Summary: This sermon examines how the Spirit of God worked in Peter and Cornelius, and how He works in us.
Peter, Cornelius, and Us
June 23, 2002
One New Year’s day in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit.
It was out of gas.
The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas.
The amusing thing was that this float represented the Standard Oil Company.
With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas.
Often, Christians neglect their spiritual maintenance and find themselves out of gas.
B. Of course the gas that the Christian needs to keep our spiritual life running is the HS.
1. Today we come to the 10th & 11th chapters of the book of Acts where we see salvation coming to the Gentiles.
2. There we will learn more about the HS and how it is the gas that keeps us going.
3. First we will look at Peter’s story and then what we can take from it…
I. Peter’s Story
A. Cornelius and the angel
Acts 10:1-8, 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.
1. Cornelius was a Roman soldier living in Caesarea.
2. Cornelius was a gentile.
3. He was in charge of a "century" or 100 soldiers.
4. There would have been 6 "centuries" plus 150 horsemen in a regime or band.
5. Cornelius and his family were devout, God-fearing people.
6. Cornelius gave generously to those in need.
7. Cornelius prayed regularly to God.
8. One day at around three in the afternoon, Cornelius had a vision.
9. In the vision, Cornelius saw an angel who told him that his prayers and gifts to the poor had been noticed by God.
10. In 11:14, we find out that the angel had told Cornelius during this vision that Peter would bring a message through which he and his household would be saved.
11. So Cornelius was a Gentile who was praying for the salvation of he and his family and God had heard those prayers and was gong to answer them.
12. That is a significant prayer considering that Gentiles had never been offered salvation up to this point.
13. Cornelius is praying to God for the salvation of his gentile family, which was unheard of at the time.
14. But God heard his prayers and sent an angel to tell Cornelius that his prayers were about to be answered.
15. So Cornelius sent some men to Joppa to get Peter.
B. Peter, Jesus, and the HS
Acts 10:9-23, 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, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them." 21 Peter went down and said to the men, "I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?" 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.