Intro. Peter has had a very puzzling vision which he does not understand. He is perplexed as to its meaning. The vision was repeated three times. Now the Lord speaks very plainly to him, not giving him the full meaning of the vision, but what he is to do next. At that very moment the three men sent from Cornelius are at the front door inquiring if there was a man named Simon, whose surname was Peter was staying there.
I. THE CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS TO PETER.
A. The Spirit said to Peter.
1. Have you ever wondered just how the Spirit spoke to Peter?
a. Was it an audible voice?
b. Was it a strong impression in his mind?
c. In Acts 13
we will read, "And the Holy Spirit said, separate unto Me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have for them to do.
d. Just prior to that it declares that there were prophets in the church in Antioch, so it would be assumed that they were directed by prophecy.
e. Often times we have a strong impression to do something or a feeling about someone, and later it will prove to be right, and we then say, "The Lord showed me." or "The Lord spoke to me."
f. I think that we miss the supernatural because it seems so natural.
g. The case of Elijah:
And the Lord said to him, "Stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was [so], when Elijah heard [it] that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him, and said, What are you doing here, Elijah?
2. However it was that the Spirit spoke to Peter, the directions were very clear. "There are three men seeking for you. Go on down and go with them."
a. Remember Peter is on the roof top.
3. Have no doubts about going with them for I have sent them.
B. So Peter went down and said to them, "I am the man you are looking for, what is the reason you have come?"
C. They answered Peter:
Cornelius is a centurion, he is a just man, and one that fears God, and he has a good report among all the nation of the Jews, he was instructed by God through an angel to send for you to come to his house, that he might hear your words.
D. Peter invited the men into the house to spend the night and the next morning he started off with them, taking some Jewish brethren along with him.
1. This is another chink being knocked out of the wall of separation.
a. It was unthinkable for a Jew to invite a Gentile into his home.
b. Because a Gentile was considered unclean, everything he touched became unclean. Every place he sat, would become unclean.
c. Speaking of Jesus, Paul said, "For He is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down the partition wall that once divided us."
2. In the next chapter we will learn that there were six Jewish brethren that accompanied Peter to Caesarea.
a. I believe that Peter was beginning to suspect that something was about to happen that the Jews in Jerusalem would not understand, so he wanted some witnesses with him, should God at this time decide to do some work among the Gentiles.
b. It is true that when Peter returned to Jerusalem, he was called on the carpet for the church had learned that he went to the Gentiles, and Peter called on the six to bear out his testimony.
II. AND ON THE NEXT DAY AFTER THEY HAD ENTERED CAESAREA.
A. This was now four days since Cornelius had his vision.
1. The night of the vision, he dispatched his servants.
2. The next day they arrived at Joppa and spent the night.
3. The next morning they headed back with Peter to Caesarea.
4. The following day they arrived.
B. Cornelius had been waiting for them and had called his family and close friends together.
1. As Peter arrived, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshipped him.
2. This is one of the dangers for anyone involved in the ministry, because God has used you as an instrument to bring his love and help to them, they often look at you and put you on a pedestal.
a. You see, they cannot see God, but they can see you.
b. It is difficult for many to worship someone they cannot see, but Jesus said that God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
c. This is a very heady thing, having people worship you.
d. Our corrupt flesh gets quite a thrill out of being worshipped.
e. We must take great care not to encourage that worship.
f. Paul speaks of beating himself to keep the body under.
g. To worship is instinctive in man, it was built into man to worship.
When you lift up your eyes unto heaven, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, [even] all the host of heaven, and you are driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
h. Look how people worship the stars today. Movie stars, rock stars, football stars, baseball stars, basketball stars. Women swooning over them throwing themselves at them.
i. There are some evangelists and T.V. personalities who even encourage such worship by their mannerisms and outlandish dress.
C. Peter commanded him to stand up and lifted him to his feet, and declared, "I am just a man."
1. When Satan tempted Jesus declaring that he would give to Jesus the kingdoms of the world and their glory if Jesus would just bow down and worship him, Jesus replied, "It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only."
2. Paul spoke of the folly of man who worshipped and served the creation more than the creator.
3. The scripture tells us that God remembers our frame, that we are only dust. The problem is that even though God remembers that, we often do not.
4. Paul asked:
For who made you to differ [from another]? and what do you have that you did not receive? now if you received [it], why do you glory, as if you did not receive it?
5. Anything that you might have that has brought a blessing to others has come to you as a gift from God. If it is God's gift to you, why do you act as though you were something special?
6. I am just a man, how important to remember that.
7. When King Herod was making an oration to the men of Tyre, they began to cry out, "It is the voice of a god and not man." And we are told that immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died.
8. I often wonder how long will God allow men exalt to themselves, while they deceive others and seemingly prosper?
9. We long for God to work in our lives, but are we able to properly handle the honors and praise that men will try to heap upon us?
10. Success is one of the greatest dangers in the ministry and has destroyed many a once dedicated man.
11. History is filled with men who started out very humble but were later destroyed by success.