Summary: God used the SCALPEL OF SIMON [the tanner] and the FORCEPS OF FOOD to remove prejudice from Peter in this radical spiritual surgery! Powerpoint at website.
The Salvation of the Gentiles, pt. 2—“The Soul-Winning Servant”
Prejudice back then wasn’t white against black, but Jew against any non-Jew!
A searching Gentile soldier. [Cornelius]
A soul-winning gospel servant. [Peter]
A surprising Gentile salvation.
Cornelius is a perfect example of how religious or morally good a person can be, and still not be saved…he was a good, God-fearing, giving, praying man, and yet wasn’t saved…yet.
Peter is a Jew, and doesn’t care for Gentiles any more than any other Jew does! So God has been working on him, preparing Peter for the big task of getting the gospel to regions beyond!
The fact that God had work to do on someone as great as Peter reminds me that none of has have arrived…God’s still working on each of us! We all have rough edges to knock off, some sinful growths to have removed.
Peter preached his first sermon and 3k got saved, and 5k after his 2nd sermon! The power of God is on him in a rare and awesome way. He’s got an incredible healing ministry going on…the power of God is on his life…so much so that sick people would lay down on the sidewalk hoping he’d walk by, because if even his shadow would pass over them they’d be healed instantly! Back in Acts 9 he prayed for a little girl who had died, and God raised her from the dead!
But in spite of all this, Peter had a major vice to get victory over…he had some attitudes which needed adjusting!
Thank God He is patient, and gives us time to grow, and room to grow…and we should do no less w/ our newer believers, and then focus on ourselves, for we all have much ground to plow ourselves!
Even the Apostle Paul, who later would become perhaps the greatest Christian, Missionary, Church-Planter, Theologian of all time, said: “I count not myself to have apprehended”=I have not arrived…!
Like any church, we’ve had people leave who used to be a part here, and many of them left because they made an amazing discovery…they were surprised and astonished to find that the Pastor of their church is not perfect!
Let me save you a lot of time—I’m not perfect! I make mistakes…many of them. I’d like to say I’m always the model Christian leader, but I’d be mistaken! I still need to grow. Thank God I have room to grow…He’s still working on me, and on you as well!
In Peter’s case, God had to do a radical spiritual surgery on his heart, to Roto-Rooter some rebellion, pry away some prejudice…do an arrogance angioplasty—it was “open-heart, insert love” for a lost and dying world!
God used two tools in this surgery:
1. The Scalpel of Simon.
And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
10:6 He’s still there…he needed a place to stay, and God providentially worked it out to hook Peter up with this Gentile, a tanner, a taxidermist, unclean, working w/ dead animals, not kosher! This man would have been barred from the local synagogue because of his lifestyle!
Ill.—NM ethnic groups: whites minority/few blacks, many Navajo, Mexican, “Spanglish”. There were all different subgroups, too:
Jocks, preps, hoods, “cholos”, and honkies/gringos like me!
Mark Duenas: Mexican national from Colima, and yet a good guy! He became my best friend.
It’s wonderful how God can bring people together! And there’s different people in this room, that if you didn’t have a common love for Christ, you couldn’t stand each other!
You might be from a different social class, but when you come to church the ground is level!
Has been 14 years since we’ve talked/found him this week/tried to witness to him back then, took to camp, church, talked/never got saved…this week learned he accepted Jesus as Savior and gave Him his heart over a decade ago, married, 5 kids, serving God in good church!
God used the scalpel of Simon in this radical spiritual surgery, and He cut away at the bad tissue…then He used…
2. The Forceps of Food.
v. 9-16 What’s happening here? It’s noon, and this massive picnic spread descends from heaven! This passage is not primarily about food, but was a heavenly illustration to help Peter make the big change.
As a Jew he was taught he couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t kosher…he strictly obeyed the dietary restrictions of OT Jewish law. No pork, fish w/ skin instead of scales [no catfish, bummer!]
By the way, God didn’t give His people those OT laws to be difficult or to make them miserable. Rather, those things weren’t the best for them. Pork is difficult to digest and long term can be harmful…catfish are bottom feeders [more toxins.] And some people today observe much of the Jewish diet, not for religious reasons, but for health reasons!