Acts #38 (chapter 10:36-43)
The Book of Acts
The Salvation of the Gentiles, Part 4
Acts 10:36-43
Tonight we will study again from Acts 10, beginning at verse 36.  We've been moving through this chapter toward the moment when Cornelius will be saved, and it's been an interesting journey.
We've seen the preparation that has been taking place behind the scenes as God extends this call to Cornelius through a vision.  He is instructed to send servants to find and bring Peter to him. 
At the same time, through a separate vision, God is calling Peter to respond to this invitation.  And both men have to make a decision about what they will do.  Peter has to lay down all his old Jewish beliefs and practices and get in on what God is doing through the church, and Cornelius has to live by faith and do what he's told also.
And now, they are together.  Peter has come, brought some Jewish friends with him to meet this Roman soldier named Cornelius who has gathered up a crowd to listen to Peter.  And they are anxiously awaiting the message he will bring.   That message is recorded in
verses 34-43
Now, like all good sermons, Peter's sermon has three parts. It has an introduction, a main theme, and a conclusion or invitation, so we'll just look at it in that way. 
We looked at the introduction last week as Peter opens his mouth and gives testimony to the fact that God is no respecter of persons.  It makes no difference about your nationality or dialect or skin color because everyone is in need of God's salvation and all are welcome in His family.
That's the introduction.  Salvation is available. But it isn't enough just to know that salvation is available.  If you're lost in the wilderness, you need to know more than just that there is a way to get out of the jungle.  You need to know the way to get out. 
So Peter follows the introduction with
2.  The Main Theme
verses 36-42
Not only is salvation available, it is found in Jesus Christ.  He is the way. The only one who can provide you with resurrection life is Jesus Christ. Why? He's the only one that ever raised from the dead.
That's why there is no salvation in any other place or person.  It's because there's no resurrection in any other than Jesus Christ.  And that is the message Peter shares with Cornelius and the crowd with him.
Peter says, "Cornelius, you called me here to tell you what God has to say to you.  Here it is:  Salvation is only available through the resurrected Christ.  That's the Word God sent ne to deliver."
And notice, God sent that word to the children of Israel.  Incidentally, God's intention was they be a vehicle for that message, not a reservoir.
His intention was to use Israel as a testimony to His goodness and a channel through which that goodness could be carried to the world.  They were ineffective, so God established a new channel called the church, and we ain't doing too good either!
But that's what Peter is telling them. God chose  Israel as a tool to bring this message of peace through Jesus Christ.  Now aside from everything else that could be taught through that verse, the fundamental idea is that man is at war with God, but God desires peace. 
And the peace He desires is only available through Jesus Christ.  Resurrection life is a life of peace. When you come to Jesus Christ, the old war life dies. The old rebellious life dies, and you rise in a new life at peace with God. That's God's message to the world. Peace.
Not only peace with God, but peace among men.  That's what Peter's saying to these Gentiles, "Hey, He's my Lord. He's your Lord. We're one."
Not only that, it says, "He is Lord." You know who Jesus was? He was God in a human body. He is Lord. He's not a man. He's Lord. Not only that, He's Lord of all, which means that there is no other Lord. If anybody has a Lord at all, it is Him. There is no other Lord. "He is Lord of all." God said, "I'll have no other gods before Me." That's the same statement. "He is Lord of all."
Jesus Christ is Lord, and if anybody, anywhere on the globe, anytime, is a child of God, it is because he knows Christ. That's the only way. Notice, He is Lord of all.
There is no way that a man can enter into peace with God other than Christ. "He is Lord of all."
then, notice,
verse 37
He's pointing out that they've already received this information about Jesus. This wasn't anything new to Cornelius.  The message of Jesus had already been preached in this area.  They alread knew what Peter was saying. 
And just think about how true that is for people in America and in particular in the South.  They know; they've heard.  There is plenty of access to the information.  Most everyone knows about the claims of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  
But Peter goes on to point out some specifics within the general information.  You know about Christ, but let me show you some specifics. 
First, it all began with John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets and his ministry was solely focused on announcing the coming of Christ.
Jews who would come to accept that Jesus was the Messiah through the preaching of John, he would baptize. Their baptism was a symbol of their purification.  They were getting ready for Messiah.
And one day, as John was getting people ready for the coming of Messiah, the Messiah came. Jesus wandered down to the Jordan River.
John turned to Him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God was takes away the sins of the world." And John faded out, Jesus Christ came to the forefront, and the spotlight of the world was turned on Him and His ministry. 
And verses 38 and 39 summarizes that earthly ministry.
verses 38-39a
He explains what He did - He went about doing good, to whom He ministered - all who were oppressed by the devil, and how He did it - for God was with Him. And then he adds the fact that he was an eyewitness.  
And for a while everyone was on board.  But at the end of verse 39, Peter says Jesus was killed. 
verse 39b
It's hard to imagine a civilization of people that would crucify a man who went about doing good, but that's what happened.
But then, Peter very quickly comes to his point:
verse 40
The devil got men to kill Him, but God raised Him up. Men called him a blasphemer and delivered a verdict.  But the case was appealed to a higher court where God reversed the decision, raised Him from the grave, and declared Him to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
And notice it says that He "showed Him openly. Peter is doing nothing less than, as an eyewitness to His resurrection, declaring that Jesus rose from the grave.
And as we see in verse 41, He verified his resurrection by appearing to eyewitnesses who spent time with Him and ate and drank and fellowshipped with the resurrected Lord.
And notice,
verse 42
Cornelius, you want to know what message God sends?  This is it!  It is the story of the Jesus who lived a perfect life, died a sinless death and rose victorious from the grave so that you could have peace with God!
That is the message He sent us to preach.  And by the way, that message comes with a warning and an invitation. 
The warning: "If He's not your Deliverer, He'll be your Judge." Take your choice. This is the message:   "Salvation is available. Salvation is in Jesus Christ.
And here's the invitation.
verse 43
Salvation is available, salvation is in Christ, and salvation is by faith.
Speaking of Christ, the Old Testament testimony is "That through His name whosoever believeth in Him, Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, shall receive remission of sins."
Two key words in that verse:  The first one is "remission".  Remission is forgiveness. The only thing that can allow God to receive us is forgiveness, and forgiveness comes when you believe.
The second one is "whoever".
Don't you love the word "whoever"?  God is not limited. Whosoever believes shall receive forgiveness, and it's only a question of faith.
Paul said, "If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Salvation is available to everybody who comes. It's in Christ, and it's by faith.  And it's the only thing that can bring peace with God. 
Let's pray.
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