Acts 10:1-5 ESV
“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, ‘Cornelius.’ And he stared at him in terror and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ And he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.’”
Cornelius and his family were devout and God-fearing, but they were Gentiles, with whom Jews did not associate. But the Lord did not ignore his prayers just because he was a Gentile and not a Jew. For, he was seeking after the Lord, the one true God, with all his heart, so God heard him.
And the Lord hears our prayers, too, if we are God-fearing, and if we honor the Lord as God, and if we seek him with our hearts, and if we desire to follow him in obedience to his will for our lives.
Acts 10:9-16 ESV
“The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.
“And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.”
The Jews, under the Old Covenant, had many restrictive rules about things they could or could not do, or about things they could or could not eat. But when Jesus came, and he died on the cross for our sins, and he rose again, and he ascended back to the Father and sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, he did away with all those ceremonial, dietary and purification laws. So, the Jews were free to eat what before they could not eat.
But this was a tough transition for many of the Jews who had been taught from birth to follow all those rules and regulations which were mostly external and ceremonial in nature and were not God’s moral laws which remained in effect to today, which the New Testament expanded upon.
For, God’s moral laws have to do with the heart, with righteousness, and with how we treat one another, too. The other laws were ceremonial and external in nature, although they were then required to obey them. But under the New Covenant, they were free from the external requirements. They were also free from some of the punishments of moral sins, too.
Anyway, Peter was having a difficult time transitioning to the new way of the New Covenant and away from the old way of the Old Covenant, but the Lord was working on his heart and mind. But this was not just about food here. This was about people and it was about accepting Gentiles into God’s family.
Thus, Peter listened to the Lord, and the Lord sent him to Cornelius’ house. And Peter’s understanding of what the Lord was teaching him began to increase, for he obeyed the Lord, and he did what the Lord told him to do.
Many of us, too, from birth on up, were taught all sorts of things, some good and some bad. We were trained in customs, ceremonies, traditions of men, and our culture, etc. But when Jesus saves us from our sins, and he transforms us in heart and mind, he opens our eyes, too, to see those things that are to no longer be a part of our lives, and thus we must listen to him, too. For we may need to forsake some cultural norms and traditions of men.
But, contrary to what some people are teaching these days, the Lord did not remove God’s moral standards from our lives. He did not save us from sin so we can continue living in sin, dishonoring our Lord, and refusing to obey him. He saved us so we would be dead to sin and so we would now walk in his righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
Acts 10:44-48 ESV
“While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.”
Because Peter obeyed the Lord, and he did what he showed him to do, and he accepted Cornelius and his family as God had accepted them, the Lord used him to share the gospel of salvation from sin with Cornelius and with those in his household who were present to listen to what Peter had to say.
Speaking of Jesus, Peter said: “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.” vv. 42-43
And because of Peter’s testimony the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word of God, indicating that they had believed in Jesus to be their Lord and Savior to cleanse them of their sins and to give them new lives in Jesus, their Lord, to be lived for the Lord for his glory, honor and praise.
And the Lord Jesus will use us in marvelous ways in other people’s lives, too, when we are committed to our Lord and to his service, and when we are willing to obey him in doing what he says to do, and when we are willing, too, to forsake our former prejudices, traditions, cultural norms and things learned in the flesh which are not honoring to God and/or from which he has set us free by his grace.
Our minds and our hearts just need to be open to being taught by the Holy Spirit and by the word of God and to be willing to let go of things past which still have a hold on our lives which are contrary to the teachings of Scripture and to God’s will and calling on our lives.
It is amazing, then, what God can do in us and through us for his glory, honor, and praise in the spreading of his gospel message, and in impacting other human lives for the gospel of Christ, for their deliverance from slavery to sin, and for the hope of eternal life with God through their surrender to Christ as Lord, and through walks of obedience to his commands.
When I Was Walking
An Original Work / January 16, 2020
When I was walking along the way,
My Lord was with me, and He did say,
“My child I’m with you. I hear you pray,
‘Oh, help me, Lord! Need You today!’”
He is my friend, near to the end.
Gently leads me. His servant be.
He helps me pray – knows what to say.
He’s all I need. On Him I feed.
When I am wond’ring of what to do,
He gently leads me to what is truth.
He is my helper. He strengthens me.
When I’m in want, supplies my need.
He comforts me with all His love.
Gives me His grace from heav’n above.
I heed His call to watch and pray,
To guard my heart throughout each day.
When He is calling to come to Him,
To let Him lead you, trust Him within,
How will you answer to Him today?
Will you say, “Yes, Lord, have your way”?
Do not neglect to let Him in,
Cleanse you from sin, made new within.
Leave all your sin, obey your Lord,
Trust in His Word – His mighty Sword.