Summary: A look at Acts 10 where we see Cornelius and Peters life being impacted in such a way that it becomes like a bookmark for them to go back to, to find a source of encouragement and reassurance for the trials life throws at them.

Bookmarked for life Baptism Sermon for 20th March 05

By Paul Collins

What are some uses for bookmarks?

1) Return you to the place you last read from.

2) To stop the pages from getting damaged.

3) To get a message across to others.

4) To clean your fingernails with.

5) Gives you something to fidget with as you read.

6) Helps you to find the next line when used like a ruler.

I think that we all can agree…bookmarks can be incredibly handy cant they.

Today we have a day of baptisms (Praise the Lord)

Two – in our 9am service and two – in our 7pm service.

I have always looked upon baptisms as being

1) A step of obedience to the Word of God - for the person being baptised and a time of testimony of that which God has doing in their lives

but also

2) A bookmark that they can recall - it encourages them to hang in when times get tough.

Our lives as Christians should have a heap of bookmarks in them, recent events that we can recall where we saw the Living God at work in our lives.

We have heard from two people how God broke into their lives, it’s placed a bookmark that they can go back to when times get tough.

I want us to look at an event in Acts 10, which started as a bookmark but has become more like a hallmark…

The whole event starts with a Roman Centurion called Cornelius.

Cornelius Calls for Peter

10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

Can you imagine this happening to you? Seeing an Angel would be one thing but old Cornelius – he doesn’t real off backwards in fear – instead he say’s…“yo! – how’s it hangin?”…then he starts talking with this Angel as if it’s no great thing.

But it doesn’t stop here. (Peter is one days walk away and we read about something similar happening to him) V9

Peter’s Vision

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, threea men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

You gotta be kidding me – what does Pete do? He goes down stairs and here they are…just as he was told!!!

21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

That to me sounds like a really fair question, doesn’t it.

22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

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