Where Gentile and Jew Meet

Where Gentile and Jew Meet
September 2, 2018
Passage: Acts 10
Service Type:

Up to this point, the gospel had been somewhat limited in its outreach. It had spread throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, Acts 9:31. But other than the Samaritans (who were half Jewish), it had only gone to the Jews.

The Gentiles were anyone who was not a Jew. And to the Jews they were considered unclean.

"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; 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: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." - Ephesians 2:11-13

The Vision of a Soldier

  • Acts 10:1-6
    • Centurion – one of six mentioned in the NT
    • God fearers – Acts 13:16
      • Proverbs 9:10
      • 12:13
        • God Fearers not given to circumcision
        • Gave alms to the people –Jews
        • Prayed always –observant of the Jewish hour of prayer.

Cornelius was a prime person to be the first pure gentile convert to Christianity. Many in our own day would survey his admirable qualities and affirm that he was a candidate for heaven in his current condition. However, the biblical record makes it perfectly clear that he still was lost, Acts 11:13-14.

Thus, Cornelius was not saved just because he was a good, religious man who feared God, was charitable and prayed to God regularly! All of these things were good, but they were not enough!

Cornelius and his household still needed to hear words telling them what they had to do to be saved!

"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; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa." - Acts 10:7-8

Thus, the case of Cornelius is similar to that of the Ethiopian nobleman in Acts 8.

  • In both cases there was a good, God-fearing man, who was searching for the Lord’s will.
  • In both cases there was the involvement of an angel of God.

However, in both cases, the angels did not tell the one who was searching what he needed to do to be saved. Instead, in the Ethiopian’s case, the angel told Philip to go speak to the Ethiopian. In Cornelius’ case the angel told Cornelius to send for Peter who would tell him what he must do.

Similarly, in Saul’s case, the Lord did not tell Saul what he needed to do to be saved. The Lord told Saul to go into Damascus where he would be told what to do. Thus, even in the age of miracles in the first century, God did not tell men directly or through angels what men had to do to be saved.

Instead, the Lord used His human spokesmen to tell men what to do to be saved.

The Vision of a Servant

  • Acts 10:9-23
    • As we will see in the next section Peter did not understand the meaning of this vision.
    • However, later, he understood that the vision meant that God wanted the gospel preached to Gentiles, as well as to those of Jewish background. Acts 10:2.

The Value of a Sermon

  • Acts 10:24-43
    • Gathered his friends and loved ones
    • John 1:41
    • Romans 1:16.
  • John 14:6
  • Preaching Peace—by Jesus – Eph. 2:11-13

Validation by the Spirit

  • Acts 10:44-48

Observations of the Conversion

Religious people need to be saved. Many people believe that if you are religious, you will be saved. They believe that if you go to church, do good, etc., you have a hope of heaven. They think, that you will have earned the right to enter heaven. Yet, though Cornelius was a man who...

  • Was a devout man
  • Feared God with his whole family
  • Gave alms generously
  • Prayed to God always...

He still needed to be told “words by which you and all your household will be saved.” Clearly, being religious isn’t what saves you. It is the blood of Christ which saves you.

  • The gospel is for all...
    • Peter perceived that God is no respecter of persons - Acts 10:34-35
    • Indeed, God desires that ALL men be saved
  • The purpose for the Spirit falling...
    • Some presume that the purpose was to save Cornelius and his family
      • That therefore they were saved before obeying the command to be baptized
      • But the Spirit came upon them as Peter “began to speak”, before they could hear words by which they could be saved! - cf. Acts 11:14-15
    • The purpose of the Spirit can be gleaned from the following:
      • The effect it had on the Jewish brethren who were present, and Peter’s response- Acts 10:45-47
      • The reaction of the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem when Peter told them what happened- Acts 11:17-18
    • Peter’s explanation at the council held later in Jerusalem - Acts 15:7-11
      • The purpose of the Spirit falling on them was therefore to show Jewish brethren...That God was no respecter of persons - Acts 10:34-35
      • That God was willing to grant them opportunity to repent and have life - Acts 11:18
      • That Gentiles could be saved in the same way as Jews...By faith, repentance, and baptism - Acts 15:9,11; 2:38 with 10:48
      • Which faith comes through hearing the word of God - Rom 10:17
  • The Point at which Cornelius was saved....
    • Remember that Cornelius was told to send for Peter, who would tell him:
      • “what you must do.” - Acts 10:6
      • “words by which you...shall be saved.” - Acts 11:14

From this, and from what we have already seen in other conversions. Cornelius was not saved until he heard the “words” (i.e., after sermon). Cornelius was not saved until he obeyed what he was told to do.

What were the words he was told to do? Certainly they were told to believe, as implied in Acts 10:43. Clearly they were told to be baptized, as commanded in Acts 10:48.

Thus Cornelius and his household were not saved until they “believed and were baptized,” Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12,13.


So while miraculous events surrounded the conversion of “Cornelius And His household,” their salvation was no different from what we have already seen.

They heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, they were taught to believe and be baptized. Thus, they were saved in the same manner as all those who had previously been saved.

  • As Peter said at the council, it is “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” that both Gentiles and Jews are saved - cf. Acts 15:11a.
  • We are saved by grace, not works - cf. Eph 2:5,8; Titus 3:4-5.
    • For it is not enough to be religious.
    • Who could be more religious than Cornelius?
    • Or even the 3000 at Pentecost, or the Ethiopian eunuch?
  • The grace of God which saves does require a response, however...
    • A response of faith - Ac 10:43
    • A faith in Jesus that comes by hearing the gospel - Ac 10:42
    • A faith which expresses itself in obedience - cf. He 5:9 1) E.g., repentance and baptism - cf. Ac 2:38; 3:19; 10:48 2)
    • Not as works of merit, but as acts of faith by which one receives God’s grace and Jews are saved - cf. Acts 15:11a.
    • Those of us who are not descended from Israel can rejoice in what God revealed with the conversion of “Cornelius And His Household”.
    • As properly concluded by the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem: “...God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Ac 11:16) 

Adapted from Polishing the Pulpit Sermon Swap, Edited and modified by Jack McNiel
Topics: , ,
Please follow and like us: