Summary: The purpose is to connect the disconnected to Christ Jesus.
PETER’S CONNECTING MESSAGE TO A DISCONNECTED PEOPLE
Mother Theresa once said ‘you will never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have’. The sad thing about his quotation is that many will never make that discovery.
That is not the case in this lesson. Earlier in chapter 10 is found a devout man by the name of Cornelius. The text in verse 2 described him as one that feared God, gave alms to the poor, and prayed to God always. It was this Cornelius that received a vision while praying at the ninth hour. It was in this vision that the angel told him that his prayers and alms had come up as a memorial before God. He further instructed him to send some men to Joppa to request the presence of a man named Simon, whose surname is Peter and he would tell him what he needed to do. Now if you had not been keeping up with the lessons let me help you. What we learned in the last lesson was that Cornelius, a devout centurion soldier of the Italian band, who had embraced the Jewish philosophy of the Mosaic law. He prayed at the prescribed hours, he honored the Sabbath Day and he even gave an money to the poor. But there was a very important person missing in Cornelius’ life and he was Jesus Christ who is Lord of all. So he was instructed by the angel of the Lord to call on Peter to share with him the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Now while God is preparing Cornelius. He then had to prepared Peter to take the gospel message to Cornelius who was a Gentile, and according to the Jewish way of things that was a no-no. So in last week lesson entitled [The Expansion Vision of God], we saw the purging of Peter from what was traditionally taught. It was in that lesson that the Lord lured Peter into a trance and showed him a descending sheet coming from heaven with every four footed beast, creepy thing and fowl, and the voice said to him to “Rise Peter, kill and eat”. It was at this point when the purging began. At first Peter’s reply was, not so Lord, that he will not and had not eaten anything that was unclean. But the voice corrected him in verse 15 by saying “What God has cleansed, that call not thou common.”
So as we find Peter now in the presence of Cornelius, he has a new attitude towards the Gentile people. With him, he had a message that will change the direction of all people. And that message will be pointing them toward Jesus Christ the Son of God. Let’s look in.
First of all in order to connect a disconnected people we need to...
1. ALLOW THEM TO SEE THAT GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS (V.34)
“Then Peter open his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons;”
If the church of today have a flaw, that flaw would be the church’s view of the disconnected people of the community. Many church folk see people that are not part of the church as menaces to the church movement. And when they finally come to church, they are not received with the loving kindness prescribed by Jesus, because He did said “with loving kindness, have I drawn you.” Now grant it that some come into the church inebriated and loud, and we cannot allow the sinner to come in and be disruptive. But if they come in looking for deliverance, at least we can be patient with them, because if the truth be told, God is not close to being through with us. But we must show a disconnected world that just because you are disconnected, it does not mean that the Lord thinks more of us than He does of them. That is what we find here in the text. It was a lesson that Peter had to learn. Peter being a Jew had certain prejudice against the Gentiles. In fact they were considered as heathens, or unclean from the Jewish standpoint of theology. The Jews felt that way because they were not considered as God’s chosen people like they were. But now we are under the dispensation of Grace, and from God’s position, there is neither Jew nor Gentile; bond nor free; male nor female in Christ Jesus.
Secondly in order to connect a disconnected people we need to let them know that...
2. JESUS CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EQUALIZER (V.35)
“But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.”
Verse 35 is a continuation of verse 34. I like how the New Living Translation puts these verses. It said “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right.” Peter in this text is letting us know that those who fear the Lord and do what is right is accepted by Him. We must learn that it does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, Black or White, Baptist or Lutheran. What ever you are it does not matter, but what does matter is that you fear the Lord and work righteously, then He will accept you. You see the Lord is not interested in the stuff that we think makes us righteous, such as party affiliation and church denomination. Even just coming to church as a thing to do, some people feel that it makes them righteous. But the only person that can make us righteous is the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the things that I mentioned mostly are things that separate us. But when we have Jesus in our hearts and fear Him, it is He who makes us one. So, Jesus, not our nationality, political affiliation or church denomination, is our great equalizer. Peter realized this when he said “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons;” It took the purging power of the Holy Spirit through a trance, to get Peter to discover that all have been delivered through the precious blood of the Lamb with no exceptions.