Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon Series: Chapter Two
Week 6: Four Days that Changed Everything
Acts Chapter 10 depict a pivotal time in Christian history, a period of four days when the Gospel is opened up to Gentile people, not just to Jewish people, as Jesus’ first followers believed.
- Why is this important to us today?
Read Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right
- What is ‘favoritism’? Why is it a blessing that God does not show favoritism?
Day 1- Seek God
Read Acts 10:1-8
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One 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!”
4 Cornelius 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. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
- Why would God reveal himself to Cornelius through an angel?
Read Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Read Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
- What does it mean to seek God with all your heart? What are some ways to seek God?
- Read and discuss the following prayer of Nabeel Quershi in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
“God, I want Your peace. Please have mercy on me and give me the peace of knowing You. I don’t know who You are anymore, but I know that You are all that matters. You created this world; You give it meaning; and either You define its purpose or it has none.
“Please, God Almighty, tell me who You are! I beseech You and only You. Only You can rescue me. At Your feet, I lay down everything I have learned, and I give my entire life to You. Take away what You will, be it my joy, my friends, my family, or even my life. But let me have You, O God.
“Light the path that I must walk. I don’t care how many hurdles are in the way, how many pits I must jump over or climb out of, or how many thorns I must step through. Guide me on the right path. If it is Islam, show me how it is true! If it is Christianity, give me eyes to see! Just show me which path is Yours, dear God, so I can walk it.”
Although I did not know it, that peace and mercy of God which I desperately asked for would soon fall upon me. He was about to give me supernatural guidance through dreams and visions, forever changing my heart and the course of my life.
Day 2- Obey God
Read Acts 10:9-23a
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While 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. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The 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 ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
- Consider the vision Peter had in this reading. Was the vision just about food? How can you tell?
- Peter did not hesitate to act when he sensed the Holy Spirit giving him instruction. Can you recall a time when you sensed the Holy Spirit leading you to act obediently to some instruction? Did you respond immediately? Why or why not? What was the result?
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.
- Why do you suppose some believers from Joppa went along with Peter to Caesarea?
Day 4-Join God
24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
- Why do you think Cornelius responded to Peter the way he did?
Read Acts 10:44-48
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
- Has there been a time in your life when God has interrupted your timing or plans? Did you join God’s plan or fight it? Share your story if you are willing.
- Which of these three areas is the Holy Spirit calling you do act upon?
- Seeking God
- Obeying God
- Joining God
- Share what you will do as a result of being called to act on one of these three.