Cultures Collide – New Culture
Acts 10:23-48 – December 18, 2022
Acts 10:21-23. Peter would have been terribly shocked to find three Gentiles, including a Roman soldier looking for him. A gentile, a Centurion wanted to hear the gospel from Peter.
Acts 10:24-26. Cornelius faith is demonstrated for us as he was waiting for Peter, a man he had never met.
Acts 10:27-29. They went into the house together. In entering the house of a Gentile, Peter violated Jewish customs and traditions that strictly forbade such an action. Stott commentary to say, The principle subject of this chapter is not so much the conversion of Cornelius as the conversion of Peter.
Acts 10:30-33. Cornelius was praying, and in many versions also fasting, his prayer was more important than food. God heard his prayer even though he was not a Christian nor a Jew. Now he and those in his house wanted to hear the gospel, they wanted to hear what God wanted Peter to share with them. This is a GREAT setup for a Pastor – for Peter, you come wanting to share a message and those waiting for it, want to hear it and want to hear and have prepared their hearts to hear it.
Acts 10:34-43. When Peter said I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, that became the foundation for the gospel that was to go out to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. This was deeply contrary to Jewish thought at the time when Jewish men began their day by praying and thanking God, he was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a
woman. Basically, they believed God favored Jews over Gentiles, that He loved the Jews and hated the Gentiles. This was not the way it was meant to be as stated in Isaiah 42:6
Gentiles detested Jews believing them to be worshippers of pigs as they would not eat pig meat. This all changed as the gospel spread throughout the known world as the gospel, Christianity/the way, was the first religion to see men and women as equal before God, and there were no racial, cultural, or national limitations. God only looks at a person’s heart, not their color, master/slave status, male or female, social status i.e. rich or poor, Jew or Gentile. God is only interested in the condition of the heart. Peter identified Jesus as Lord of all, God over all – Jew and Gentile alike. Then Peter said Jesus was killed by hanging on a tree after all of the good things He had done, but God raised Him on the third day. This was essentially the same message Peter preached to Jews, concluding with that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Whoever believes!!
Then something shocking happened.
Acts 10:44-46. Salvation came to the Gentiles as they believed in their hearts Jesus had died for their sins and had risen on the third day. They listened and they believed in their hearts. Because they believed the Holy Spirit took over and these new believers spoke in other languages praising God. This is what happened at Pentecost, but on a much smaller scale. Gentiles may have received salvation before, but they did so as Jewish converts not as Gentiles. Here in Caesarea, in the home of a Gentile, as Gentiles they received salvation.
Acts 10:47-48. Peter commanded them to be baptized showing their acceptance into the family of believers who followed Jesus. Their baptism made plain they were accepted as followers of Jesus as Gentiles. What we are witnessing in this chapter of Acts is the fulfillment of God’s word. In Isaiah 60:1-3, Still, while we know Cornelius was a good man, he needed Jesus, just as all good people who are humble before God need to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, putting their faith in Him because of what He did for them.
Bottom Line: Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6, For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.