INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES Acts Lesson 10
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Acts Chapter 10

Distributed by:  Internet Bible Studies

Memory verses for this week:  Phil 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; Phil 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Introduction:     In Chapter 9, we got to see the miraculous salvation of Saul as he traveled on the road to Damascus.   He was soon found in the synagogue teaching and preaching about Jesus Christ.  The disciples at first questioned his sincerity, since he had bound Christians and taken them back to Jerusalem to be imprisoned.   But his salvation was real, and God began to show him what great things Paul was to suffer for Christ’s sake.  This week we cover the conversion of Cornelius and his family.

  I.                    Cornelius’ Vision

 Acts 10:1  There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

Acts 10:2  A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Acts 10:3  He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

 

Verse 1 declares that Cornelius was a captain of a roman band which might have been the bodyguard of the emperor.   We see some important things about Cornelius.

  •          He was a devout man.

  •           It states that he feared God                                       (All of his house feared the Lord.)

  • He gave much alms to the people.

  •  He prayed to God always.

 Cornelius’ prayers had went up before God as a memorial.  (verse 4)   He knows all things about all people, but God does not approve of everything that He sees.   Some people believe that Cornelius was already saved before this encounter with Peter, but a person does not have to be saved to receive a vision from God.   As a matter of fact, we have many records in God’s Word where lost people received visions.  And Acts 11:14 declares that Cornelius was lost at this time.

 Acts 11:13  And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;

Acts 11:14  Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

The difference in Cornelius and many religious people today is that he knew that his religious devotion was not enough to save him.  Many religious people today are satisfied that their character and good works will get them to heaven, and they have no concept either of their own sin or God’s grace.  Cornelius was asking God to show him the way of salvation.   In reading in Warren Wiersbe’s book about Acts, he told the story of John Wesley.  He said that “John Wesley was like Cornelius.  He was a religious man, a church member, a minister, and the son of a minister.  He belonged to a “religious club” at Oxford, the purpose of which was the perfecting of the Christian life.  Wesley served as a foreign missionary, but even as he preached to others, he had no assurance of his own personal salvation.  On May 24, 1738, Wesley reluctantly attended a small meeting in London where someone was reading aloud from Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans.  “About a quarter before nine,” Wesley wrote in his journal, “While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed, I felt I did trust in Christ, and Christ alone  for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”  We know what a great revival soon broke out in Britain after this man got saved.

 

Some examples of men who had visions or dreams from the Lord are in Daniel and Genesis. 

Dan 2:1  And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

 

Dan 5:1  Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

Dan 5:2  Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Dan 5:3  Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

Dan 5:4  They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Dan 5:5  In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

 

Gen 40:2  And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.

Gen 40:3  And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.

Gen 40:4  And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.

Gen 40:5  And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.

  

Acts 10:4  And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:5  And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

Acts 10:6  He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

 

The angel of the Lord came about the ninth  hour.  This was the hour when the Jews went to the temple to pray.   We see that the angel told Cornelius that his prayers had come up as a memorial before God.  It is important that we understand that God does not answer the prayers of the lost, except for one prayer.  And that is for salvation.   Once we are saved, we then have access direct to the Father through Jesus Christ.  Several years ago, a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bailey Smith, caused a huge uproar in the media when he stated that the Lord did not hear the prayer of the Jews unless it was a request to be saved.   Many were very upset with his narrow viewpoint.  The reality is that his statement was correct, and it is true of all mankind, not just the Jews.  We must first come to Jesus Christ for salvation, and then all of our prayers are heard by the Father that are prayed in Jesus’ name.

 

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

John 14:13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

 

In verses 5 and 6, we see the angel tells where Peter may be found and give a command for them to go and retrieve him.  Peter would tell them what they ought to do.   And every Christian, if we are doing the Lord’s will, will preach that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.  When Paul saw the city of Athens given over to idol worship, he preached unto them Jesus.  Jesus is the answer to a person’s sin sick soul, and He is the answer for the problems of today. 

Acts 17:16  Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

Acts 17:17  Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Acts 17:18  Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

 

II.       Cornelius Sends for Peter  

Acts 10:7  And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;

Acts 10:8  And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

We see that like Saul who was obedient to the heavenly vision, Cornelius is also obedient to his vision and he sends two of his servants and a soldier to find Peter and to bring him back.

III.             Peter’s Vision of the Great Sheet

Acts 10:9  On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:

Acts 10:10  And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

Acts 10:11  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

Acts 10:12  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

Acts 10:13  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

Acts 10:14  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

Acts 10:15  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Acts 10:16  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

 

We know that the Jews had been taught through the law that they were not to eat of the unclean animals.  God had given specific rules as to which were classified as clean and which were unclean.  Peter was simply trying to follow the rules he had been taught from his Jewish traditions.  God was using this to break down his prejudice against the Gentiles.  The Gentiles were looked upon as dogs to the Jews who were God’s chosen people.  But because the Jews rejected the message of salvation of Christ, God was opening up the church to both Jews and Gentiles.  This vision of the sheet with all kinds of animals was God’s way of showing Peter that all, both Jew and Gentile, could be saved and come into fellowship with God.   When God told Peter to kill and eat, God was showing him that it was no longer an unclean thing to go into the house of a Gentile.

