1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 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. 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. 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. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. 7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; 8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
The Doctrine of Prayer: Does God hear a lost person’s prayer? At least here He did. This man was trying to do good and he prayed a lot. Eventually, there was enough prayers, etc., that it caused God Almighty to act upon it… Lost peoples’ sincere, consistant prayers go up to the throne of Heaven and are kept track of…and, sometimes, eventually answered! God hears and takes note of the prayers of a tribal person in deepest, darkest, Africa and will send the gospel to that person… eventually. If someone consistently prays to God for the truth, God will send it to them; their prayers come up as a memorial before God.
The Doctrine of Evangelism: Sometimes, God will send the lost to find the soulwinner and then will ask him what he oughtest to do. One common way is for the lost person to go to a church meeting to talk to someone about the questions that they have.
9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 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: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
The Doctrine of Visions: Do Christians have ‘visions’ from God today? Explain this ‘trance’ state that Peter was in. Was he just simply dreaming? Was he dreaming in the awake state? God spoke in ‘visions’ prior to His completed revelation to man was finished (around 95 A.D.). O.T. saints had similar experiences (i.e., Ezekiel, etc.). “An ecstasy; a state in which the soul seems to have passed out of the body into celestial regions, or to be rapt into visions” (Webster’s 1828). Did he go into a trance due to low blood sugar? It is the right priority to have your spiritual food prior to having your physical food.
The Doctrine of Dietary Laws: All these ‘unclean’ things coming out of God’s holy heaven… maybe it is because all had been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. How appropriate; Peter’s hungry and has a dream about food! God may set things up with you ‘physically’ in order to teach you something ‘spiritually’. God is pro-guns, pro-hunting…if done for food. Do we say ‘not so’ to God? He was going to follow the Jewish dietary laws. Peter once again goes back to his old ways (arguing, foot in mouth). How were these unclean dietary items cleansed? They were cleansed by God… this occurred with Jesus Christ’s victory on the cross. There are some issues in Christianity that we might need to consider just like Peter needed to on this one. Second time; God keeps track of how many times He has to tell you something. So, are all foods ‘kosher’ now? Gentile dogs sure are! God may attempt to get your attention on something 3 times and then that’s it. Peter’s vision of the ‘sheet’ was to teach him not only that all foods were now ok for a Jew to eat, but, more so, that the Gentiles are ok for Jew to fellowship with.
17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. 19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. 21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. 23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
The Doctrine of Evangelism: Would to God that the Spirit would tell us that someone is seeking us to tell them about salvation! Could that happen today? Without this exhortation, he might have not gone. We Soulwinners need the Holy Ghost to exhort us to ‘go’…doubting nothing. If we just wouldn’t doubt…and would trust God to do something great, we would see so much more fruit from our evangelism efforts. God may burden your heart for someone you are going to have an opportunity to witness to in the near future. Would to God that the ‘righteous, God-fearing’ lost folk would seek we soulwinners out! Oh that the lost would actually ‘hear words of us’! Are there any ‘just people’ that ‘feareth God’ in our city that are wanting to hear the words of truth from a Christian?… Would you travel this far just to tell someone the truth of the Bible?
24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. 28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? 30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
The Doctrine of Evangelism: This was a most important event in having the Jews realize that the Gentiles can be the heirs of salvation also (Peter speaking to Cornelius); and that Jews can and should witness to the Gentiles. This event needed lots of witnesses. Lost people may invite their relatives to go hear you at church services. This lost man, Cornelius, treated Peter almost as a god; he was almost superstitous here; too respectful. Make sure that the one you are witnessing knows that you are a sinner just like they are. There needed to be some intense seeking of the Lord for the truth that was so desired. Fasting was employed here… maybe weekly… it was done for a certain portion of time in one day… what was specifically done during this fast? Maybe it was the fasting that brought all this about in this man’s life. Earnest prayer, fasting, good works, can cause God to pay attention to a lost person. God heard a lost person’s prayer here. A lost person’s good deeds got noticed by God here. The end result was God sending a soulwinner. Lost people don’t really know what questions to ask. Soulwinning: tell the lost what you’ve been commanded to.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
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. 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: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
The Doctrine of Salvation: For salvation, service, etc., God is no respecter of persons…He looks at the soul. Can we? Are you a respecter of persons? How about outspoken liberal extremists? Homosexuals? Meth addicts? Murderer-rapist? Death Metal band member? Islamic Jihadist? God is keenly aware of lost people who fear Him and try to do right and He will send a soulwinner to them. Ask God to send you to one. We need to make sure we publish it throughout all Judaea (our state). It is important to witness about His crucifixion and His resurrection on the 3rd day.
God’s plan was to use a few people (witnesses) to reach the world.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 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. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The Doctrine of the Holy Ghost: This was a transition time and the Holy Ghost was given when (or about when) these believed and were saved; and this ‘giving’ was signified by their speaking with tongues; signs followed this in order to authenticate it all from God…i.e., the Gentiles can be saved just as the Jews. This was not another ‘baptism with the Holy Ghost’ event.
The Doctrine of Baptism: They were fairly picky on who they would consider for baptism. They examined the person (people) to see if they had believed and received the Holy Ghost. Once they verified that they were indeed saved, they recommended them for baptism. Why should we ‘forbid water’? Well, if it doesn’t seem legitimate; if they don’t have a sound testimony of salvation; if the Holy Ghost is not evident in their life.