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Peter and Cornelius: Two Dreams, One Vision (Acts 10:1-16)

September 3, 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 sharply rebukes segregation amongst the Body of Christ, because the Gospel overcomes prejudices. Pastor Carter calls to attention the primary ministry of the Church, namely, reconciliation. The focus of this sermon is on how God gave two visions, a vision to a Gentile and a vision to a Jew, for building His Church among all nations.

Cornelius: A Vision to a Gentile

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa (Acts 10:1-8;ESV).”

In the first vision, God sought Cornelius, so that there might be one people. Although Cornelius was not Jewish, Scripture describes him as a devout man, meaning that he was a religious man or thought seriously about religious things. He concerned himself with who God is and feared Him, seeking to worship him through good works and continually prayed (v. 2). However, Pastor Carter exclaims that it is God who does the initiating and seeking. What God does in seeking and saving people is change hearts who initially ran away from Him to running after Him (Luke 19:10). 20140311-184658.jpg

Peter: A Vision to a Jew

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him:“Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven (Acts 10:9-16; ESV).”

In the second vision, God taught Peter, so that Peter would understand that there is only one people. Before Cornelius’ men could get to Peter, God had to teach Peter that he, like many other Jews, had mistaken God’s favor for favoritism. Accepting and receiving Gentiles into full communion was the greatest hurdled for the Jewish Church and the Apostles to overcome. Peter was hungry and God used this time to illustrate His point. God was showing Peter not only do Gentiles and Jews go together, but also they are good together.

Whose report will you believe?

When people seek God sincerely, He delights to reveal Himself (Isaiah 55:6; Hebrews 11:6). Those who would seek after Him must do so prayerfully, reverentially, generously, and through Jesus Christ (2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 4:12). Subsequently, God, as He oftentimes does has to shake His children from their comfort zones, so that they might be a blessing to those whom He has chosen. What God says settles it. We must believe the report of the Lord, even though this is difficult at times, by responding, “Lord, I will go where You say go; I will do what You want me to do; and I will say whatever You want me to say” (Matthew 7:12-13, 26:36-46; John 12:23-28, 18).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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