I. YOU KNOW HOW THAT IT IS AN UNLAWFUL THING FOR A MAN THAT IS A JEW TO KEEP COMPANY, OR COME UNTO ONE OF ANOTHER NATION.
A. The Jews were a very clannish people. Under the law they were commanded not to intermarry with those from other nations.
Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
1. Thus the strict rules against intermarriage was to keep them from turning away from following the Lord.
2. They were God's chosen people. Chosen for what?
a. To bring the Messiah into the world.
b. God promised to Abraham that from His seed the Messiah would come.
c. The promise was repeated to David.
d. God wanted to keep the line of Abraham pure so that the Messiah might be born.
3. Nehemiah reported on his second visit to Jerusalem he saw Jews who had married wives of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Their children spoke different languages, and did not speak Hebrew. Nehemiah said that he contended with them and cursed them. He beat them up and pulled out their hair and made them swear by God that they would not give their daughters to the sons of non Jews, nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Among all the nations there was no king like him, who was so loved by God, nevertheless outlandish women caused even him to sin.
4. Peter is taking a big step by coming to the house of a Gentile. He is going against all of the traditions of the past. Yet the Lord has told him not to call that which God had cleansed, unclean.
B. The woman of Samaria was surprised that Jesus would ask her for a drink because He was a Jew, and she was a Samaritan. She said, "The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans." That was so true, but Jesus had dealings with Samaritans.
1. Jesus revealed to her that He was the satisfying water of life.
2. The nature of God. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
3. That He was the Messiah.
4. Jesus accepted the invitation of the Samaritans to abide with them for a while, so He remained with them for two days and many believed on Him.
II. THEREFORE I HAVE COME WITHOUT HESITATION OF RELUCTANCE.
A. He is letting them know that he is not there by his own choice, but by the commandment of the Lord.
1. We used to sing, "If Jesus goes with me I'll go, anywhere, tis heaven to me, wherever I be if He is there."
2. At one of the baptismals I baptized a lady who I would guess to be in her forties who spoke of her great fear of water. She said that in all of her life, she had never had her head under water. She said that she would never do it except for Jesus.
3. Many times we do things that we would never do except for Jesus.
4. Peter would never have gone into the house of a Gentile, unless the Lord commanded him to do so.
B."Why did you send for me?"
1. The men who had come to Joppa to get Peter told him of the vision of Cornelius, and how the angel told him to send for Peter to hear words from him.
2. Peter is wanting to hear it directly from Cornelius.
C. Cornelius repeated for Peter the vision he had of the angel.
1. Of how the angel instructed him to send for Peter, who when he came he would speak to them.
2. He commended Peter for coming, "You have done well in coming."
III. Peter's message.
A."Truly I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."
1. What a revolutionary revelation to Peter, but it shouldn't be.
2. Their scriptures revealed this truth.
For the LORD your God [is] God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, mighty, and awesome who regards not persons, nor takes bribes.
3. As you know David because of his multiplied wives had multiplied problems. There were half brothers and half sisters. One of his sons Amnon disgraced his half sister Tamar who was a full sister to Absolom, another son of David. As a result Absalom killed his half brother Amnon. Absalom fled from David and was gone for three years. David longed for Absalom's return but was too proud to call him home. So Joab, David's chief general went to a wise woman in Tekoa and told her to dress in clothes of mourning and go to David with a story. So the woman came to David and fell on her face and cried for help. David asked, "What's your problem." So she told him this story. I am a widow, and my two sons got into a fight and the one hit the other so that he died. My family has turned against me and wants me to deliver my living son to them that they might put him to death, and that will leave me destitute with no living children. David told her to be at peace that he would take care of
the situation. After receiving further assurances from David, the woman said to him: "What you have said is faulty, for you have banished your son, and will not bring him back, we all will die and be like water that is spilled on the ground, that can't be gathered up again, and God does not respect any person, but He devises means by which the banished may not be expelled from Him.
B. In every nation, those that fear Him and work righteousness are accepted by Him.
1. The prophet said that the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
2. Here Peter declares that God accepts those who fear Him and work righteousness.
The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God.
They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.
4. Paul quotes him in Romans 3:10
declaring that there is none righteous, no not one.
5. Just what is the work of righteousness? It is believing the word of God.
6. One day they asked Jesus what they must do to do the work of God. Jesus answered, this is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.
7. Paul speaks of the righteousness of God which is by faith.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because [they sought it] not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down [from above]:)
Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
C. Tonight we seek to stand before God, either in our own righteousness or in the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to us by our faith.
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: