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Salvation for Every Nation #4

18/03/2020

Salvation for Every Nation #4

Part 4, Two Lessons from Peter’s Arrival at a Gentile Home

Reading: Acts 10:24-48

God brings Peter and Cornelius together, and works a tremendous outcome to the whole account!

 

1. A Gentile Learns that Worship Belongs ONLY to the Lord! Verse 24-28

Peter, along with the three men from Cornelius, and six others, ( 11:12,) had made their way from Joppa to Caesarea. It would have been  an overnight journey, and so they arrived  the next morning. (v24)   A reception committee was awaiting them.

  • Cornelius’s misdirected worship! Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet to worship him! Now no-one should worship a man! Any man! Who do we worship?  Who do YOU worship?  Because we all worship someone, or something, its what we were made for.  It’s very easy to make an idol out of another human being.  A celebrity, and sports personality, even a preacher.  Have you ever heard preachers who sound exactly like some famous pastor or evangelist? Romans 12:3. In Cornelius’ case there may have been reasons for this man worship, it may well have been because of :-
  • His openness to God! Cornelius had just had a wonderful experience of the Lord, which few men have been privileged to have. God had revealed himself to this man in a wonderful way. He wasn’t getting everything just right yet, but he was truly amazed, with a sense of wonder, at what God had done! As Christians – Have we lost that sense of wonder,
  • His false religion. He was not a Jew. Perhaps he did not know that men are not to be worshipped.  In his own religious world-view, it was quite normal to regard a person as a god, for example Caesar was worshipped.
  • His being overawed by Peter’s presence. Here was the great apostle! Perhaps Cornelius just felt humbled in the presence of one who was so obviously full of God’s Holy Spirit. Perhaps he just didn’t know how to express his joy and his respect for God’s servant!

Whatever the reason was, Cornelius was wrong to worship Peter. The only One worthy of our worship is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God.  So listen to Peter’s response, But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. Acts 10:26 In God’s kingdom, none of us are above the others! If we are in God’s kingdom at all, it is simply because we are sinners saved by Grace!  So, let us examine ourselves, are we giving the Lord the honour and glory due to him alone?   Psalm 96:4-9

It is worth pointing out that Peter did not hesitate to catechise this man, even at this very early stage in his conversion. It is never too soon to teach young believers, even those who seek after the Lord!  Christians need to learn basic truth, Christian doctrine and practice as soon as possible. Even in Sunday School. It must never descend into being a creche, or a religious baby-sitting service!

 

2 A Jew Learns that Before God All Men Are Equal! 

Now we see another lesson being learned. Verse 28,  

Now this ‘law’ to which Peter refers, was not God’s law! It was not in the Pentateuch or the Law of Moses, it was simply a custom or a tradition of the Jews! (The Greek word here is a αθεμιτov, – against tradition, rather than αvoµos, – against law). Now God had set a partition between his own people and the heathen nations around about them, for their own purity and separation! This they had largely ignored! But the Jews of Peter’s day had rebuilt that wall, and some of them had built it much higher than ever the Lord had intended! A righteous Jew would not enter the home of a Gentile, nor approach one, nor start a conversation with one, nor even be seen in the vicinity of one if possible! Now Peter entered Cornelius’ home, spoke with him and broke down years of Jewish tradition, custom and practice!  Acts 10:28

We find this throughout the Scriptures…. Galatians 3:28  Romans 2:11  Leviticus 19:33-34 John 13:16 Acts 10:34-35 Mark 12:31 Before God we are all equal, we are all sinners who need the Saviour.  

Two great lessons! How applicable they are when taken together, for us! The Jews thought that Gentiles were dogs! Cornelius thought that Peter was God! And together they learned that we should never elevate any man beyond what he is, (a sinner) and we should never lower any man below what he is, a lost soul, who needs the Lord.   Peter refused to be treated like a god, and was learning that he should not treat another like a dog! 

From → Acts, Bible Study

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