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The Lord of the Languishing (Psalm 6)

October 22, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

This week at East Point Church, we welcomed Pastor Aaron Messner from Westminster Presbyterian Church to our worship service. The sermon for this week shows the effects of sin cause external afflictions and internal turmoil. Pastor Messner acknowledges that the greatest hardships in this life come from man’s inhumanity toward man. The focus of this sermon is on David’s prayer of languishing to the Lord for pain he felt at the hands of his enemies, which consisted of a plea for grace, healing and deliverance.

Prayer of Languishing: A Plea for Grace

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,

     nor discipline me in your wrath.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing(Psalm 6:1-2a; ESV)

Pastor Messner describes languishing as a slow ache of the inner man. David identifies with the pain that comes at the hands of others, but he does not legitimize the sin committed against him. Instead, he does something that is counter-intuitive to the world, he prays to the Lord in his time of languishing. He realizes that even as he is being wronged, he must come before God humbly and in repentance because he is also a sinner in need of grace (cf. Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Although, others sin against us, we must not forget that not only have we sinned against others, but also we have sinned against the Lord Himself (Psalm 51:3-4).

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Prayer of Languishing: A Plea for Healing

“…heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.

My soul also is greatly troubled

     But you, O Lord how long (Psalm 6:2b-3)?

David asks the Lord to heal the remaining sorrow and comfort his grief. Physical healing is of great benefit to the body, but only the Lord can heal the pain of the soul. How does He heal and comfort? He heals with His steadfast love. He comforts with His gracious Word (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31-32).

Prayer of Languishing: A Plea for Deliverance

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;

     save me for the sake of your steadfast love.

For in death there is no remembrance of you;

     in Sheol who will give you praise (Psalm 6:4-5)?

Pastor Messner notes here that David was not addressing the issue of heaven and hell, he was concerned with leading others to the Lord (cf. Philippians 1:23-26). Essentially, David is saying, “Deliver me, so that I may praise You in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:11-14). Rather than becoming self-righteous when he was wronged, David entrusted himself to the righteousness of One greater than himself. He lifts up his eyes to the hills, from which comes his help, fully persuaded that his help came from the Lord (Psalm 121). In doing so, he is changed in the moment, because of his hope in the steadfast love and faithfulness of God.

Have you endured what seemed to be an inconsolable grief at the hand of another?

Truly, the offenses that we face at the hands of others create real external affliction and internal turmoil. The temptation is to become self-righteous when you have been wronged. However, to do so is to overlook your own sin against One far more righteous than you.

When sin entered the world through the foolishness of Adam and Eve, humanity was severed from a life-sustaining relationship with God. Nonetheless, in spite of the foolishness of man, God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ to step into history to redeem us, forgive us, and restore us to Himself. Christ is the Great Physician, who came to heal the brokenhearted. He is able to turn you sorrows into great joy (Luke 4:18-19; John 16:20).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

The Death of Herod and the Glory of God (Acts 12:18-25)

October 16, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon demonstrates the goodness and severity of God. Pastor Carter bears witness that the mighty hand of God brings life to one and death to another according to His will. The focus of this sermon is on how the treachery of sin brings about the Glory of God.

The Treachery of Sin

Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there (Acts 12:18-19;ESV).

Pastor Carter defined malice as the intent and desire to do evil or to bring ill will. Herod had malice in his heart and he had every intention to carry it out. His thirst for blood did not cease with the murder of James, and after learning about the escape of Peter, he poured out his wrath on the soldiers. For this reason, Christians are commanded to put away all malice, seeing that malice leads to murder then to madness (Ephesians 4:31-32). When sin goes on unchecked, unrestrained and given free reign, it leads to madness (cf. Daniel 4:30-32).

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The Glory of God

Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, The voice of a god, and not of a man! Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied (Acts 12:20-24; ESV).”

Herod’s life was “good” according to the worldly standards, he was feared and powerful, but he made two grievous errors. First, he persecuted God’s people. Second, he took for himself the praise that belongs only to God. God does not take kind to thieves, especially those who steal from Him (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11). Therefore, in this moment, Herod realized that God does avenge the death of His people and He is deadly serious about upholding justice (cf. Pharaoh, Exodus 3:19, 14:13-14). The judgment of God is a fearful thing, knowing that He is faithful in upholding justice, since His holiness demands that He punish sinners (Hebrews 10:30-31).

What causes me to differ from Herod?

