Summary: Peter came to a point where he was able to overcome his prejudice. This sermon examines how he came to that point, and shares how we can get there, too.
* "The most segregated house in America is 11:00 on Sunday."
* The reality/existence of prejudice in Christianity and the church...
* Prejudice in the church takes many forms...
* Not a new issue for the church to face: it has existed for almost as long as the church itself
* The problem that existed then still exist today: Prejudice prevents a church from fulfilling its mission and reveals the pride that we harbor and that God hates
* Acts 1:8 = "Jerusalem," "Judea and Samaria," "the end of the earth."
- The church began in Jerusalem and was all Jewish (6:7)
- The church then expanded into Judea and Samaria (8:1)
- It has yet to begin to reach the ends of the earth (Gentiles)
* The prejudice between Jews and Gentiles...
* Acts 10: A Jew (Peter) will help the Gospel get to the end of the earth by overcoming his prejudices and sharing the Gospel with a Gentile (Cornelius)
* How did Peter get to a point where he was able to overcome his prejudice? What does his example teach us?
1. Peter viewed people as God views people.
* Verse 26, 28, 34
* How does God view people?
A. God views all people as equally valuable to him
- There was no distinction between Peter's worth and Cornelius' worth
B. God views himself as the judge of man (Ps. 50:6; Luke 6:37)
- Like Peter (v. 28), we have no biblical authority to judge a person based on their externals.
C. God views all people as in need of a Savior (v. 34)
- Rom. 3:12
2. Peter understood God as the God of all nations.
* A prejudiced church fails to see God as the God of all the nations.
* Note verse 35
* God is not an American god!
* We must view those of all nations - even those who hate us and our God - as people for whom Christ died and people who need the Gospel as badly as we did
* We cannot overcome our national pride and prejudice until we understand God as the God of all nations
3. Peter desired to answer Jesus' prayer for unity
* The prayer Jesus prayed = John 17:20-21
* Note verse 47 = "We are one in Christ."
* Gal. 3:28
* No second-rate citizens in God's kingdom; no second class of people in God's church
* Prejudice keeps such unity from happening and fails to give the world the answer to sin that is found in Jesus Christ
4. Peter wanted to fulfill the Great Commission
* Peter's emphasis on "anyone" (v. 35) and "everyone" (v. 43)
* Peter understood that the Great Commission involves all people, even those different from him...those that he, as a Jew, was prejudiced against (cf. vs. 14-16)
* The same Great Commission is given to us: to carry the Gospel to all people in our community and to do whatever we can do to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth
* The choice we face: Which do I desire to do the most...hold on to my prejudices or fulfill the Great Commission
5. Peter was prepared for eternal worship
* Explain concept of what we do on earth as preparation for what we'll do in heaven
* Our worship of God on earth should reflect what our worship will be in eternity
* If we're going to worship in eternity with people different from us, why are some opposed to doing that on earth?
* Rev. 7:9-10