A Tale of Two Visions – God does not show favouritism

Please read Acts 10.

‘Good’ Does Not Guarantee Salvation

Cornelius was a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.

  • He and all his family were devout (eusebes – pious, reverent) and God-fearing
  • He gave generously to those in need, and
  • He prayed to God regularly
  • The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God
  • The angel does not say: “So now I declare to you that you are saved.”
    • ‘Good people go to heaven’ is a myth and unbiblical.
  • Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter
  • God initiates (conversion starts with God)

Romans 10:13-15 NIV

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

  • God sends Peter to proclaim the message to Cornelius (conversion happens via God’s Word)
    • v22 A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say
    • v33 Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us
  • The Message is about Christ –
    • v36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
    • v39-40 They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen
  • Obedience to the gospel commands (e.g. Acts 2:38) is essential:
    • Then Peter said, v47 ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptised with water; v48 So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ

‘Bad’ Does Not Disqualify Salvation

Peter, a Jew who obeyed God’s laws:

  • v13-16 Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ ‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
  • God is working hard to turn Peter’s mind and heart from prejudice:
    • v19-20 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them; v23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his
      guests.
  • Peter at Cornelius’ house – v28 He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.
  • God is working hard to turn Peter’s mind and heart from prejudice:
    • (after Cornelius’ testimony) v34-35 Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
    • v44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
    • v45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. v46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
    • Then Peter said, v47 ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptised with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ v48 So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

WHO IS ‘GOOD’?
Isaiah 64:6 All of us… all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

WHO IS ‘BAD’?
1 Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

When it comes to SALVATION –

  • Initiated By God’s Grace
  • Achieved By God’s Power
  • Offered On God’s Terms
  • Accomplished By God’s Son
  • Secured By God’s Promises
  • Guaranteed By God’s Sovereignty

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

God does not show favouritism!

By on 5th April 2020
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