclean – akarthartos– not cleansed, unclean
:15 And a voice spoke to him again the
second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
:15 has cleansed – katharizo– to make clean, cleanse
:15 common – koinos– common; Levitically unclean
The voice uses the same words that Peter has used, but turns them around.
The things that God has “cleansed” (so they are no longer “unclean”), you
should be careful not to call “common”.
:16 This was done three times. And the object was
taken up into heaven again.
:16 done three times
A principle in Scripture is that “truth” is determined by two or more
(Dt 19:15 NKJV)
“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity
or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter
shall be established.
You will see this in places where a dream is repeated twice
When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, it was significant that the theme
of the two dreams was repeated. Joseph told Pharaoh:
(Ge 41:32 NKJV) And the
dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by
God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
Peter’s dream is repeated three times. This is something to pay attention
We’re going to see that Peter doesn’t quite understand the full
implications of this dream. Not yet.
10:17-23 Peter’s Visitors
: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
:18 whose surname was Peter
Our English word “surname” refers to your “last name”.
Here is refers to the more “common” name that people used.
We usually know him as “Peter”, but the name he was actually born with was
: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
:20 doubting – diakrino– to separate, make a distinction; hesitate, doubt
A time to trust
There are certainly times when we need to “doubt” or ask questions.
The noun form of this word is diakrisis, the word translated “discernment”.
But there are going to be times when God is leading you and you need to
just do what God says to do.
Jesus said this was an important part in prayer, learning to trust God and
ask for the things He wants us to ask for.
(Mk 11:23 NKJV) For
assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast
into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things
he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
James said that doubting in prayer only makes you unstable.
(Jas 1:5–7 NKJV)
—5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all
liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let
him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea
driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the
Abraham, the father of “faith”, learned to not question the promises of
(Ro 4:20 NKJV) He did not
waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith,
giving glory to God,
The word “waver” is this word “doubting”.
There is a time to ask questions beloved.
But there is also a time to trust and do what God is asking you to do.
Peter was willing to put his doubt on the back burner and follow God’s
: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.
:23 some brethren from Joppa
Peter isn’t going alone. He is going to take some of the believing Jewish men
Remember that up to this time, ALL Christians were Jewish.
Peter is not going to be alone when the important events take place.
We’ll see (11:12) that there are six men accompanying Peter.
(Ac 11:12 NKJV) —12 Then the
Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren
accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.
It will be important that the events have a significant number of brothers
10:24-33 Peter meets Cornelius
:24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting
for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.
I find Cornelius’ faith refreshing. He has been instructed by an angel to
send for Peter. He fully expects a man named Peter to not only exist, but to
come back and share something important with him.
And Cornelius is so excited about this, that he has brought his friends and
relatives together to hear as well.
We might think that Cornelius was a little goofy. “Want to come to my house
today?” “What for Cornelius?” “To hear what this guy has to say” “What guy?” “A
guy named Peter I’ve never met or heard of”.
: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.”
:25 fell down at his feet and worshiped him
worshiped – proskuneo– to kiss the hand to (towards) one, by kneeling or prostration to
do homage, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
Peter knows that only God should be worshiped. Peter knows that he isn’t
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we’re the brains
behind the operation.
David N. Dinkins, then the mayor of New York, was riding through the city in his limousine with
his wife, Joyce. Looking out the window, they recognized a man doing manual
labor on the roadside as “John,” a former suitor of Mrs
Dinkins’. Seeing him, the mayor smiled a bit smugly at his wife. “You must be
so glad,” he said, “to be married to the powerful
mayor in the limo rather than to poor John shoveling alongside the road.” His
wife smiled. “If I’d married John, he’d be with me in the mayor’s limo.”
Peter is quick to remember that he’s just
an average guy. It’s the Lord who gets the credit for everything.
(Is 42:8a NKJV) I am
the Lord, that isMy name;And My glory I will not give to another
: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.
:28 God has shown me
Putting it together
Back in verse 15, Peter had been told,
(Ac 10:15 NKJV) …“What God
has cleansed you must not call common.”
Remember the words we saw used, “cleansed”, and “common”.
Yet in verse 17 we found that Peter didn’t understand it all … not
(Ac 10:17 NKJV) Now while
Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant…
Now Peter gets it.
It often works that way in our lives.
We get little pieces of the puzzle. We wonder what it all means. Then one
day the pieces all come together.
Don’t rush it. Don’t force the pieces into place.
:28 I should not call any man common or
This would be a hard thing for someone raised in Judaism.
All of his life, Peter has been taught that Gentiles were unclean.
You don’t spend time with Gentiles. You don’t associate
For us, it’s a little more subtle, but it’s still there.
When some of us were kids, it was the “hippies” that most people considered
And a lot of hippies were actually pretty dirty.
It took Chuck Smith’s wife Kay to help Chuck realize that God loved the
The Jesus Movement began when the “nice” people in church
began to love the “unclean”.
Though Jesus spent very little time with Gentiles, He did cross a few lines
now and again.
(Mt 9:10–13 NKJV)
—10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that
behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His
disciples. 11 And when
the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher
eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well
have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and
learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to
Today, there are other sorts of people that we might call “unclean”.
Some people still struggle with racial prejudice.
Others have a problem with those in the homosexual community.
Some of us don’t want to spend time with people who are of a different
political party than we are.
What does this principle mean that Peter shares?
If God doesn’t want us to call any person “common or unclean”, how does
that affect us?
Does that mean that we tolerate or even endorse behavior that is unbiblical?
I think this is where we learn how to love the sinner but
hate the sin.
But be careful that your hate for the sin doesn’t cross a
line where you never spend any time with “sinners”.
: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
: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
10:34-43 Peter preaches about Jesus
:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that
God shows no partiality.
:34 God shows no partiality
partiality – prosopoleptes– (“face” + “receive”) an acceptor of persons; one who
This is a truth that the Bible already has been clear about:
(Dt 10:17 NKJV)
For the Lord your God
is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who
shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
But just how far do you take it? Up
to this point Peter would not have even thought it
possible that a Gentile person could come to know God.
It’s not easy to deal with prejudice. We have the silliest ideas behind
some of our prejudices.
A Chinese man and a Jewish man were eating lunch together. Suddenly,
without warning the Jewish man gets up, walks over to the Chinese fellow and
smashes him in the mouth, sending him sprawling. The Chinese man picks himself
up, rubs his jaw and asks, “What in the world did you do that for?” And the answer
comes back: “For Pearl Harbor!” His response
is total astonishment: “Pearl Harbor? I didn’t
have anything to with Pearl Harbor. It was the
Japanese that bombed Pearl Harbor!” The Jewish
man responds, “Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese—they’re all the same to me. With
that they both sit down again, and before too long the Chinese man gets up,
walks over to the Jewish man and sends him flying with a hard slap to the jaw.
The Jewish man yells out, “What did you do that for?” And the answer comes
back: “The Titanic.” “The Titanic? Why, I didn’t have
anything to do with the Titanic!” Whereupon the Chinese man replies, “Goldberg,
Feinberg, Iceberg—they’re all the same to me!”
God is not a respecter of persons. God wants us to be the same.
(Jas 2:1–4 NKJV)
—1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings,
in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you
pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here
in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at
my footstool,” 4
have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges
with evil thoughts?
Sometimes we tend to be a little nicer to people who might
toss us a nickel or two.Sometimes our
prejudice is based on things other than money…
Peter is blown away that God sent an angel to speak to Cornelius.
Peter is learning that since God shows no partiality, he should do the
: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—
The message of salvation came through the Jews. Jesus was Jewish.
But Peter says now that Jesus is Lord of all, even the Gentiles.
:37 that word you know, which was proclaimed
throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John
: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.
:38 God anointed Jesus
The word “Messiah” means “anointed one”.Since Cornelius is a “God fearer”, he would have understood the
: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
:37 that word you know
Peter has summarized the life of Jesus.
He begins with the baptism of John and ends with the resurrection of Jesus.
Peter seems pretty sure that Cornelius knows all this.
: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.
:42to be Judge of the living and
Jesus not only did all these marvelous things, He is actually the one who
will one day be our judge.
You respect the judge.
I was in court a few months ago and watched what happened when a young punk
showed up in court not dressed with the proper attire, and sporting a bad
attitude to boot.The judge let the kid
have it.I think he learned his lesson.
:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through
His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
:43 whoever believes in Him
Forgiveness comes through faith, through believing in Jesus.
Peter is speaking this to a Gentile audience.
Peter is preaching the gospel to Gentiles.
Do you know Him?
Cornelius was a religious man. He knew something about God.
But he didn’t know God.
Today you can come to know God just like Cornelius did.
You can find forgiveness (remission) for your sins.
You simply need to believe in Jesus.
10:44-48 Gentile Spirit Baptism
:44 While Peter was still speaking these words,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
:44 While Peter was still speaking
Peter has been talking about Jesus, and is apparently interrupted by the
Spirit falling on the Gentiles.
We've seen Luke record six places when the Holy Spirit has been poured out.
Each time God poured out His Spirit, it came in a slightly different manner –
Waiting and prayer (Acts 1:4, 14; 2:1-4)
Prayer (Acts )
Persecution (Acts )
Laying on of hands by apostles (Acts ,17)
Laying on of hands by a non-apostle (Acts )
In the middle of a Bible Study (Acts )
These are all valid ways that God will use to fill us with the Spirit.
Jesus summed up the basic requirements for the filling of the Holy Spirit
like this –
(Jn 7:37–38 NKJV) …“If anyone
thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who
believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his
heart will flow rivers of living water.”
You need to have a need, a thirst for the Holy Spirit, and
you need to believe and open up your heart to receive the power of the Holy
A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) wrote – Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the
desire to be filled must be all-consuming. It must be for the time the biggest
thing in the life, so acute, so intrusive as to crowd out everything else. The
degree of fullness in any life accords perfectly with the intensity of true
desire. We have as much of God as we actually want.
: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
:45 those of the circumcision …were
The Jewish believers that had accompanied Peter were blown away with what
They were watching Gentiles actually get saved.
:45 the gift of the Holy Spirit
This phrase, along with “the Holy Spirit fell upon” are
both phrases used in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost for the Baptism of the Holy
:46 speak with tongues and magnify God
This was what clued the Jewish believers that the Holy Spirit had fallen on
Not all speak in tongues when they are baptized with the Spirit, but these
Gentiles did speak in tongues.
Note: There was “content” to their tongues. They were giving God praise.
:46 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.
:48 he commanded them to be baptized
The Samaritans were baptized in water by Philip, and then later were filled
with the Holy Spirit.
With Cornelius and his house, they believe and receive the baptism of the
Holy Spirit at the same time. When they began to speak with tongues, Peter
realized that they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Because they had believed and God had followed their belief by baptizing
them in the Holy Spirit, Peter realized that these people had become saved, and
so he baptizes them in water as a result.
Note: Baptism follows salvation.
Baptism is an outward demonstration of what God has already done on the inside.