Sermon Summary - The Gospel Goes to the Gentiles - Acts 10:1-29
The Gospel Goes to the Gentiles - Acts 10:1-29
There is only one way to God, one name under heaven by which anyone can be saved. It is for Jews and any other person, no matter what religion, culture, race, ethnicity, or social class they’re in. Only through the shed blood of Jesus and his victory on the cross is the power to destroy sinful pride in one’s birth status. Racism, classism, and elitism are horrific, anti-Christ, sins. Christ takes for himself a people to be one body, apart from any birth status, apart from any work, which is the gospel of justification by faith alone.
Looking at context, God calls a pagan man named Abraham and makes a covenant with him and his descendants. His people grow exponentially and become enslaved in Egypt. God then, uses his servant Moses to deliver his people from slavery. Having been delivered from Egypt to Mount Sinai, God gave his people the Law. Not only did he give them the moral law for all humanity, he also gave them the ceremonial, cultural, and food laws in order to set his people Israel apart. In Leviticus, Chapter 11 (Lev. 11), God specifies which animals are considered clean and unclean to eat. After the Babylonian captivity the Jews who came back to their home land began to take God’s Law seriously, so much that besides what was written, about 800 oral traditions on how to keep the Laws were kept in addition.
All of Jesus’ apostles were Jews who observed the Law, which kept them from eating certain foods and separated them from gentiles. For 7 years, they preached to fellow Jews worshipping God of the resurrected Jesus, but most of them never thought about the issue of evangelizing non-Jews or having freedom to eat gentile food. This is why Peter was stunned at the vision and words that God gave him to kill and eat different kinds of animals (Acts 10:9-16).
God knew what it took to get Peter to understand so he sent an angel to Cornelius, a Roman officer who feared the Lord and supported God’s chosen people. The angel instructed Cornelius to send men, seek Peter and bring him to his household. After having the vision, the Lord showed Peter that he should not call any person common or unclean which is why he went with Cornelius’ men back to Caesarea without objection.
The larger message of Peter’s vision was that he, as a Jew, is not to look at non-Jews as unclean or unworthy of having the gospel preached to them (Acts 10:28). With the coming of Jesus and his new covenant, God abolished the food laws. Gentiles are also not required to convert to Judaism in order to be saved. In God’s providence over redemptive history, this Jewish, religious law keeping, is what set the context for the gospel of justification by faith alone, apart from works or birth status. This started with Jesus and the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). Paul, in Romans 3:20-25, explains how no person has any advantage with God based upon their birth, religious upbringing, or law keeping. Only through faith in Jesus comes the righteousness of God for all who believe, whether they’re a Jew or non-Jew.
At the core of the Gospel is the power to destroy pride in one’s birth status or performance. Jesus came purposely, to bring himself a people out of every nation and group, to form one body in Christ.
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