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Bobby Stafford Gentiles Enter The Church
Lesson 26  Acts 10:1 – 11:18

The Book of Acts

Gentiles Enter the Church


The commission given by Jesus to His apostles told them to make disciples of all nations.  (Matthew 28:19-20) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.”  NKJV  He had earlier talked about “other sheep” than the Jews.  (John 10:16)  “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” NKJV  But in the early days of the church, the gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews.  [About ten years]  Now it was time for the Gentiles to hear the gospel and be part of the Lord’s church.

Text:  Acts 10:1 – 11:18


I.  We Meet Cornelius  Acts 10:1-8  “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.  About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’  And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, lord?’  So he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.  Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.  He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.  He will tell you what you must do.’  And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.  Now when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.” NKJV  

A.  Cornelius was an officer in the Roman army, a captain in charge of one hundred men.  He was a leader of men, yet submissive and humble as well.

B.  Cornelius was religious, pious and devout.  But being religious didn’t mean that he was saved.  He wasn’t.   

Acts 11:13-14 

“And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ ” NKJV

We see religion alone doesn’t save; one must be right religiously.  Only through Jesus could salvation now be found.  (Acts 4:12)  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” NKJV

C.  Cornelius was a God-fearer, a Gentile who showed reverence to Jehovah.  He worshiped the one true God.  He gave alms and was very generous to all people.  He was prayerful.  Prayer was a major part of his life.  Alms and prayers had come up as a memorial before God – a reminder.

D.  We don’t know if Cornelius was practicing the Jewish religion to some extent or worshipping as the patriarchs had, but he was not a Jewish proselyte.  [He had not been circumcised.]  See Acts 11:3.  “saying, ‘You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!’ ” NKJV  We do know that he was a very devout man, doing what he thought God wanted him to do.  He was doing what he knew how.  But he was still lost!  We see prayer doesn’t save the alien sinner, neither does goodness or sincerity.  

II.  Gentiles Granted Repentance unto Life

A.  God’s plan all along was for all nations [both Jews and Gentiles] to be a part of the Lord’s house, the church.  (Isaiah 2:2)  “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.” NKJV  Amos prophesied of the coming day when the tabernacle of David  [the Lord’s Kingdom] would include also the Gentiles.  (Amos 9:11-12)  “On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down.  And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does this thing.” NKJV 

B.  For this to happen, Peter must be convinced to go and preach the gospel to the Gentiles.  This is done by God sending a vision to him showing that Gentiles are no longer to be considered unclean.  Acts 10:9-23  “The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.  Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.  In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.  And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’  But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord!  For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’  And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’  This was done three times.  And the object was taken up into heaven again.  Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.  And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.  While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.’  Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, ‘Yes, I am he whom you seek.  For what reason have you come?’  And they said, ‘Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.’  Then he invited them in and lodged them.  On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.” NKJV  Read Acts 10:28.  “Then he said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation.  But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” NKJV

C.  Peter and Cornelius met and Peter preached to him and his household.  Acts 10:34-43  “Then Peter opened his mouth and said:  ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.  The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all – that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.  And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.  Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.  To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.’ ” NKJV  Notice his opening words in verses 34-35.   

Paul wrote similar words in I Corinthians 7:19.  “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.” NKJV

D.  The Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his household.  Acts 10:44-46  “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.  Then Peter answered.” NKJV  Acts11:15  “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.” NKJV  From this verse we learn He fell on them at the beginning of Peter’s sermon.  The Holy Spirit couldn’t have been given to them to save them because they weren’t even believers in Jesus yet!  It was to show that the Gentiles were subjects of salvation also.  Read Acts11:15-18.  “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.  Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  ‘If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ who was I that I could withstand God?’  When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.’ ” NKJV  

This was also a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy.  (Joel 2:28-29)  “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.  And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” NKJV  Now both Jews and Gentiles had had the Spirit poured out upon them.  Numbers of them spoke in tongues.

III. Cornelius and His Household Are Saved  Acts 10:47-48  “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.  Then they asked him to stay a few days.”  NKJV  Listen to Peter’s words regarding this in Acts 15:6-11.  “Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.  And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them:  ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.’ ” NKJV  Belief had been produced by hearing the gospel preached.  (Romans 10:17)  “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” NKJV  Repentance had been taught.  Acts 11:18  “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.’ ” NKJV  They were to turn to Christ and submit to Him in all things.  Then they were baptized “in the name of the Lord” – by, or upon, His authority.  This is to be preceded by a confession of one’s belief in the resurrected Son of God.  It is an immersion in water for forgiveness  of sins.   

(Acts 2:38)  “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ”  (Act 22:16)  “And now why are you waiting?  Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” NKJV 


(Acts 15:11)  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”  Is that your desire today? 

Bobby Stafford  November 22, 2015 
Acts:  Lesson 26  Acts 10:1 – 11:18

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