The same God who gives life on one day, choses to take it away on another, for He rains on the just and the unjust (Deuteronomy 32:39-43; 1 Samuel 2:6). However, unlike Herod, unlike us, God is not careless in His judgment, for He does not take pleasure in punishing the wicked (Genesis 50:20; Ezekiel 18:23-32; Matthew 23:37; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). The Church does not gloat when God repays His enemies, because apart from the goodness God in Christ Jesus, we would be His enemies (cf. Proverbs 24:17-18). For the purpose, we preach the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, you either will bring about the glory of God in your life now in Christ or will bring about the glory of God in your death for all eternity.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

From Persecution to Prayer (Acts 12:1-17)

October 9, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon illustrates that Christianity is a real faith, with real people, in a real world. Pastor Carter makes clear the world is not like the Church, neither should the Church be like the world. The focus of this sermon is on two important lessons to know about spiritual warfare, the strength of the world is no match for the Church and the strength of the Church is prayer.

The Strength of the World: Persecution

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people (Acts 12:1-4;ESV).

The strength of the world is violence. Jesus told His disciples that “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:10).” James and Peter were captured by Herod, whose family had a reputation for murdering without hesitation and carried out the works of the devil (cf. Matthew 2:13, 11:12; Mark 6:27; Luke 9:9, 13:31, 23:11). Herod was no longer playing nice with these “Christians”, he set his marks on the leadership of the Church, starting with the Apostle James. Nevertheless, the death of the Church is the seed and power to bear fruit for the Kingdom (John 12:23-28).

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The Strength of the Church: Prayer

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke himAnd the chains fell off his handsAnd he went out and followed himWhen they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left himWhen Peter came to himself, he said, Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting (Acts 12:5,6-11; ESV).”

James is killed, Peter is imprisoned, and the Church begins to pray. They did not take matters into their own hands, instead they casted their cares unto the Lord, who was faithful to give an answer (Matthew 7:7-11). Pastor Carter demonstrated that prayer provided rest and rescue for Peter. There is little doubt that Peter remembered the time when Jesus slept on the boat while a storm was brewing and found himself with this same reliance on God to sustain him despite the troublesome circumstances he faced (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:23-25). Likewise, how amazing it was for Christ to show Peter that He is King of Kings by sending an angel to rescue him, when Peter once thought that Christ was in need of rescue during His hour of temptation (Matthew 26:51-56; John 18:10-11).

Will you stand for Christ or deny Him?

The power of the Gospel is in redemption, forgiveness, and mercy. When the world takes up the sword against Christians, Christians do not respond with the sword, because Christ has called them out of the world (John 17; Romans 12:1-2, 21). Jesus Christ, the King of Glory came into the world to destroy the works of the devil by fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law and laying His life down for His sheep (1 John 3:8).

Are we, as servants, greater than our Master is? If you are in Christ, you are called to do whatever you must do to bring glory to God, whether in your life or death because you realize that nothing can separate from His love (Romans 8:32-39). Biblical faith does not deny reality, but it requires us to rely on God to work all things for His glory and our good.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

God’s Providence in His Church (Acts 11:19-30)

October 1, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon contemplates God’s steadfast love toward a called out people for the sake of empowering them to live distinctly different from the world. Pastor Duncanson points to the providential hand of Christ to govern, sustain, and preserve His Church even in an ungodly world. The focus of this sermon is on the providence of God in persecution, in church planting, in providing a faithful proponent, and in a partnership.

The Providence of God in Persecution

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews (Acts 11:19;ESV).

Surely, the believers in Jerusalem must have been wondering, “Lord, what are you doing?” in their persecution and the death of Stephen. Although, inherent in this question lies a belief that God is working despite the present situation, for He neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121). Pastor Duncanson describes this amazing truth as God’s providence, which is His active and intimate involvement in every event of our lives (cf. Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 12:6-7). Perhaps God scattered them, so that they might scatter the Gospel beyond the walls of Jerusalem.

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The Providence of God in Church Planting

But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord (Acts 11:20-21; ESV).”

Christ was still mighty in the face of the tribulation and persecution. In fact, He committed Himself to personally build His Church through the ministry of His disciples (Genesis 3:15; Matthew 16:18). Even though the disciples in Jerusalem were shortsighted in their Gospel proclamation, the Lord provided men of Cyprus and Cyrene to supply the need in Antioch. The Lord had a plan to plant a church, He sent out His servants to proclaim His message, and He proved Himself strong in the capturing of hearts in Antioch (cf. Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalm 127:1).

The Providence of God in Providing a Faithful Proponent

The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord (Acts 11:22-24, 18;ESV).

Subsequently, while the Lord was working in Antioch, the Church in Jerusalem received word and sent Barnabas. Why do they send Barnabas? Could it be because Barnabas was a good example of someone who was captured by the love of Christ? Scripture describes Barnabas as a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. Therefore, God sent them Barnabas, because this church needed encouragement by one who could identify the power of God and comfort others with the Gospel.

