Acts + Letters Lesson 7 Day 3

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Acts + Letters Lesson 7 Day 3

Acts 1

God poured out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles.

6. Cornelius

—Lives in Caesarea

A Centurian of the Italian Regiment

—Devout man of “extraordinary character” (TPT)

He and all his household were “God-fearers.”

Cornelius was in the category of what the Jews called God-fearers (one who feared God). These were Gentiles who loved the God of Israel; they were sympathetic to and supportive of the Jewish faith. Yet they stopped short of becoming full Jews in lifestyle and in circumcision.

Jewish people of that time respected and appreciated these God-fearing Gentiles, but they could not really share their life and homes and food with them, because they were still in fact Gentiles and not full Jewish converts. (Guzik)

Gives generously to the poor

Good reputation with all the Jews

An angel appeared to him with instructions

Prayed daily at the appointed time according to Jewish ritual

Cornelius needs Jesus.

The Jews would say although it’s admirable a Gentile worships their God and adheres to many of their practices, he isn’t circumcised, and he has the wrong ancestors.

Although Cornelius has a real relationship with God—he doesn’t know about Jesus. God respected and honored his zealous heart and led him to the truth through Peter who told him what they saw and heard. Peter says, “All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43 WEB)

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those [Gentiles] who heard the word.” (Acts 10: 44 WEB)

Peter hadn’t yet extended the invitation to accept Jesus or led them in the “sinner’s prayer!”

7. Peter’s vision of non-Kosher animals

Heavenly voice: “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!” (vs 13 WEB)

Peter: “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” (vs 14 WEB)

Heavenly voice: “What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.” (vs 15 WEB)

This happened three times. When something is really important, God speaks in triplicate for emphasis.

b. The Spirit speaks another instruction.

While he was trying to figure out what it all meant, the Spirit said,

“Behold, three men seek you. But arise, get down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” (vs 19-20 WEB, emphasis added)

8. God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants fulfilled.

i. According to William Barclay, it was common for a Jewish man to begin the day with a prayer thanking God that he was not a slave, a Gentile, or a woman. A basic part of the Jewish religion in the days of the New Testament was an oath that promised that one would never help a Gentile under any circumstances, such as giving directions if they were asked. But it went even as far as refusing to help a Gentile woman at the time of her greatest need – when she was giving birth – because the result would only be to bring another Gentile into the world. (Enduring Word)

The Spirit fell on the Gentiles, and Peter commanded them to be baptized, confirming these Gentiles are followers of Jesus.

This fulfilled God’s promise in Genesis 12:1-4 that “All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”

Jesus said, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold.” (John 10:16 WEB)

He also said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32 WEB) As the saying goes, “all means all.”

The church in the US could take some diversity cues from business and government sectors, but I have seen much progress during my lifetime.


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My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 7 Day 3