Summary: Preached for an Associational Revival with a theme of "Reclaiming the Vision".
There is a poem entitled “A Prayer For the Future”:
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. - Bible.org
This poem is warning us against a complacency that keeps us inside the church walls. Or as was with Peter in Acts 10…up on the roof dreaming about our next potluck!
I think there is a danger in the church to keep the gospel to ourselves. For whatever reason, we just aren’t getting outside the church walls with good news that Jesus saves. As a result baptisms are declining in churches across America as we huddle together as a people of God. God told Peter to get off the roof, get out of the house and on road again with the vision of a mission of salvation to the lost!
Church what I’m saying is that we need to do a better job getting outside the church with the gospel. Because, like Cornelius, there are good people who think they’ve got it made…others who are truly searching but are lost, lost, lost! They need to hear the good news and we are the only ones who have it!
Let me begin tonight as we consider Acts 10 by restating the obvious.
Restating the Obvious (vs. 1-8):
In verses 1-8 of Acts 10 we are introduced to a man named Cornelius. Cornelius receives high praise in this chapter but he is lost. He was an important man, a good man and a highly respected man but he was a lost man. The vision that Cornelius receives reveals a plainly obvious truth we have all learned and should know quite well…a person may be important, good and even highly respected in the eyes of his fellow man and even to himself...and we all know a lot of people like that I’m sure…but his status and his charity weren’t enough. Like I said…I’m stating the obvious. A good lost person is a person who is just good and lost. Our goodness doesn’t cut the mustard with God when it comes to salvation! Is that obvious from the first several verses of chapter 10? Sure it is!
Verse 4 indicates that God saw Cornelius’ good deeds but it also reveals a man who was searching…it says he was “Praying”. So God heard his prayers and set up a divine appointment between a man of good works and a man with the good news...Peter.
We often overlook the lost because we see good people who live good lives and we think their good to go...they are surely saved...we try to convince ourselves. But sadly haven’t heard the good news and they are passed by.
Peter would certainly have overlooked Cornelius had God not communicated with him. I think it’s important to point out that God communicated with Peter when Peter went to pray. Noon was a traditionally recognized time of prayer. More importantly it was a regular practice for Peter to pray.
I believe that God still prepares divine appointments for us but we will overlook them if we don’t look for God’s guidance. That’s precisely what Peter was doing and God spoke to him in this peculiar vision in vs. 9-15. A vision clearly intended to reveal to Peter that salvation was never meant to be the sole possession of the Jewish people. This vision revealed that EVERY person is dearly loved and sought out by God the Father.
No person is excluded when it comes to God’s offer of salvation. No Christian is excluded from the responsibility of sharing the message. And only one message is the exclusive message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ there is no other...and it’s a message we must revive. So let’s talk about the message we must revive.
Reviving the Message (vs. 34-43):
In verses 34-43 we see the message Peter shared and it was a very simple message. I’m all about keeping things simple. Life is too complicated already. When it comes to the message we need to share about salvation I believe that needs to be kept simple too. Listen to the simplicity of Peter’s testimony:
• God sent Christ (36)
• Christ is Lord of all (36)
• Christ loved people, healed people, died for people on the cross and rose from the dead (38-40)
• We have seen Him and know it’s true (39 & 41)