Tonight we continue our study of the book of Acts. Remember we are using the Scriptural outline for the book found in 1:8.
(Acts 1:8b) "…Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Tonight we continue studying the development of Christianity in Jerusalem.
I. Christianity in Jerusalem 1:1-8:3
A. The risen Lord 1:1-26
B. Pentecost 2:1-47
C. The Healing of a Lame Man 3:1-26
D. The beginning of persecution 4:1-37
E. Purging the Church 5:1-42
F. Conflict within the Church 6:1-7
G. Stephen - The First Martyr 6:8 - 8:3
II. Christianity in Judea and Samaria 8:4-12:25
A. Christians scattered and the ministry of Philip - Acts 8:4-40
B. The Conversion of Paul 9:1-31
C. The Conversion of Gentiles 9:32-11:30
1. The preparation of Peter 9:32-10:22
a. Peter and Cornelius (10:1-22)
1) The vision of Cornelius v 1-8
a) Cornelius was a centurion in charge of 100 soldiers in the Italian regiment
b) He is described as being devout and God fearing, benevolent and faithful to lead his household in prayer and worship of Jehovah
c) However, he wasn't Jewish and he wasn't a Christian - but he was sincere in his desire to please God d) God gave him instructions, through a vision, to send for Peter -
NOTE: God knew exactly where to find Peter - He was preparing both of them for something very special
2) The vision of Peter v 9-16
a) About the time the men were nearing the city Peter was going up to the housetop to pray
b) While Peter was hungry - he fell into a trance and received a vision from God
c) God let down a sheet from heaven filled with all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds; and He commanded Peter to rise, kill, and eat
d) Peter refused because these were unclean according to the law but God rebuked Peter saying, "what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
e) This was done three times and then it was taken back up into heaven.
3) The visit of the messengers
a) While Peter was trying to understand the meaning of this vision - the men from Cornelius had arrived and were asking for Peter
b) The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter telling him that he was to go with these men and not doubt because He had sent them. v 17-23a
c) Peter goes down and speaks with the men about why they had come
d) They explain why by relating the vision Cornelius received telling him to seek Peter and hear his message
e) After this Peter invites them to stay
2. The Preaching of Peter 10:23b-48
a. Peter and Cornelius v 23-33
1) Peter, the three messengers, and certain brethren from Joppa left for Caesarea (23)
2) As they entered the city they find Cornelius and a group of his family and friends (24-27)
NOTE: Cornelius exercised faith in God's message and in God's man
3) As Peter entered Cornelius fell upon his face and began to worship Peter
a) If Peter was first Pope, as the Catholic church claims, he would have told Cornelius to kiss his ring or his feet - but
b) Peter refused his worship saying that he was just a man and encouraged him to stand up
4) Peter addresses the assembled group v28-29
a) From his greeting we find that he fully understood what God was trying to teach him through the vision
b) He is now yielded to do whatever God would have him do.
c) He asks Cornelius why he had sent for him
5) Cornelius shares his vision from God v30-33
a) After Cornelius recounted the circumstances that brought Peter to his house he tells Peter that they were all ready to hear what God had commanded Peter to tell them
b) They were prepared to hear the message of God!
b. Peter and the Word v 34-48
1) Peter's message (34-43)
a) God is no respecter of persons - this is the major point of God's vision to Peter (it isn't who you are, but whose you are!)
b) He gives them the gospel message! ... that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins!"
2) The response (44-48)
a) They believed the message and received the Holy Spirit
NOTE: This was the third account of the Holy Spirit's work in the early church Previously the promise of the Holy Spirit was to those who would repent and be baptized (Ac 2:38) Then in Samaria He came by the laying on of hands (Ac. 8:14-17) This attests to the transitional nature of these early chapters
b) They spoke in tongues - languages - and were understood to be magnifying God (Not gibberish)
1] 'Tongues' are a sign to the unbelieving Jew
(1 Corinthians 14:22) Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
2] God granted this sign to show the Jews that He was at work among the Gentiles
c) The Jews who had come with Peter from Joppa were astonished - they could hardly believe their eyes! or their ears!
d) Peter asked if any could object to these Gentiles being baptized since they had received the Holy Spirit as had they on the day of Pentecost
e) Without objection they were baptized and remained in fellowship with Peter and the others for several days
Next time: Peter defends himself before the Jerusalem church.