Summary: God initiates, He is actively working. God instructs, He is constantly speaking. God empowers, His plan will be fulfilled.
GOD INITIATES… He is actively working
We have literally been SEEING GOD AT WORK THROUGH THE CHURCH. God is actively working in reaching the lost back to Himself.
• We’ve now come to the 10th chapter in Acts and it is undeniably clear that God has been initiating His moves.
• He was not at all passive, but actively involved in the lives of the people. In fact, it looks like He is more involved that we care to believe.
If His desire is to reach a lost world back to Himself, then He must be working today, as much as He has been in the times of ACTS.
• We are not called to initiative anything new. We are called to join Him at what He has been doing and is still doing today.
• If we make ourselves available, we’ll see God working out His will through us.
We see God making His moves again in Acts 10.
• He reveals His plan to both the seeker, Cornelius and the one with the answer, Peter through visions.
• Both needed help - one seeking to know God but without Christ he could not, the other, a disciple who can share Christ, but without a heart change he would not.
• God prepared them and brought them together. It was a divine appointment.
God brought these TWO together the same way He brought Philip and the Ethiopian man together, the same way He brought Ananias and Saul together – miraculously!
• God is still actively bringing TWO people together! Every encounter we have in sharing Christ is a divine appointment!
• Watch out for those whom the Lord brings near to you, because there is no coincidence with God.
Cornelius was a military man. A centurion was an officer, perhaps equivalent to today’s rank of captain, who commanded a group of about 100 soldiers.
• He was portrayed as devout and God-fearing. And he was a generous man, who gives to the poor and needy.
• But he was not saved. Religion cannot save him. Morality cannot save him. Good works cannot save him.
• You can have all of these and still be lost. Your sin needs to be dwelt with and only Jesus can resolve that.
But Cornelius desires to seek God. Those who seek Him will surely find Him.
• It reminds me of God’s promise in Jer 29:11-14 to the people of Israel: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.”
• God is not interested in playing ‘hide-and-seek’ with you. He wants to save you.
• So God directed Cornelius to find Peter – the one who could tell him about Jesus.
And the Lord worked to prepare Peter’s heart. He must overcome his prejudice and allows even the Gentiles to embrace his Messiah JESUS.
• God showed him a vision of unclean animals and commands him to kill and eat.
• The Jewish laws forbid them from eating “unclean” animals, specified in Lev 11. They were given during the times of the Exodus while they were in the wilderness, for hygienic purposes.
• Peter protested: “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
• And the voice said: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
What you considered unclean – in his mind, the Gentiles, the irreligious ones – the Lord says, I will make them clean.
• God showed this 3 times in the vision, to get it across to Peter.
• And then Cornelius’ men arrived at his house. Peter might not have fully understood the vision, but he was prepared.
• The Spirit of God said, “Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” (10:20)
GOD INSTRUCTS… He is constantly speaking
God instructed Philip, Saul, Ananias and now Cornelius and Peter.
• They may not know what to do but God knows. And He speaks and He guides.
• If this is so, then we need to be LISTENING and be TEACHABLE.
In both cases when God speaks to them, the recipients were praying.
• Cornelius was praying in his house at three in the afternoon (10:30). Peter was on the roof top praying when he saw the vision (10:10).
• According to Jewish customs, they pray 3 times a day – morning (9am), afternoon (3pm), night (9pm).