This verse marks a trajectory shift in the life of the church and its mission – one where the gospel message is taken to the Gentile world. The only question is will the early church follow the God’s leading and embrace the change or not.
Both Peter and Cornelius were given separate visions that resulted in God bringing these two men together and they would experience a critical moment of decision and the church has been faced with the same decision throughout every generation since.
The problem: We find the problem in Acts 10:28 where social boundaries prevented Peter from associating with a Gentile. In verses 9-16, Peter is given a vision where heaven opens up and a great sheet bound at the four corners is lowered down to him. Inside were all kinds of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds. A voice then instructs Peter to “kill and eat.” Because of Jewish food laws regarding “clean” and “unclean” meat, Peter replied, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” The voice replied, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” The vision occurred three times, even so, we see Peter very cautious about crossing the social boundaries until the very end of his encounter with Cornelius.
God’s solution: Jesus had already instructed his disciples in Acts 1:8 that there would be no geographical boundaries in the spreading of the gospel. He told them to go to Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth and the gospel was already spreading. In Acts 8, the Ethiopian eunuch was saved and baptized. Long before Peter and Cornelius’ divinely appointed meeting, Simeon declared in Luke 2:32 that Jesus would be both a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for Israel. Jesus crossed the social boundary with His encounter with the woman at the well. As Peter ministered alongside of Jesus, he would have seen Jesus go outside the social norms over and over again. And even with the vision, Peter is still uncertain.
At the same exact moment of Peter’s vision, Cornelius also receives a vision in which he is told him to send men to Joppa where Peter was staying and request that he come to Caesarea so that Peter could preach the gospel to him. Cornelius sent the men and explained the vision to Peter and Peter cautiously goes with the men – and he brings some of his own men with him. When Peter arrives, Cornelius tells him about his vision and God’s solution clicks with Peter. He tells Cornelius, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality.” This does not mean God accepts all people no matter their response to Him or that people who fear Him do not need Christ. Rather, it means that God does not restrict any nationality or ethnicity from the free gift of salvation. The same God that reached out to Peter in Joppa was at the very exact moment reaching out to Cornelius in Caesarea. The same God that reaches out to a person in America, is reaching out to people in England, Germany, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, Africa, Asia, Australia, and every other nation on the face of the earth. The gospel is the same no matter where you’re from, no matter the color of your skin, no matter the language you speak and it is the gospel that calls us all to the Savior. In the eyes of God, we are all equal and Jesus died for all of us. God never intended there to be divisions among us because of nationality. He commands us to go into every nation and tell people about Jesus.
Within our churches today, there should never be an unwelcomed person due to ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or any other label. The church’s mission is to bring the lost to Jesus and that’s what the church should be doing.
We have a new product line of Christian apparel and gifts on Teespring.com. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more. All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries. Thank you for helping us grow! Click here to view the store.
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.