This is a brief study and outline of chapter 10 in the book of Acts as well as chapter 11. This is Dr. Luke's accounting of the events that showed to the first century church beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's plan of salvation to mankind was not only for the Jews but to the Gentiles (a.k.a. the rest of the world not from the blood of Abraham.)
As a side note and for future study, LLDM uses the name Gentiles to refer to anyone not a member of LLDM because LLDM views itself as the "New Jerusalem" of Revelation having replaced the blood line of Abraham with themselves. This is a incorrect use of the term "Gentiles" to this day all of the world at large who are not direct blood relatives of Abraham are "Gentiles. We are all "Gentiles" who either believe in the one true God, The Father and are adopted into the family of Abraham or you believe as the world believes and worship many idols and are therefor "Pagans".
LLDM, the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Mormon faith, and other religions interpret this chapter to support their claim that it is only through the power and presents of an apostle(s), man of God or Pope that the message of salvation can be brought to the world and have the power to save us from sin.
It is my most humble desire to study the full context of these chapters as well as compare them against the full word of God, the holy scripture. Just as the Bereans did with Paul in (Acts 17).
-v.11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character then the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Please notice that I have bolded the word "Scripture" because I want to point out here that Dr. Luke has capitalized the letter "S" in this word in the middle of a sentence. The only time you do this is in the proper name of a person or place. Dr. Luke is telling us here that the "Scriptures" are the same as God the Father, the Word.
So to our study of Acts chapters 10 and 11.
Cornelius Calls for Peter
1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
verse 1 - This Roman officer was a centurion, a commander of 100 soldiers. although stationed in Caesarea, Cornelius would probably return soon to Rome. Thus his conversion was a major stepping-stone for spreading the gospel to the empire's capital city of Rome.
verses 2 and 3 - "What will happen to the heathen (pagan) who have never about Christ?" This question is often asked abut God's justice. Cornelius was not a believer in Christ, but he was seeking God, and he was reverent and generous. Therefore God sent Peter to tell Cornelius about Christ. Cornelius is an example that God "rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Those who sincerely seek God will find Him! God made Cornelius's knowledge complete through the message the Peter brought to his household.
4Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."7When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
verses 4 thru 8 - God saw Cornelius's sincere faith. His prayers and generous giving were a "memorial offering before God," a sacrificial offering to the Lord. God answers prayers of those who seek him by sending the right information for salavation at the right time either it be a person or by the Holy Bible itself.
9About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."14"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."15The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."16This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate. 18They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.19While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. 20So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."21Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"22The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say." 23Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
verses 9 thru 23 - According to Jewish law, certain foods were forbidden to be eaten (Leviticus 11). The food laws made it difficult for Jews to eat with Gentiles without risking defilement. In fact, the Gentiles themselves were often seen as "unclean." Peter's vision meant that he should not look upon the Gentiles as inferior people whom God would not redeem. Before having the vision, Peter would have thought that a Gentile Roman officer could not accept Christ. Afterward, he understood that it was his responsibility to go with the messengers into a Gentile home and tell Cornelius the Good New of salvation in Jesus Christ. Peter understood very well that it was the message and not him the messenger that powered the wonderful work of salvation.
Acts 10:23-33 - Peter at Cornelius' House
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."27Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"30Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.' 33So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
verses 23 thru 33 - Out of these verse the one that is most predominate to point out is verse 26. This act of worship could have caused Pete to become arrogant, After all, a Roman centurion was bowing before him. Instead, Peter pointed Cornelius to Christ. We too should remember our mortality whenever we are flattered or honored, and use the opportunity to give glory to God. There are many forms of "bowing" before someone, either it be in action like Cornelius was trying to do or by mouth in singing or by gifts to honor a person other than Jesus Christ.
34Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
verses 34 thru 36 - Perhaps the greatest barrier to the spreading of the gospel in the first century was the conflict between the Jews and the Gentiles. Most of the early believers were Jewish, and to them it was scandalous even to think of associating with Gentiles. But god told Peter to take the gospel to a Roman, and Peter obeyed despite his background and personal feelings. Peter would struggle with this again in Galatians. God was making it clear that the Good New of Christ is for everyone! We should not allow any barrier - language, culture, prejudice, geography, economic level, or educational level - keep us from telling others about Christ.
37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how 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, 40but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41He 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. 42He 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. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
verses 37 thru 43 - Peter's brief and powerful sermon contains a very clear statement of the gospel: Jesus' perfect life of servant hood; his death on the cross; his resurrection, personally witnessed and experienced by Peter; Jesus' fulfillment of the Scriptures; and the necessity of one's personal faith in him. A sermon or when witnessing for Christ does not have to be long to be effective. It just needs to be Spirit-led and centered on Christ alone as the way and the truth and the life.
44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.Then Peter said, 47"Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
verses 44 thru 48 - Cornelius and Peter were very different people, Cornelius was wealthy, a Gentile, and a military officer. Peter was a Jewish fisherman turned preacher. But God's plan included both of them. In Cornelius's house that day, a new chapter in Christian history was written as a Jewish Christian leader and a Gentile Christian convert each discovered something significant about God as work in the other person. Cornelius needed to hear the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross and gospel of salvation message. Peter needed Cornelius and his salvation experience to know that Gentiles were included in God's plan of salvation. In verse 45 "The circumcised believers" references to "the Jewish believers" as in (Acts 11:2).
Verses 47 and 48 are very interesting because in this case, the people were baptized by water after they received the Holy Spirit, publicly declaring their allegiance to Christ and identification with the Christan community, more in later postings for the true meaning of water baptism. So since the Holy Spirit can not birth it's self into someone until they are clean from their sins, it goes to reason then that we are cleaned from sins with the baptism of the Holy Spirit in our faith in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-13) and not by the physical immersion into water baptism, also another posting study to come.
In summary, Dr. Luke never recorded that Peter believed nor taught that is was through him, because of him or by any fleshly power of his that Cornelius and his household were saved. Peter testified of this himself in (Acts 11:14) when he was re-accounting what Cornelius told him - "He (Peter) will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved."
The "through which" can only be referring to the "message". To interpet it with Peter the reason for being saved the sentence would have to read like this - 'He will come with a message and through him you and your household will be saved." Which is clearly not what Dr. Luke wrote.
If a mailman brings to you envelope with a check for 1 million dollars in it. Is it the mailman that is making you a millionaire or is the check? He (the mailman) will bring you a envelope through which you and all your household will be millionaires.
I will post a continuation of this study covering chapter 11 soon.
God's Blessing to all who find this study of use to them in there walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.