Here are the notes for the sermon I preached on Acts 10 “Impartial God” at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, Illinois on 8/13/23. Audio here.
Impartial God (Acts 10)
INTRO: Imagine we split into two groups: Cubs fans or White Sox fans; Unfair Ice Cream distribution
-This is called partiality or favoritism.
–God shows no partiality: impartial & saves all kinds of people (Jews, Gentiles, Black, White, Rich, Poor)
-This is a beautiful quality of God and leads us to worship Him!
-Book of Acts tells us about the establishment and expansion of God’s kingdom on Earth
-Jesus is the king who brought God’s kingdom to Earth, and who died and rose again
-Commissioned his apostles to lead his church and preach the gospel
-Promised they would his witnesses an ever-expanding area (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, ends of Earth)
-Promised the H.S. would come and empower them for ministry
-So far, in ch 1-9 we have seen much of this happen
-H.S. poured out on day of Pentecost and church expands from 120 to thousands
-Persecution, leading to scattering of Christians but also increased evangelization.
-Church is expanding and even the Samaritans have become Christians
TODAY: we see the first clear example of Gentiles—non-Jews—becoming Christians.
-We also see Peter instructed in the wonderful truth that God is impartial: no favoritism and fair to all.
-God call all kinds of people into his kingdom and all are saved same way: by faith in Jesus.
Main IDEA: If we are to rightly understand God, we must see that He is an impartial God.
-God saves all kinds of people, and that is good news!
1 Visions and Messengers (1-27)
This section is organized by visions from God, messengers, and a meeting between Paul and Cornelius.
-VISION 1: Cornelius Has a Vision from God (1-8)
-Cornelius Introduced (1-2)
-Corenelius was a Centurion: Roman solider responsible for 100 soldiers
-Godly: a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.
-A Vision from God and Instruction (3-6)
-God speaks to Cornelius in a vision: saw clearly in a vision an angel of God
-God instructs Cornelius: send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter
-Cornelius Obeys God and Sends Messengers to Peter (7-8)
-VISION 2: Peter’s Has a Vision from God (9-23a)
-Peter’s Vision (9-18)
-On the rooftop praying while Cornelius’ men were approach the city (9)
-Vision of a sheet with all kinds of creatures—both ceremonially clean & unclean—descending (12)
-Jews considered some foods clean & others unclean (common): bacon, shellfish
-Peter instructed to kill and eat, but refused as he knows he should not eat ceremonially unclean food (13-14)
-God tells Peter that he has made them clean (15)
-Vision is repeated 3 times to help Peter know it is true and is to be trusted (16)
-Initially Peter was “inwardly perplexed” (17)
-At this very moment Cornelius’ men arrive (17b-18)
-Peter Instructed (19-23a)
-Peter told by the Spirit: go with the messengers from Cornelius because “I have sent them” (19-20)
-Peter invited them to stay with him (21-23a)
-MEETING: Peter and Cornelius Meet (9:23b-27)
-Peter travels with the messengers to meet Cornelius (23b-24)
-Cornelius is waiting—expectantly—with a group of “relatives and close friends”
-Peter and Cornelius Awkward Initial Encounter (25-26)
-Cornelius ‘fell down and worshiped’ Peter, but Peter lifts him up
-Reminds us of John (Revelation 22:8)
*SUMMARIZING Comment and observation
-God is at work in Cornelius: preparing him to hear the gospel
-Same is true today!
-God is at work in Peter: revealing the truth that God is impartial and saves all kinds of people (not just Jews)
-Same is true today! God is helping believers grow in their knowledge of Him.
2 Peter Proclaims the Gospel of an Impartial God (28-43)
Peter explains his new understanding of God as impartial who saves all who believe in Jesus
-Peter’s New Understanding of God (28-33) -God has Shown Peter that He has GRACE for ALL KINDS of People: He is IMPARTIAL (28-29)
-Peter’s initial hesitancy to associate with Gentiles (28)
-God has “shown” Peter not to “call any person common or unclean” (28)
-This is the conclusion of the vision God gave Peter: foods (and other dividing marks) no more
-3 Part division of OT Law (Civil, Ceremonial, Moral)
-Jesus has fulfilled civil and ceremonial, but moral law continues for believers.
-Because of this new understanding of God’s impartial grace, Peter arrived without objection (29a).
-Peter’s QUESTION: “Why did you send for me?” -Cornelius Gives a Recap then an Invitation to Preach! (30-33)
-Sometimes these moments do come, and we too should take them.
-Peter Proclaims the Gospel (34-43)
-Opening Statement about God’s Lack of Partiality (34-35)
-Key: “God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
-“partiality”=Showing an unfair bias toward one group of people over another
-Eph 6:9; James 2:1
-God saves all kinds of people!
-Jesus Christ PROCLAIMED (36-43)
-Gospel is about Jesus (36-37)
–Message of Jesus is “good news of peace”: peace w/God and each other(Col 1:21-22)
-Apart from Jesus, with cannot have peace with God or peace inside
-“Lord of all”=Jesus is the true lord of all, king of kings.
–“You yourselves know what happened…” Peter is assuming Gentiles have some literacy w/gospel story
-Jesus PROCLAIMED (38-43)
-Anointed with “Holy Spirit and power” (38a)
-“doing good and healing all oppressed by the devil” (38b)
-Peter is a witness of what Jesus accomplished (39) –DEATH (39b)
-Jesus died on a cross “put him to death by hanging him on a tree,”
-God raised him on 3rd day and appeared to his disciples
–“ate and drank with him after he rose from dead”=NO GHOST!
-Peter and apostles “commanded…to preach” Acts 1:8; Matt 28:18-20
-Our task too!
-Jesus is the promised one: “To him all the prophets bear witness”
-“EVERYONE who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
-No partiality, but open to everyone who believes
-WONDER & GLORY of Forgiveness of sin
-THROUGH FAITH: “believes in Him”
APPLICATION: Our neighbors greatest need is to have forgiveness of sin.
-Gospel IS: God loves you and sent Jesus to die for you. Believe on Jesus and have your sins forgiven!
3. God’s Impartial Grace Experienced (44-48)
-Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles (44)-Amazement and Evidence of H.S. Poured Out (45-46a)
-Jewish Christians (believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter) were amazed
–REASON: “gift of Holy Spirit poured out even on the Gentiles”
PROOF: “For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.”
-Just like what happened in Acts 2 (Pentecost)
-Right Response to Saving Faith: Baptism (46b-48)
-Baptism is for those who are Christians.
–NOTE: “who have received the Holy Spirit”
-All Christian have H.S., and happens at conversion.
-Peter “remain[s] for some days”
-Peter has come to grasp the beautiful impartial grace of God and fellowships with gentile Christians.
*APPLICATION: 1 Delighting in God’s impartial grace. 2 Proclaim Jesus to all people!