This sermon was based on Acts 10.
Peter and Cornelius
The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation,
Gentiles Hear the Good News
The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles
44While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47“Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Peter and Cornelius
- Cornelius is a Roman soldier, a man of influence. He is a gentile not a Jew but is a God Fearing man. He is also a man who hears God and acts on what he hears.
- Peter is a Jew, he was a disciple of Jesus. He is devout and unwilling to break what he understands to be God’s laws.
- These men are from very different backgrounds and traditionally would not have mixed, but God had a plan for the church.
Peter’s mind is transformed
- In the vision God tells Peter to eat food which is forbidden by Jewish law. His initial reaction is to refuse. He has always believed that this was God’s law and its a big jump to change that mind set.
- God has plans for the world that are bigger than any nation, or prejudice or cultural practise, and God worked with Peter to point out Peter’s shortcomings and prejudices.
- So when the gentile messengers arrive at the house Peter goes ahead and invites them in, he welcomes them and hosts them even though this is against Jewish law. His mindset has been shifted, he may not fully understand but he follows God’s lead.
We Need Our Minds Transformed
- A lot of times we exclude people, or we are prejudiced, we probably don’t even notice that we are doing it, because culture has hardwired these beliefs or practises into us. But thats why its really important to give God time and space to communicate with us – and to be open to what God is doing.
God has no time for our prejudices, conscious or unconscious, but God is all about our reconciliation, with him, and with each other.
Peter’s change of focus had massive consequences for the world – for us. Its worth thinking, is there anything that God is trying to change our focus on? And are we open to hearing what God might be challenging us on? Are we open to spending time with those different from us, getting to know non Christians properly, are we open to challenging our own habits and customs?