The Providence of God in a Partnership

So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:25-30;ESV).

Meanwhile, the church was growing and Barnabas needed help. Saul, a fellow-laborer of Christ, was a few miles from Antioch in a city called Tarsus, so Barnabas sought him out for support and brought him to Antioch. Christ was showing the world that He was building a church that was distinct from the world. Truly, these disciples in Antioch had begun to make a name for Christ, so much so that those around them gave them the name “Christian”. This church was unbelievable and people took notice of them because they were different people, serving and loving each other as Christ called and empowered them to do (John 13:34-35).

Are we different for Christs sake?

What is the Lord doing? He is giving us an opportunity to imitate our Savior, to serve, and to give generously. The Lord is working out His plans in the world and in our lives for His glory and the good of His people.

Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of Glory, who is strong and mighty, mighty in battle (Psalm 24; Matthew 28:18-20). No matter what the children of God may face in this world, Christ has His quiver full of disciples willing to be sent out as arrows to proclaim the Gospel and the return of their King.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

The Evidence of Grace for the Gentiles (Acts 11:1-18)

September 24, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon testifies to God’s faithful towards the Jews and Gentiles by sending the Gospel at the appointed time. Pastor Carter demonstrates vividly that pride and prejudices resurface in our hearts when we stop marveling at the great salvation secured by the Lord Jesus Christ. The focus of this sermon is on how Peter retells the evidences of unbelievable, undivided, and undeserved grace that the Gentiles received through preaching Christ.

Evidences of Unbelievable Grace

Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them (Acts 11:1-2;ESV).

Throughout history, the Lord has been faithful to send His Word to His people (cf. Hebrews 1:1-4). First, He gave His Word to the children of Israel at Sinai, then through the Law and Prophets until the appointed time, when God would send His eternal Word into the world (John 1:1-16). However, Scripture consistently testifies that God is always faithful in spite of man’s faithlessness (John 20:27). The Jewish people rejected Christ as their King, and even thought His life and message was unbelievable (cf. Mark 14:55-62; Luke 23:13-14; John 10:36-38). Nonetheless, just as it pleased God for Christ to suffer for the sake of redeeming a chosen people, it also pleased Him to set His affections on both Jew and Gentile through the work of Christ (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Romans 9:18-26).

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Evidences of Undivided Grace

But Peter began and explained it to them in order… And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction… If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way (Acts 11:12, 17; ESV).”

The circumcision party and Peter understood that if the Gentiles did in fact receive the Word of God, then they were no longer enemies of God, but children. Pastor Carter describes the circumcision party as those who insisted that circumcision was necessary. Perhaps these men were previous Pharisees before they became Christians, yet they still brought their cultural and ethical baggage into the grace-filled community in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, these within the circumcision party forgot that they are no longer Jews and their works were too feeble to win God’s favor by keeping the Law (Galatians 3:28). Thankfully, Peter resolutely recalls the point of both the vision and visit, to show the Jews that the Gentiles received the same grace because God is gracious even to the underserving (Luke 6:35).

Evidences of Undeserved Grace

As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:15-16, 18;ESV).

Though the Holy Spirit came first to the Jews, the Gentiles received the same importance, power and truth. Peter left Jerusalem with his pride and prejudices. He received a word and vision from God that was unsettling. Then, Peter went to Cornelius’ house to find Gentiles with prepared hearts to receive the Gospel and the power of God confronted his pride and prejudices. Now, returning to Jerusalem humbled by the grace of God with a new mind and renewed spirit Peter left the circumcision party speechless when they heard the evidences of grace toward the Gentiles.

Who am I to stand in Gods Way?

The Jewish nation, like us, made much of the gift rather than of the Giver. Oftentimes, we lose sight of the purpose of God’s grace toward us, which is not given to us to make much of us. If we think that we attributed anything to our salvation, then our natural inclination is to treat the mercy of God as an earning rather than a gift (Romans 4:4-5). Salvation is of the Lord. No one is saved simply by wanting to be saved, but because God chooses to save them.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

The Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-48)

September 17, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon magnifies the grace of Christ toward the nations, who were not a people, but through Him have been reconciled to God. Pastor Carter extols the faithfulness of God to prepare the hearts and minds of those He choses to receive His free offer of salvation. The focus of this sermon is on how Peter preached the peace and the power of God in Christ Jesus, while reminding the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house, that Jesus is for all people, not just Jews.

Peter Preached: The Peace of God in Christ Jesus

As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed (Acts 10:36;ESV).

Sin made humanity an enemy of God. Sin also causes conflict within humanity. For example, men act harshly toward women; women seek to usurp the authority of men; children disobey their parents; and parents kill their own children (Genesis 3:8-19; Matthew 10:21; Romans 1; 2 Timothy 3:1-7). The problem with humanity is sin, which places every sinful man, woman and child under the wrath of God (Romans 6:23). However, Peter brings good news to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house, Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and through Him they can be reconciled to God by faith.

