Summary: The Gospel is for anyone who will receive it.
Text: Acts 10:23-48
1. Illustration: On July 1-3, 1863 was the turning point of the American Civil War, and the turning point of our nation. It took place in the quite farming town of Gettysburg, PA. Abraham Lincoln summed up its importance in just 272 words. His address begins, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
2. Today we will look at another turning point in history...the history of the Christian Church. It too is summed up in an address, this time by the Apostle Peter at the house of Cornelius.
3. Peter's visit to the house of Cornelius was the...
A. Turning Point In Relationships
B. Turning Point In The Church
C. Turning Point In God's Promise
4. Let's stand together as we read Acts 10:23-48.
Proposition: The Gospel is for everyone who will receive it.
Transition: Peter's visit to Cornelius's house was the...
I. Turning Point In Relationships (23-33).
A. But God Has Shown Me
1. Peter had received a vision from God that rocked his world. Yet he didn't let it hold him back, because as we can see in our text he responded immediately.
2. Look at vv 23-24, "So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa. 24 They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends."
A. The conversation in the tanner's house that evening must have been an interesting one, with many of the Joppa believers joining in the discussion of the strange visions.
B. Six of the Joppa believers accompanied Peter to Caesarea the next day—a wise decision in view of the questions that would later be raised at Jerusalem.
C. So the party of ten set out for Caesarea. It apparently took them longer to cover the thirty miles than the messengers had taken earlier because they did not get to Caesarea till the following day.
D. Cornelius was expecting them and had drawn together a group of relatives and close friends to hear Peter (Tenney, The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 9: John and Acts, 390).
3. Not only does Peter show by his obedience to go that he had accepted the vision, but also in what he does when he gets to Cornelius's house. Luke tells us, "As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!”
A. As Peter was brought into the centurion's home past the gatehouse and then into the courtyard, Cornelius came from his living quarters to meet him.
B. Cornelius fell at Peter's feet and offered him "reverence" (proskyneo, a word used for homage offered to deity, to angels, and to men)—doubtless an expression of his belief that there was something supernatural about Peter.
C. But Peter, not only unaccustomed to such honors but brought up to consider them blasphemous, ordered him to stand up and assured him: "I am only a man myself" (Tenney, 390).
D. Notice that Peter doesn't belittle him or look down upon him, rather he accepts Cornelius as an equal.