We need the gospel every day
Acts 10:34-43 (Pastor Heo)
10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Chapter 10 is the story of the conversion of the Gentiles.
Through the ministry of the HS, Peter was used for these things. This is a turning point for the church. This is when God reveals his salvation plan for the WHOLE WORLD. There is no longer Jew nor Gentile, black nor white, slave nor free. We are all ONE in Christ.
In this story, there are two main human characters:
- Gentile: Cornelius (Roman soldier)
- Jew: Peter
Humanly speaking, Cornelius was a man of devotion, high quality, generosity, regular prayer, but not yet saved – simply because he didn’t yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He did not yet accept Christ as his Savior and Lord.
As a truth-seeker, one day he was praying earnestly – and one day an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Send for Peter in Joppa.” Immediately, he sent his three servants to Joppa.
The next day, Peter was praying at noon. During his prayer, suddenly, something huge like a sheet from heaven came down to earth in front of Peter. It contained all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles. It was unclean to Peter’s eyes.
- But a voice from heaven said, “Peter, get up, kill and eat.”
- Peter: “No! I’ve never eaten anything unclean.”
- God: “Do not call anything unclean that I’ve made clean.”
According to Jewish law, clean becomes unclean by contact with the unclean. If a clean thing touches an unclean thing, ALL become unclean.
This happened three times (the sheet dropping and voice from heaven).
Are you Christian? You/we have contact with non-Christians in our daily lives.
- Are you influencing or being influenced by them?
- Are you affecting them or being affected by them?
This is a serious question today.
Peter was still trying to understand what this vision meant.
At that moment, three men from Cornelius arrived for Peter, and the voice said, “I have sent men, do not hesitate to go with them.”
Maybe they talked much that night, and the next morning they started out for Caesarea to meet Cornelius.
Cornelius was waiting for Peter with his household and friends. We don’t know how many gathered – maybe AICF size? But we can say that this was the FIRST non-Jewish church, the first Gentile church, in church history. Thus, this is the turning point in church history.
Cornelius received him by bowing down before him. Peter said, “No, I’m a man as well!” Then Peter said, “You Gentiles know that we Jews do not associate with Gentiles, but my Lord said, ‘Do not call any unclean that I have made clean.’ Why did you send for me?” Cornelius explained his vision and said, “We are all here to listen to God’s voice through you.”
Are you also ready to listen to the Word of God through my poor English? Look to God.
Whenever the sermon is spoken, focus on Jesus Christ, not my English.
The text we read today is Peter’s 4th sermon in the book of Acts. Actually, Peter speaks 6 sermons:
- chp 2: Crowd at Pentecost
- chp 3: Crowd at temple
- chp 4: Sanhedrin
- chp 10: Cornelius and family
“10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
God is no respecter of persons as far as nationality and race are. All men have the SAME Creator. All men are sinners. All men need the same ONE Savior. In these facts, we are all ONE. Thus, we believe in the universality of salvation. But, we must not believe in the Universalism of salvation.
- Universalism: Everybody will be saved at last whether or not they trust Christ – because God is TOO good to allow anyone to perish. (This is a tool of Satan to blind people’s eyes to the message of the gospel.) Evangelical Christians reject this doctrine.
- Universality: God does not show any favoritism nor partiality to anyone who believes in Christ. The only determinant factor is ONLY faith in Christ.
If you believe in Christ, you are saved.
The universal application of Christ’s work on the cross and universal offer of the gospel and salvation are inclusive.
Also we need to be optimistic about what the gospel will do. But we also must (occasionally) be aggressive in preaching the gospel of Christ.
“I’m not ashamed of the gospel, for the gospel is the power of God for EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES in Jesus Christ.”
“10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”
The gospel is the message of peace. It is “good news” of “great joy” – “peace” for all the people – eternally, at the same time. This news is news of peace.
Only in Christ can this kind of peace be found. That’s why Jesus is called the Prince of Peace – this means “Future King” of Peace. Already 700 years before his coming, he was prophesied to be born.
When he was born in this world, the first sign and expression of his birth was this telling of the angels, “Glory to God and Peace on Earth to men~”
Jesus says, “Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as this world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
True peace cannot be found in this world. We cannot find true peace through riches, popularity, possessions, etc.
The Bible says, ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. ‘
Christ has made the TWO, ONE. Jesus’ coming in this world was to create a NEW people out of the two – through his crucifixion. By his crucifixion, Christ killed all hostility between human beings. He preached peace to those who were far away (Gentiles) and those who are near (Jews). There is now no longer any division between Jews and Gentiles in Christ.
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by Christ, we have peace with God. Through him we gain access to his grace in which we now stand.”