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Peter Preached: The Power of God in Christ Jesus

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead (Acts 10:38-41; ESV).”

Peter had one mission to accomplish as he entered Cornelius’ house, preach Christ. The Lord was faithful in preparing the harvest for Peter (Matthew 9:37-38). The Gentiles in Cornelius’ house were ready and eager to hear the Word of the Lord. Peter proclaims the power of God, namely, that Jesus Christ went about doing the will of God and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. To what end was Peter preaching to these Gentiles? So that they would understand that Christ reconciled them to God by dying the death they deserve and to show them His power over death, since He was raised from the dead.

Jesus Christ: No Respecter of Persons

Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:34-35, 42-43;ESV).

Peter understood that God is impartial in His estimation of humanity (cf. Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14). Pastor Carter explains that for God to be impartial means that He does not see faces, He searches hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). For the first time Peter preached that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people, not simply to Jews (Romans 1:16). Peter acknowledged that Christ made the difference. He reminded Peter that although people are from various nations, He is Lord of all, and chooses people from among the nations as He sees fit (Deuteronomy 7:6-11; John 1:9-13).

How will I be made right with God?

The problem of the world lies in our hearts. There is no peace with God apart from Christ. God sees us all as sinners, because sin does not show partiality.

However, this sin within our hearts, that seeks to dominate us, can be forgiven through Christ (cf. Genesis 4:7). Surely, sin, death, and the devil are relentless enemies. Nevertheless, Christ proved that He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or imagine by powerfully reconciling all who believe in Him to God (John 3:16-21; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 2:14-15).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

Peter and Cornelius: Part 2 (Acts 10:17-33)

September 11, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon prevails upon the pride and prejudices within the human heart through the revelation of the Jesus Christ. Pastor Carter explains that even born-again, baptized, spirit-filled believers need God’s grace to expose them to their sin, so that they may continually rejoice in the mercy of Christ. The focus of this sermon is on how the Holy Spirit enlightens Peter with a new experience, brings a new excitement to Cornelius, and leaves them both with a new expectation.

Peter: A New Experience

Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them. And Peter went down to the men and said, I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming? And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God- fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say. So he invited them in to be his guests (Acts 10:17-23;ESV).

What Peter saw in his vision was mind-blowing, frankly, a hard saying. Peter acknowledged that the Lord is gracious and abounding in steadfast love, so he meditated on the Word he received with the hope of understanding what it meant (cf. Joshua 1:6-8; John 6:60-68; James 1:5). While Peter was pondering this hard saying, the Spirit was working. God was tearing down the wall of pride and prejudices among the Jewish nation, beginning with Peter. When the Spirit of God comes in power and reveals Jesus Christ, there is a new experience.

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Cornelius: A New Excitement

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me (Acts 10:23-29; ESV).”

Subsequently, the Lord – in His omniscience – began a work in Cornelius’ heart to prepare Him for the words of eternal life. Cornelius was excited, so much so, he invited his relatives and close friends to welcome Peter on arrival (cf. John 4:28-29). The excitement of knowing that the Lord heard his prayers overwhelmed Cornelius. Moreover, not only did the Lord hear the prayers of Cornelius, but also salvation would soon come to his house through Peter (cf. Zacchæus, Luke 19:1-9). Peter obeyed the Holy Spirit. He did not hesitate or object, instead he moved with great anticipation and expectation to see the work of the Lord among the Gentiles.

The Gospel: A New Expectation

And Cornelius said, Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord (Acts 10:30-33;ESV).

Why did God choose to reveal Himself through Peter instead of doing so directly? Perhaps, in His wisdom, He chose to use Peter for at least two reasons, 1) Christ told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and 2) Christ would receive more glory from Peter’s witness. First, the Lord graciously exposes Peter’s sin with the purpose of reminding him of the mercy Christ showed him (cf. Luke 5:8). Then, He stirs the heart of Cornelius that he might receive the word from Peter with gladness. Now Peter, after being confronted by the sin in his heart, was ready to humbly proclaim the Gospel (not simply to Jews) but even to the Gentiles.

What is the difference?

Revelation of Jesus Christ makes all the difference in the world. When you come to know Him, you want everybody to know Him. When you come to know Him, like Peter, see your sins as grievous, heinous, and rotten compared to His holiness, yet He is still graciousness toward sinners. Ultimately, when you are enlightened to the revelation of Christ, you realize He can forgive you of your sins because He is strong enough to save you and keep you until He returns. What impact has the Gospel made in your life today?

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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