Summary: Take a look as God turns a corner on His plan to include the Gentiles in His church.
Soldier or Servant?
Acts Chapter 10
We will continue our study today in the Book of Acts looking at the early church and what God was seeking to do – toady we are looking at a passage where God is really seeking to turn a corner with His followers.
Acts 9 – Saul becomes Paul – we saw this incredible persecutor of the church become one of its biggest advocates.
The thing about Paul is that God had a specific plan for his life:
Acts 9:10-16 10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Here is what is so interesting about this passage – this is one of the first time we see God explain His incredible plan for His church where GENTILES are the target audience.
Sure, Philip the evangelist went to the Samaritan’s in Acts 8 – lead a stray Ethiopian eunuch to Christ later in that chapter, but really the focus up to this point has been primarily JEWISH.
Not so with the Apostle Paul – he is called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles:
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
God begins to turn this corner using – A Soldier and A Servant here in Acts chapter 10 – lets take a look at them and see what God can teach us through His word and their lives. Lets begin by looking at:
1) THE LOST SOLDIER
Acts 10:1-8 1There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. 7And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; 8And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
It is interesting to see where we find Cornelius – he is in Caesarea – which we have seen before:
Acts 8:40 40But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
We don’t really know too much about Cornelius’ background – but that he is a centurion – a leader of 100 soldiers in the Roman army stationed in a place where we find our incredible evangelist wind up – coincidence?
God is working in this soldiers life – check out what the word of God says about this man:
Acts 10:1-2 1There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
1) He was DEVOUT
2) He FEARD GOD
3) He was a GIVER OF ALMS
4) He PRAYED to GOD ALWAYS
What an incredible guy here! How do we compare to this Roman soldier?
There is just really one problem – yes – he is doing all of these incredible things, HOWEVER, HE DOES NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST!
THIS MAN IS UNSAVED – UNREGENERATE – AND IF HE DIED IN THE NEXT BATTLE WOULD SPEND ETERNITY IN A GODLESS HELL!