“I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
The main message we must be familiar with is the contents of the gospel. The message of the gospel is JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus’ life, His Word, His work, His death, His resurrection, His coming again as judge of living and dead.
From v. 37-42 is the message of the gospel that Peter preached to Cornelius. “We are witnesses of this gospel message.”
“10:37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.”
This is the core message – the heart of the gospel.
- v. 37-38, Jesus’ life
- v. 39 Crucifixion
- v. 40 Resurrection
- v. 41-42 Coming again – and we are witnesses of this message.
We are commanded / ordered to preach this message – because salvation can be found in no one else.
This is very clear. It is very evident that Jesus did not die for his own sins. From Genesis to Revelation, it is said that Christ died for the sins of others – not the sins of a friend, but as a substitutionary offering (propitiation) for the sins of the whole world.
Let me know show SOME of the verses for this.
- Romans 5:8 “God showed his love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
- 1 Cor “Jesus died, and rose again according to the Scriptures.”
- 2 Cor “God made him who had no sin, become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.”
- 1 Peter “He bore our sins on the tree so that by his wounds we have been healed.”
- 1 Peter 3:18 “Jesus Christ died for sins, once for ALL.”
- Jesus himself says, “I did not come to BE served, but to serve.” – not to be ministered to but to minister and “to give my life as a ransom.”
- Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd.”
Only Christ can say this. “and the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”
Only in Christ can salvation be found.
v. 43 (Memorize)
“10:43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.””
This is an amazing declaration. ALL the prophets (including the OT, Moses, Adam, Elijah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Malachi, ) testify about Christ.
Yes, not only the preachers of the NT, but also all the prophets of the OT focus on Jesus Christ. Their message is “everyone who believes in Christ receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Forgiveness of sin can only be obtained in Jesus’ name.
You know “SIN” is the root of all human problems – “for the wages of sin is death.”
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is not one righteous, not even one.”
To repent and believe in Christ are the same thing – with a different expression. You cannot repent without believing in Christ and you cannot believe in Christ without repenting.
Of course, nobody is happy if I say “You’re a sinner” – but we must be very clear in solving the matter of SIN.
Fundamentally, there are FOUR dimensions regarding sin. I hope all of us are very clear in the matter of sin. To be healed, we must know our own secrets. Here are the FOUR dimensions: (worldly judges can only see the first dimension)
Four Dimensions of Sin
1. Behavioral sin
(humans can see and judge this sin) – outward sin – in action – this is related to human morality and ethics: murder, rape, breaking a law, doing something illegal (VISIBLE SIN IN ACTION)
2. Attitudinal sin (invisible)
This is in our hearts, minds, motives. This world cannot judge this kind of sin. We don’t go to prison for our selfishness and pride, greed, envy, jealousy. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” God judges according to our
- actions and
- motivations / attitudes.
This motivation is very important: Before God, hate is like killing, lust is like adultery (in your heart).
3. Relational sin
This is more crucial – more important than the other two kinds. For example, there are many relationships –
- Creator / Created,
- Parent / Child,
- Boss / Employee,
- Teacher / Student,
- Landlord / Tenant,
- Father / Son –
For me, as father, the BIGGEST sin my son can commit is to DENY me as his father. Likewise, the biggest sin toward God is to deny Christ – God’s one and only Son for us in whom to believe. John 16:9 (in regard to sin) “They do not believe in me.” Do you agree, not to believe in Christ is the BIGGEST sin in this world? If you do not agree, you are wondering if you are saved. If you are really saved, we have no choice but to totally agree. This is indeed the BIGGEST sin before the eyes of God in relational sins.
4. Ontological sin
Existential sin – (Original Sin) – we were BORN as sinners – we’ve inherited it. Since WHEN was I a sinner? From BIRTH. We were born sinners.
I’m Korean. I did nothing to be Korean. I did not choose this. I was born this way simply because my father and mother are Korean. We were born sinners simply because our first physical parents were sinners. This is ontological (original) sin.
How can we solve this matter of original sin? There is only ONE way to resolve it. We must be BORN AGAIN. We should die to our first birth and be regenerated. Jesus, “Do not be surprised by my saying, ‘You must be born again.'” Birth from below is original birth, birth from above is from God. Romans: “Just as death came into the world through one man…”
How can we be born again? Regenerated? ONLY ONE WAY – believing in Christ.
1 Cor “As in Adam, all die, so in one man, Christ, all live.”
All these sins:
Can ALL be forgiven through Christ.
If you believe, shall we proclaim together:
“The blood of Jesus Christ purifies me from ALL kinds of sins: Past, Present, even Future.”