Daily Thought for: 23rd November

CORNELIUS (2)

Acts 10. 9-11. 1

Luke is careful to record the visit of the delegation sent by Cornelius to Joppa, and the unique experience which happened to Peter just as they were arriving. God was preparing His chosen servant to preach to them, but Peter was slow to learn God’s ways in this matter. He had already seen Samaria receive the word of God, but was still slow to preach to Gentiles. This is why he was shown the vision of the ‘great sheet’ and heard the message, ‘What God hath cleansed, that call thou not common’. Peter’s thoughts on the matter were interrupted by the Spirit of God, ‘Arise therefore . . . go with them . . . I have sent them’. 

The Servant. Not every preacher has a request from the unsaved to preach to them! But Peter had learned he was moving in the will of God, and that God was sending him on this journey. On arrival, Cornelius fell down before him, but Peter protested that he was only a man. Every servant of God must be marked by humility. 

The Sermon. Many were gathered in the house to hear, and the opening words of Peter, ‘God is no respecter of persons’, reveal that he had learned from these incidents that the gospel is for all mankind. As he preached it was a message which emphasized that Jesus Christ is Lord. It also told of His sinless life, and His death upon the tree, and was also a message which spoke of His resurrection. The preacher gave clear testimony to the truth of coming judgement. In closing Peter made clear that forgiveness of sins is gained by faith, ‘whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins’, v. 43. 

The Sequel. This sermon was divinely interrupted; ‘While Peter yet spake . . . the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word’, v. 44. It must not be thought they had not first believed, because later we learn ‘the Gentiles had also received the word of God’, Acts 11. 1. This is a unique section, running in parallel to Acts 2. There the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jewish believers for the first time, but here it was on Gentile believers for the first time; see Acts 10. 44-48, and Acts 11. 16-18. Yes, Cornelius and his friends had heard the preaching of the gospel, they had believed it and were saved. 

 

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