Summary: a tremendous change in the dealings of God with man occurred when the Gentile became a part of the church.
The Centurion experiencing the change.
Acts 11:1 -- 18. 01/28/04
Folks I don’t know if you have noticed it but a tremendous change in the dealings of God with man occurred when the Gentile became a part of the church. Before that, the blessings of God had been almost exclusively Jewish. The Jews were God’s chosen people. They had many spiritual privileges that Gentile did not have. The apostle Paul mentions the advantages in the book of Roman’s chapter 3.
Now unfortunately, the Jews prided themselves in being exclusive and it became sin. The Gentiles were considered dogs. Often times Gentile and sinners were mentioned in the same sentence. The Gentile was considered so much an outcast that the Jews thought they were outside the interest of God. Now the members of the church who were Christians were not as uncharitable in their view as was the ungodly Jews. But pretty much all the Jews viewed the Gentile as excluded from the blessing of the gospel.
All this would change shortly after the early church commenced and Peter would be in the forefront of the change. Although Peter was considered the apostle to the Jews and Paul to the Gentile, it would be Peter who was chosen of God to spearhead the change.
Tonight we want to study the change and Peter’s involvement in the change.
The Revelation Peter received from God about this great change involved a Gentile by the name of Cornelius. Cornelius was a centurion in the Roman army. Both Peter and Cornelius received visions from God a day apart that resulted in Peter visiting the Centurion to proclaim the gospel to he and his family.
We want to look first of all at THE VISION IN CAESAREA.
Now Cornelius was no ordinary man. He was a centurion that meant he was in charge of 100 Roman soldiers stationed in Caesarea. The City had been built by Herod the great in honor of Caesar and it was an important political city where the soldiers would have important guard deities.
The Bible also says that Cornelius was a devout man. That was unusual for a military man although there are some. I am especially grateful that I met one in the Marines. We are still the best of friends. I am as close to him as I think I would be a brother.
Cornelius led his family to fear God and have devotions. Cornelius was a praying soldier. It seems that his character was outstanding and rare. But Cornelius was not saved. But through prayer and giving, God gave him information regarding salvation. God said send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon who is Peter, and he will tell you what you need to do.
Listen! As we can see in the Bible, here is a man who is moral, upright, attending church, supporting charities, praying and was not saved. Only Jesus can save.
There is something else I want you to see here. The angel that spoke to Cornelius could have told him the way of salvation but God has given that work to men not to Angeles.
We see not only the vision in Caesarea but also THE VISION IN JOPPA.
While the men sent by Cornelius were on their way to see Peter, Peter had a vision in Joppa to prepare him for the task before him.