Summary: The Holy Spirit reveals the importance of God’s work through Peter by moving Luke to refer to the events of the ministry in Cornelius’s household three different times in the Book of Acts.
The Enjoyment of Ministry Accountability
The Holy Spirit reveals the importance of God’s work through Peter by moving Luke to refer to the events of the ministry in Cornelius’s household three different times in the Book of Acts.
Acts 11:1-4 and verse 18, “The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the Word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.’ Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened… When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God.” (Acts 11:1-4, 18)
Whenever, God starts a new work, a work done differently than what was usually done, the cancer of traditionalism births forth the death of criticism. A ministry matured in the Holy Spirit defeats that criticism.
I would propose to you if the work of the Lord was important enough to have the Holy Spirit move Luke to write down the events of Peter’s ministry, it should be important enough for the Body of Christ to take note of the truths proclaimed in this message.
It is important to note that those who criticized Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles were Jewish Christians, “circumcised believers” who needed a fuller understanding of the whole counsel of the Word of God. (Matthew Henry Commentary; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary; The New American Commentary; Barnes Notes, The Expository Bible Commentary)
How does a mature ministry receive revelation and how is God’s revelation presented to the Body of Christ? How should spiritual leaders respond to the work the Lord is doing?
Hearts Seeking After God
The first step toward enjoying Peter’s revelation from the Lord is to have hearts that are seeking after God. Acts 10:1-2 says, “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (Acts 10:1-2)
The first key word to grasp is “devout” (eusebes) meaning to be a person who is respectful to God and things regarding worship unto Him. Devout people are dutiful in their efforts to seek God and know His will for them. (Complete Word Study of the Bible; Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) The second key word is “God-fearing” (phobeo) meaning to have reverential obedience toward God. (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon)
In the New Testament the term “God-fearing” had become what we would call a technical term for Gentiles who became frustrated with their gods and the result of the immorality of mankind. These particular people attached themselves to the Jewish religion. They were not circumcised and did not have a tremendous knowledge of the Word of God. They did however, attend some kind of meetings or had some kind of influence that enabled them to seek God. In Cornelius’s case, he had enough revelation to become a man of prayer and have a heart for the needy. (Daily Study Bible Series)
God gave Cornelius a supernatural revelation, an angel spoke to Cornelius saying, “…your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” Clearly, Cornelius’ gifts were not for gaining favor from God, but works that came from a reverent worship unto the God of heaven and earth.
Effective ministry duties and other works must be done out of a desire to please Him and from supernatural revelation that what they are doing is good for them and their family. Spiritual revelation comes to those are seeking to know more of the Lord, desire His ways of truth and heavenly wisdom. (The Pulpit Commentary)
The Lord will give devout, God-fearing Christians that which they seek. He will use whatever instruments He pleases to guide true seekers to the place and person who is able to give divine revelation which satisfies the spiritual heart and soul. When God-fearing people faithfully use the light they do have, the Lord will open the door to revelation.
Listen to what the Lord revealed to Cornelius who was a God-fearing man, “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!’ 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. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.’ 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. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.” (Acts 10:3-8)