Are you able to think through an example of how, through reading the Bible or listening to an expositional sermon or maybe reading a good Christian book or commentary … how God changed something you believed? Maybe it was a small matter or maybe it was an important doctrine. Are you able to recall how your thinking was changed to come in line with what the Bible teaches? Some people grapple to change their belief and adopt a Bible position. Others again change automatically without hesitation because they believe in God’s Word as their final authority.
God’s Word changed Peter. It might have been the Spoken Word in a trance, but it is recorded for us as part of the Written Word.
1) God changed Peter’s understanding of whom may be saved! Remember, up to this point, even though Jesus’ Great Commission stated “all nations” and His instruction was to “Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth” … Peter and many of the Christians from Jewish stock were skeptical and believed the Kingdom was exclusively for Israel and not the Gentile World.
Ac 10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(1) He says … “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism”. He understood what God wanted throughout the existence of Israel … and even before … to the father of the nation (Abram = Abraham) of which God said:
Ge 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Firstly God promises to bless Abraham making him into a great nation that will be protected. This is Israel. Secondly God promises to bless all peoples on Earth through Abraham. From Abraham came Isaac, Israel (Jacob), king David and the Lord Jesus. (See Matthew 4 and Luke 4 for the genealogy of Messiah). The stubbornness of Israel prevented her from evangelism and from understanding the Biblical text properly where it came to Messiah. This incorrect Doctrine of Messiah and His Salvific Work to reach the World came about through negligent doctrines. It’s no wonder that even though Jesus gave orders to the disciples that they remained inclusive. The Gospel was for them alone. Look what it took to change Peter! Today far too many believe what they hear from their spiritual leaders without consulting God’s Doctrinal Text Book … the Bible. Error doctrine is easily learnt because people, being naïve, become indoctrinated without making the Bible their final reference for Truth. The Gospel Call is to all peoples wherever they are and whoever they are. God does not practice favoritism and rejects discrimination. The Church or Pastor or Christian Worker or Christian who discriminates, choosing whom they feel should go to heaven and not go to heaven are false teachers and preachers and are most likely religious but not true Christian.
2) He then reminds them of what they have heard over the past few months, perhaps from Christians and maybe angry Jews. He starts preaching the Gospel:
Ac 10:36 “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
He then declares that he and those with him can testify to the truth of what he is preaching
Ac 10:39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
Not only does he testify to them being eye witnesses, he includes all the ingredients of the Gospel so that there is no misunderstanding about what the Gospel Message is! The most important matter about sharing or preaching the Gospel is the content. Many leave out crucial bits of information to shape the message to make it more suitable or more believable. Never forget, God saves through the True Gospel Message … man himself is the messengers not the savior. We don’t need to manipulate the message because God only uses the Gospel He has given to convict, cause belief and repentance
3) By this time Peter remembers what Jesus instructed them about All Nations and the Ends of the Earth! Look at what he says:
Ac 10:42 “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.”
He recalls that Jesus commanded them to preach to all people, proving that Jesus is the One God the Father appointed as Judge of the saved (living – spiritually alive) and the unsaved (dead – spiritually dead). When you remember that Jesus is God it is not difficult to believe He too is Judge. You know and understand what will happen to the spiritually dead? They will die in their sin, be judged, found guilty and be condemned to eternal separation from God in the place of burning sulfur … hell … damnation … the place of punishment, pain, suffering and agony forever! This is why we must preach the Gospel.
4) Peter includes the message of the prophets.
Ac 10:43 “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Through faith in Jesus there is pardon for sin. No other name throughout all creation offers this … it’s only in Jesus Name that being made right with God is possible.
Dear Lord Jesus, Your Name is indeed music in the ears of all those saved by grace. Lord draw multitudes to hear and be saved. Raise up faithful men and women to share the full Gospel so that when people hear it, they might believe it. Amen.