 Paul and Barnabas told the church at Antioch that God hand opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, of which Paul was called the apostle.

 

Acts 14:27  And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

 

Acts 13:46  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

IV.    Peter and the Messengers of      Cornelius

Acts 10:17  Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,

Acts 10:18  And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.

Acts 10:19  While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Acts 10:20  Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

Acts 10:21  Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?

Acts 10:22  And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

 We see that Peter was questioning in his mind what this vision meant, and while he was searching for the meaning, these three men were outside looking for him.

Peter had a heart that tender to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and he listened to what God would have him to do.  He is instructed to go with them and to not doubt whether it was of God or not, for He had sent them.   When we can come to that point in our life where we totally depend upon the Lord, we realize that even the negative things that happen to us are for a reason.  We may not understand, but we know it is in God’s plan.   And how many blessings we may miss if we do not listen for the Spirit’s direction when it comes to doing God’s work.

V.     Peter Goes to Caesarea

Acts 10:23  Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Acts 10:24  And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

Acts 10:25  And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

Acts 10:26  But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Acts 10:27  And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

Acts 10:28  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Acts 10:29  Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

 

We see that Peter did not tarry, but went with the men knowing that God had a work for him to do in this town.  They travel into Caesarea, and find Cornelius and his kinsmen waiting for them.  In verse 25, we see Cornelius worshipping the wrong one.   Peter declares that it is God who should receive the honor and glory.   It is very easy as an ambassador of the Lord to have much praise poured upon you when in reality we have done little, but just been vessels used of the Lord.  Pride needs to be eliminated, and God glorified in all cases.  If it were not for the Grace of God, we would not be even worthy to be used.  Just clay in the potters hands is what each of us are who are saved.

 Mat 4:10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

 

John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

Acts 10:30  And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

Acts 10:31  And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Acts 10:32  Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.

Acts 10:33  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

 

Peter asks Cornelius why he sent for him in verse 29.   When people desire something from us, we are wise to ask why they are coming to us.  It may be a great window of opportunity that God has opened, but it also might not be something God would want us to do.  In this case, there was clear indication that all of this, from Cornelius’ vision through the sheet that Peter saw come down from heaven, to the call of Peter to this place, it was all of God.  Cornelius tells Peter that it was “To hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”    I believe when a man or woman is a devout person, and they are seeking God, that God will send a messenger to preach the Gospel to that individual.  We’ve mentioned before that man who was in the remote part of Mexico, and a missionary, Milton Martin, walked for days to get back to the village where he lived, and that man was saved.  And from that man’s preaching, many preachers were raised up in Mexico by the Lord.  The man wanted to know the true and living God, and the Lord sent Brother Martin to him.   Cornelius had a desire to know God, the all things of God, and God gave him the desires of his heart.  When we gather together in church on Sunday, it should be to here ALL things that God has to say.

VI.     Peter’s Sermon to the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house

Acts 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Acts 10:35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Acts 10:36  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Acts 10:37  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

Acts 10:38  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Acts 10:39  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Acts 10:40  Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;

Acts 10:41  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Acts 10:42  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Acts 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

 

We see that as soon as Peter opened his mouth, he begins to speak of God.  What is important in our lives is what we will speak.  Out of the treasure of the heart the mouth speaketh.

 

Luke 6:45  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

 

Peter’s desire was to preach the Gospel, and he proclaims Jesus as the Savior for all mankind, both Jews and Greeks, and Gentiles.  

 Some of Peter’s points were:

              God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost and Power

   It was God that raised Jesus from the dead

  God ordained that Jesus was to be the judges of the saved and lost.

    Peter declares that all the prophets preached that through Jesus’ name that whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.

  VII.           The Holy Spirit is given to Gentile Believers

Acts 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Acts 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Acts 10:47  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 10:48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

 

This is the first record we have since the beginning of the church where someone received the Holy Ghost without the laying on of the hands of an apostle.  The Gentiles were now being given the gift of the Holy Ghost that the Jews received on the day of Pentecost when around 3,000 were saved.  Like on that day, they spoke in tongues.   It is an important thing to notice that the Holy Ghost was given prior to them being baptized.   Lost people do not receive the Holy Ghost, thereby a proof of how salvation is totally of Grace and of Christ, not of baptismal waters.  Those that were saved were commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord.  After this, these believers ask Peter to tarry with them certain days.  It is such a joy to be around other Christians, especially those with whom you have had a part in preaching the Gospel to see them saved.  In J. Vernon McGee’s commentary on Acts, he points out a very interesting point about the three representative conversions we have in the book of Acts.  The Ethiopian eunuch that Philip preached to was a son of Ham.  Saul of Tarsus was a son of Shem.  And Cornelius was son of Japheth.  In each instance, the Holy Spirit moved, using a man of God and the Word of God.  These three were the descendants of Noah’s three sons, from which all the world descended after the flood.

 

Gen 5:32  And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Gen 6:1  And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

 

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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

 

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