Presentation on theme: "Act 10:1-8 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and."— Presentation transcript:
Act 10:1-8 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
Think Outside the Box Acts 10 - 12 Our story today involves an odd pairing Cornelius and Peter Roman centurion Jewish disciple of Christ Never would they have imagined they would be meeting together, eating together and discussing matters of faith
Something amazing happened to bring them together. God prepared each one of them! Cornelius and Peter each had a message from God saying… It’s all right to hang out together, talk to each other, even eat together.
Acts 10 – Cornelius’ Vision 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
Peter’s Vision 9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
What does “unclean” mean? Jewish dietary regulations Animals: must have cloven hooves, chew their cud; must have blood removed quickly Water creatures: must have fins & scales Birds: cannot be scavengers No rodents, reptiles or amphibians Sometimes customs keep us apart!
But God was doing something to bring Peter and Cornelius together. As Cornelius’ men arrive…. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Amazing how God prepares people! Sometimes visions, dreams and audible voices… More often through our experiences and the prodding within our being.
But the truth of the matter is the people could have ignored the message… Instead, Cornelius and Peter both acted on the message.
Acts 10 21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” 22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
Now Peter had to make a BIG choice. He had to decide whether he would go to Cornelius’ house or not. He decided to go willingly... And his choice resulted in a HUGE opportunity.
23 The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends…
29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” [Cornelius tells Peter about the angel…] 33 … we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.
Peter has had to grapple with the fact that God has a much bigger vision of Jesus’ grace than he as a disciple ever imagined. He had been sent by God and invited into the home of Cornelius to share Christ with people he had never before considered!
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
We shouldn’t let any barrier get in the way of telling others about Christ. Language, culture, geography, Prejudice, economic or educational level, Age or technology
Just like the Jews, when we step out of our neat little religious circles, we may be criticized. Peter had to answer to the other disciples in Acts 11.
Acts 11 The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
4 Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened… He told them the whole story and how he came to feel going to Cornelius was the right thing to do. One point sealed it for him… The Holy Spirit
Acts 11 15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life. It is important to share the rational for our decisions.
Putting it all together When God calls us, He prepares us. Sometimes it is a slow, evolving process, Sometimes it is sudden and unexpected. Sometimes it is a logical placement, Sometimes it seems odd and requires us to think outside of the box.
Putting it all together When God calls, will we respond? We are called to action. Will we go willingly… Or drag our feet, going grudgingly, Or dig our heels in and stay put?
Putting it all together Are we willing to s-t-r-e-t-c-h ourselves to relate to people who are different than us? In our world today, we live in our own little boxes. Both literally… and figuratively!
We need to be willing to stretch ourselves to touch people’s lives, and to show Jesus’ love and grace. Think outside the box! Look for ways to connect with people you hadn’t imagined.
Color outside of the lines! As Christians, we need to be careful not to get set in our way of doing things. The love of Christ is what is important!
Act 1:8 “..you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When Jesus spoke these words to the disciples they probably had no idea that their thinking would be stretched to the limit!!
People all over the world… and right here in our community… need the healing grace of Jesus. Are we willing to think outside the box? To even color outside the lines?