The Progress Of The Gospel
Book of Acts Chapters 10-11
Before the Book of Acts turns it’s attention to the Apostle Paul, we get to see the Apostle Peter again.
God has clearly revealed the direction the early church was to take!
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
There is no power in any house of God without “Born Again”, “Holy Ghost Filled” believers!
There is no power in the child of God without the Holy Ghost who indwells each believer!
We will see the Apostle Peter complete three things in this study.
Peter will show his God-Given power to heal the sick.
Peter will show us his God-Given power to raise the dead.
Peter will shows us his God-Given power to lead the lost to the Lord, so they could be saved by the “Grace” of God.
So what is God’s greatest miracle?
First none of things theses happened without the power of God.
Everyone that is sick, will again get sick.
Those that were raised from the dead in Bible times had to die again.
Then the greatest miracle must be Salvation!
Salvation will lead us to a place where there will be no sickness and there will be no death but only a place of eternal life!
*****Act 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
We should not miss the fact that Peter was on his own missionary journey.
Act 9:32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
Peter had traveled from Jerusalem to Lydda. As one would travel to the city of Joppa a city on the Mediterranean coast some 30 miles of Jerusalem they would first pass through Emmaus, 7 miles from Jerusalem and then on to Lydda which was 9 miles from Joppa.
While in Lydda Peter had healed a man named Aeneas who had been so sick that he could not get out of his bed for 8 years. That’s like going to Hospice care and healing someone who could then go back home.
Many in Lydda, which were mostly Jews came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
This same area is known as Sharon and the phrase “the rose of Sharon” comes from this area of Israel. Of course we know that the true “rose of Sharon” is Jesus Christ our Lord just as He is the “Lily of our valley”!
While Peter was in Lydda, he and his ministry was known in Joppa, he was called to Joppa for an emergency. Peter found a grand old lady of Joppa called Dorcas which means “gazelle” but her real name was Tabitha.
This grand lady of the city of Joppa was raised from the dead:
Act 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
Peter then stayed in Joppa for a period of time in a house of a man named Simon, who was a tanner. Not many Jews would have stayed with a tanner because a tanner had to deal with dead animals which made him unclean in the eyes of the Jew.
Peter was in this place as our lesson unfolds today.
Caesarea was also located on the Mediterranean Sea and was about 70 miles from Jerusalem. This city was built by Herod the Great in honor of Caesar Augustus.
This city was used as the capitol city and the seat of civil government of Rome while they ruled Judaea. Cornelius was an actual Roman Centurion and we can tell by the phrase “the Italian Band”.
Roman citizens and Roman governors would be protected by Roman soldiers collected out of Italy. A Centurion would normally command 100 soldiers.
*****Act 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Cornelius was truly a man who had forsaken Roman idolatry and the false religion in which he had been raised as a child. He had come to fear the only true God, who is the God of Israel. Cornelius had even brought up his family in the fear of the God of Israel.
Cornelius gave charitably to the Jews, and Cornelius prayed to God “alway”, which means he prayed continuously.
In the following verses we can see that Cornelius was praying for a closer walk with God!
*****Act 10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
Act 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Don’t you just love the fact that God and all His angels in Heaven know your name. You know if Cornelius lived in America today, he would have pass as a Christian and he would be persecuted by the masses for the way he lived.
He was a military officer, a man of influence, and the foundation of his home.
God had made Himself known to him but he had never heard the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!
Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
There are so many that live in our world today in this same position waiting on someone to come by and tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
It is believed that this event took place 10 years after Pentecost. We can only know that God has His own plan and it is His plan that works.
But what we see is that when the time came the Holy Spirit began His work on Cornelius and He responded knowing He was meeting the Lord.
In the sense of the Law, Cornelius had been offering a sacrifice that was well pleasing unto God, an odor of sweet smell.
His prayers and his sincerity had won the ear of God!
“But”, All men shall be accountable to God by Jesus Christ.
He is the only Judge who can Justify each believer!
It is those that believe in His name that can rest assured that there will be no further condemnation!
*****Act 10:5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
Act 10:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
Another great thing about our father in Heaven is that, He always knows exactly where we are located at all times. Peter was doing a work in Joppa.
BUT, this was Peter’s training ground and he had not yet realized it.
It was 30 miles from Caesarea to Joppa and those messengers started that same evening. The business of a tanner would not be hard to find because of the smell and would always be by a large source of water.
The main thing we can see in Cornelius is that he knew his religious devotion was not enough to save him!
Salvation cannot ever be of works!
Those that are satisfied with their good character will still not get into Heaven because they have no concept of their own sin and of God’s “Grace”!
AND, Cornelius needed someone to tell him these things!
*****Act 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Act 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Act 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
Before Peter could lead the Gentiles to the Lord, he needed a little more training. God had to prepare the already Apostle Peter for this work.
The message of the Gospel and God’s “Grace” is the same and will never change but as we carry God’s message to the lost we must have a better understanding of them.!
What we will see in this passage is that most of the barriers to us being true witnesses for the Lord, are within our own selves.
The Apostle Peter had the right message!
He was at the right time and the right place!
BUT, Peter had lived the life of an orthodox Jew all his life and the Law of Moses was a great wall between the Jew and the Gentiles!
We know that this wall was removed at the cross!
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus [ye who sometimes were far off] are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
God had declared that there was no difference between the Jew and the Gentile:
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Notice God knows exactly what it will take to reach each of us in any situation!
Peter was hungry, so God used food to teach Peter a great spiritual lesson.
Peter would also get a first hand lesson on what Jesus had taught him earlier:
Mar 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
*****Act 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
The first thing we should see in this verse is that if Christ Jesus is truly Our Lord then the answer “no” cannot exist!
When we say “No” to The Lord then we are not recognizing Him as Our Lord!
This is a contradiction in words!
Jesus teaches us all this truth:
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
It is a fact that food can cause us many problems but the food we eat CANNOT change our relationship with Our Lord!
After these things were over, Peter was still wondering what had just taken place but as we see God’s timing is always perfect and those messengers from Cornelius had just arrived.
*****Act 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
That voice that Peter had heard said “What God has cleansed, thou call not thou common” and this was repeated 3 times.
As far back as King Jehoshaphat in the Old Testament, we can find the phrase “nor respect of persons” referring to the Lord.
And the exact truth is:
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Every person on the face of this Earth stands at the same level before the justice of God and there are no exceptions!
We are all in need of the salvation that can only come through Jesus Christ!
All mankind have the same Creator, and all men need the same Savior, this is the Word of God that is given to us all or to “whosoever” accepts the truth of the Word of God!
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
That wrath will come to it’s entirety at the Great White Throne Of Judgment!
*****Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Before Christ, the Gentile nations were “aliens” from the commonwealth of Israel.
Before Christ, the Gentile nations were “strangers” from the covenant promises to Israel.
Before Christ, the Gentile nations had no hope, and were without God in this world.
Before Christ, there was the Law, but it is Jesus Christ that brought the “Grace” of the Almighty God to every creature on this Earth!
From the very first day of Adam, Our God has required “faith” and after “faith” comes then the “Grace” of God can be shown by Christ through the preaching of the “Gospel”!
God does not honor works as a means of salvation!
But God does honor works that come after faith in those that fear Him! He is the true God of Creation, and the true God of the Bible!
Cornelius had understood the preaching of John the Baptist according to verse 37:
Joh 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
Joh 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
We will see many other times in the Book of Acts that the preaching of John the Baptist had reached many places outside of Jerusalem.
Yet salvation can still only come through Jesus Christ as we will see in our lesson!
*****Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Peter begins by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter begins by preaching the facts!
You see it took a great power and a great victory to break Satan’s tyranny over the bodies mankind.
Luk 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, [whom Satan hath bound], lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
It took great power and a great victory to break Satan’s tyranny over the souls of mankind.
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
This is the greatest evidence of the truth of the Gospel and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy:
Isa 49:25 But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
*****Act 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Act 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Jesus had been crucified before the entire world and these things were not hid from the public nor from the Roman army. It was the Jewish leaders that had tried the Lord and it was Rome who had crucified Him.
This was not superstitious reverence but “witnessed”, and “historical” facts!
It was the Apostles and the followers of Christ who were “eye witnesses” to the resurrection and the days that followed Jesus until He ascended into Heaven, which they also wirnessed.
And there had been many other infallible proofs given to them.
And many prophecies fulfilled:
Hos 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Hos 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, [and we shall live in his sight].
*****Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi are just a few of the prophesies we are familiar with but John wrote in the Book of Revelation that Jesus was the Spirit of Prophecy.
Peter said this is who Jesus is. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Anointed One sent from Heaven!
*****Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Just as soon as these that heard Peter, believed, and the Holy Ghost interrupted this meeting:
Peter later explained it like this, he said:
Act 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Just as the Holy Ghost had fell on those 120 in that upper room on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost fell on this meeting with Cornelius.
Peter was not able to finish his sermon this day, enough was said, because salvation comes to those that believe in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The early church now had Jews, Samaritan, and Gentiles and it was time to go to the uttermost part of the earth.
The key to these things is for every “Born Again” believer to reproduce himself through another lost soul and to produce fruit!
*****Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
These are the Jews that were with Peter that day.
It is hard for us to realize the great barrier that existed between the Jew and the Gentile that day but we must realize that war and foreign domination can cause hate. It was the Jews that had brought forth the Word of God and they simply could not believe that Gentiles could be saved. They were enemies to the Jew and certainly, they believed that no Gentile deserved to know their God.
Peter went to where ever God sent him and he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “whosoever”. This was his job and it it God who calls those to Himself who will be saved.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God [by faith in Christ Jesus].
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
After salvation comes baptism and after baptism comes the work of telling others about Jesus!