Are you an evangelistic person? Do you pray for souls to be added to God’s Kingdom? Does your heart beat for the lost to know Jesus’ saving grace? Is there a passion in your heart for souls to avoid the eternal punishment of hell? You either have it or you don’t. One of the ways of determining whether you are evangelistic is to ask … “When it comes to Christianity, what is my greatest passion after I get to know Jesus better?” If it is the lost of this world, then you are evangelistic. Peter was an evangelistic … but even in his unconverted state, so was Cornelius! Please read:
Ac 10:27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
In Peter talking (v27) with Cornelius, they got to know who each other was.
1) Cornelius’s evangelistic heart.
Ac 10:27 Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.
This large crowd of people were made up from Cornelius’ relatives and friends.
Ac 10:24 Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
I started off today’s note asking where you are evangelistic. I am aware that each of us know many people. True some might not be as close to us as others. Even some family members are not within the inner circle of the family. But we all know many people. Are we concerned about their eternal state? Cornelius was concerned for those he knew. When our concern for people is their soul, then we shall be in pray for them, looking for every opportunity to share the Gospel with them or invite them to a Church meeting where the Gospel will be explained from the pulpit. Why did our Lord Jesus come to this planet? Some might think to do good works, healing the sick, casting out demons, performing amazing miracles, etc., but His chief purpose was to save lost souls … and the way He did this was to die substitutionally for all who will believe in His meritorious work, repent and be saved. If this was God’s divine plan to save lost souls, then surely we as His people need to sacrifice something of our time and resources so that we might play our part in reaching lost souls! Friend, if you do not have an evangelistic heart, pray for one because every Christian needs to be an evangelist.
2) Peter’s heartfelt confession.
Ac 10:28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.”
The Hebrew faith was not just “religion”, it was lifestyle as Christianity ought to be. In their case, daily life excluded any close ties with non-Jews. There was no specific Old Testament Law that prevented any interaction with Gentiles, rather the concept of being ritually clean dominated the “elders” (previous fathers) who taught that to remain “pure”, Jews needed to avoid mixing with Gentiles. The way the phrase, “against our law” is used here, means it is a criminal act for them to mix with Gentiles. Let’s understand this clearly. God never prohibited their association with Gentiles. Their past religious leaders wrote this as a law to supplement, or be an interpretation of God’s Law. They decidedly ignored God’s words to Abraham:
Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Where their claim was that Abraham was the “father” of the nation of Israel, they ignored that through him … which literally means through them, God would bless all peoples on earth! Their “fathers” chose to add to the Word of God as many do today. Instead of taking God’s Word as it is presented in the original parchments, they want to “improve” on what God says because they want their unique slant or bias included to suit their personal style of Christianity. Peter is brutally honest about his and his people’s take where it came to Gentile people. We however must at all costs refuse to add into or take away from God’s Holy Word. Never forget what is written within God’s inspired Word:
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Pray that those who twist the Bible to make it say what they want it to say will repent and receive the Word as it is provided by God. Nothing God gives needs to be improved!
3) The penny has dropped and Peter understands.
Ac 10:28 But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
Now Peter clearly understands the meaning of the sheet of animals. The Jews saw the Gentiles as unclean and themselves as clean. Naturally this was a spiritual matter … but seeing the vision of clean and unclean animals and now as “clean” being in the presence of this large gathering of people who were “unclean”, he experienced what God was teaching him. No person is unclean or unacceptable to God. Anyone who comes to God through Jesus Christ’s Blood Sacrifice is accepted and is made “spiritually cleaned from all sin and guilt”. Peter now understood this. A huge misunderstanding of God’s grace was dealt with and corrected. As Christians there are two matters we ought never to forget.
(1) All people stand before God as equally lost in sin until they come to faith in Jesus. All are desperately depraved. All are God’s enemies. All are rebels. It does not matter what our societal status is. It does not matter what our educational status is. It does not matter what your economic status is. It does not matter what your culture or ethnicity are. All are equal before God.
(2) There is one race known as the human race! There is no such thing as “races”. We all come from Adam through Noah. Having said these things it is wise to remember that it is wicked for Christians to be selective and exclude certain people from the Gospel and entering into God’s Kingdom.
Help us, Lord, to leave our inherent sinful bias and receive all people as equal in Your sight, whether saved or unsaved, so that we commit ourselves to evangelism. Amen.