Saturday, April 9, 2016, 5:32 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “His Name is Wonderful.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 10 (Select vv. ESV). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10&version=ESV
Summary (vv. 1-33)
A non-Jew, named Cornelius, and his family were devout and God-fearing people. One day God, via one of his angels, appeared to Cornelius in a vision. God had noticed Cornelius’ prayers and his gifts to the poor. They came up as a memorial offering before God, i.e. they were like acceptable sacrifices on an altar before God, and God remembered them. So, God had Cornelius send for the Apostle Peter so that Peter could share with him and his family the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, Cornelius sent two of his servants and a devout soldier to Joppa to get Peter and to bring him back to Caesarea and to the home of Cornelius.
The next day, while these men were still on their way to see Peter, God/Jesus visited Peter in a vision. Peter saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet containing all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds being let down to earth. He heard a voice from heaven telling him to kill the animals and to eat them, but Peter replied, “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice from heaven responded, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened to him three times. Then, the men Cornelius had sent to get Peter showed up at the house where Peter was staying. The Holy Spirit told Peter not to hesitate to go with the men, for God had sent them to him.
Cornelius invited his friends and relatives to come to his house to hear what Peter had to say, i.e. to hear what message God had to give to them through Peter. When Peter went inside the house, he thus saw a large crowd of people gathered together. He was completely transparent and honest with them regarding his previous beliefs concerning the Jewish law calling for non-association of Jews with Gentiles, yet how God had changed his heart and mind and had showed him that he should not call any people impure or unclean just because of their heritage, race or culture. He then asked the reason for why they had sent for him. Cornelius then relayed the story of his visitation by an angel of God, and then he invited Peter to speak to them whatever God commanded him to tell them.
Anyone Who Fears Him (vv. 34-35)
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
Peter declared that he now knew that, in every nation, anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God. So, what does it mean to fear God? Fear, in this sense, has to do with honor, value, respect and reverential awe of God. When we have this kind of reverential fear of God, we follow him in obedience, and we accept into our lives his plan and purposes for our lives. We trust in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, to be Lord and Savior of our lives. We turn away from living in sin, and we submit to God’s will. We choose to walk in his ways, according to the Holy Spirit, and empowered by the Spirit. We value what God values. What is important to him is important to us. We believe what he says, and we take him and his word seriously. We abide by his Word, and we comply with his instructions to us.
So, what does it mean to do what is right? Right is the opposite of wrong. It is what is righteous and upright by God’s standards. So, how can we do what is right? We can’t do it in our own human flesh. We can only do what is right through submission to God, and only through his calling, leading and empowering. Not one of us is righteous in our own merit. All of us have sinned. We all come up short of attaining God’s divine approval. This is why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins so that, through faith in him, we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). As well, not one of us can even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us (Jn. 6:44). Even the faith to believe and the ability to repent come from God (Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:25). Yet, we must submit to God, yield to his purposes, trust in His Son, and walk in the Spirit so we don’t gratify the flesh.
Everyone Who Believes in Him (vv. 36-43)
As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
So, what is this good news of peace through Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He left his throne in heaven, came to earth, was born as a baby, and grew to become a man. When he walked this earth, he was fully God, yet fully man. He suffered like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, and delivered people from demons. He preached repentance for forgiveness of sins, and he taught that if we want to be his disciples that we must deny self and daily die to sin and self, i.e. we must take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him.
He was put to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong, but this was all in God’s plan and purposes for human kind. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. Yet he rose victorious over sin, Satan, hell and death. Because Jesus shed his blood for our sins, and because he came back to life, through faith in him we can be forgiven our sins, be delivered from slavery to sin, have the debt that stood against us cancelled, and have the hope of eternal life with God both now and forevermore.
When we truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Now that we are in Christ, by faith, we have peace with God, i.e. our sins are forgiven and we can now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and no longer after the flesh. We are no longer destined to spend eternity in hell, but we now have the hope of eternity in heaven with God when we leave this earth.
Yet, this peace is not just about escaping hell and going to heaven when we die. It is about a relationship with Almighty God, in daily communion with him, in the reading of his Word, in listening to him speak his words to our hearts, and in walking in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. It is about God’s love for us, and us loving him in return, and our desire to please him now in all that we are, and do and say. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Having peace with God means we no longer walk according to our sinful flesh, but we now conduct our lives according to the Spirit who now dwells within us. We love God, because he first loved us. Amen!
His Name is Wonderful / Audrey Mieir
…His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord;
He is the mighty King, master of everything…