Summary: Peter & Cornelius. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Acts Chapter 10 verse 1-23.


• In his autobiography the political and spiritual leader of India;

• And the Indian independence movement.

• Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days;

• He read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity.

• He believed that in the teachings of Jesus

• He could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India.

• So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church;

• And afterwards talk to the minister about becoming a Christian.

• When he entered the sanctuary, however,

• The usher refused to give him a seat & suggested that he go worship with his own people.

• Gandhi left the church and never returned.

• He wrote: "If Christians have caste differences also, "I might as well remain a Hindu."

• That usher's prejudice not only betrayed Jesus;

• It robbed the Church of a great influential voice;

• And even sadder than that,

• It turned away a person away from trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour.

Sadly prejudice is found all over the world:

• In South Africa it’s black & white.

• In Sri Lanka it is Tamil & Singhalese.

• In Northern Ireland it is Catholic & Protestant.

• In North India it is Muslim and Hindu.

• In Europe if often seems to be Britain verses the rest.

• Even in Britain we boast:

• Four nationalities; English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish.

• Then there is local prejudice e.g. you find in places like Cornwall or Yorkshire.


• "An unprejudiced mind is the rarest thing in the world"

• Unless you happen to be like the man who said: "I am not prejudiced, I hate everyone !"

All of us if we are honest are prejudiced:

• And your prejudice may not be mine.

• And my prejudice may not be yours.

• But if we are honest,

• Even as Christians we can at times still be very prejudiced.

Peter may have been an apostle, but he had a lot to learn about:

• His own prejudices,

• His own biases.

• Because it was essential for Peter to admit (And us),

• That when prejudice is in operation:

• It will always collide with God's grace.

• For God has no favourites, we are all equal in his sight.


• Webster's dictionary:

• Simply defines prejudice as: "Preconceived judgement".

question: Do you see in yourself a tendency to be prejudice against others?

Don't give me an answer:

• Think about it!

• To help you, I want to do a quick prejudice test:



• Africans, Asians, Europeans?

• What if a family of them, they moved in next door as your new neighbours?


• How about the poor?

• Or those who are wealthy?


• Do you write off people by their age?

• Too old or too young!


• Do you categorize people by the Length or the shortness of their hair?

• By the cosmetics they wear or don't wear?


• Politically:

• What about Socialists? Or Conservatives or Liberals?


• How do you feel about people who have failed? People who are divorced?

• People who have had breakdowns? People who have been in psychiatric hospitals?

(g). What about your religious prejudices?

• How do you view those who attend a different denomination, church?

• Who worship differently than you do? Those charismatic’s or those who are reformed.

Question: Am I making you feel uncomfortable?

Answer: Yes then good!!!

When prejudice is in operation, it will always collide with God's grace.

• In this chapter Peter is forced to come to terms with his own pride,

• Which is the bottom line reason for his struggle.

And through Peter's example we can learn:

• Just how entrenched our prejudices really are.

• And how difficult it is to pry ourselves lose from them.

(1). A Brief Introduction.

(A). Chronologically - the time.

• These events probably took place about six years after the crucifixion;

• In Acts chapters 1-7 the church was born and established in Jerusalem:

• Opposition to the message of Jesus Christ soon grew,

• i.e. Stephen was killed (the first Christian martyr) in Acts chapter 8.

• Then a wave of persecution scattered the believers into Judea and Samaria:

• And as they went, they preached and gossiped the gospel everywhere,

• And as a result of their witness,

• The church grew even more.

Note: Up to now there has always been a Jewish connection with the Gospel:

• (6:1) Jews with a Hebrew or Greek background.

• (8:1) The half-Jews of Samaria believed.

• (8:27) We read about an African Jewish convert (he had been worshipping in Jerusalem).

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