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Summary: Breaking new ground with the gospel.

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THE IMPARTIALITY OF GOD

Acts 9:36-Acts 11:18

Joppa was probably the only truly Jewish seaport in Judah. If nationalistic troubles were to break out, it was as likely to happen in Joppa as in Jerusalem itself. To such a city came Peter (Acts 9:36-43).

Caesarea was Herod's seaport, with the consequent Greek culture and sympathy towards the Romans. Here Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band who was all but a proselyte to the Jewish faith, received a message from the Lord to send for Peter (Acts 10:1-8).

Meantime Peter was having a disturbing dream on a rooftop. A great sheet was let down from the sky on which were some animals considered by the Jews as ceremonially unclean. "Arise and eat," said a voice from heaven (Acts 10:9-17). Peter, as a good Jew, was astonished. Yet the dream was repeated three times.

Just then Cornelius's messengers arrived, and Peter was told by the Spirit to go to Caesarea with them. Peter obeyed, and was given the opportunity to preach the gospel to these "unclean" Gentiles (Acts 10:18-33). Peter began, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons..." The Holy Ghost fell upon his hearers. This was the Gentile Pentecost (Acts 10:34-48).

Back in Jerusalem, Peter had to give an account of his actions. There were still those in the church who could not see beyond their own borders. But after he had explained all, "they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (Acts 11:1-18).

We must be careful not to let a limited vision handicap our own duty in spreading the gospel, nor to hinder those who break into new ground with its message. “God is no respecter of persons” means that God shows no partiality, so the message is to be broadcast without discrimination to the ends of the earth.


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